SOURCE: Discipleship Journal/Roy Borges
Go, and Sin No More
As I lie in my bunk listening to my radio, Rebecca St. James croons, “Go, and sin no more.” The words vibrate off the four walls of my cell. If only I could erase the past and begin again.
The Bible tells a story of a nameless woman whom the scribes and Pharisees dragged before Jesus (Jn. 8:1–11). Like me, she was accused, convicted, and judged. They brought her to Jesus as He sat teaching in the temple.
In a huddled heap, prostrate before Christ, she sobs bitterly. Alone, shivering at His feet, she listens to their indictment. The charge: adultery. The verdict: guilty. The penalty: stoning.
But the undaunted eyes of the omniscient Christ see the religious leaders’ intent with a glance. They came to trap Him.
Seeming to ignore them He stoops and writes something on the ground. The circle of bearded men impatiently watches and waits. Stones are ready in their hands. Suddenly He declares: “If any one of you is without sin, let him be the first to throw a stone at her” (Jn. 8:7).
Again He stoops to write on the ground. One by one the accusers creep away into the crowded street to hide their shame.
Alone now, Jesus looks at the weeping woman at His feet.
“Woman, where are your accusers? Has no one condemned you?”
Incredulous, she lifts her head for the first time and looks into the eyes of the one who will pay the price for her acquittal.
“No one, Lord.”
“Then neither do I condemn you. Go, and sin no more” (Jn. 8:10–11, paraphrased).
Jesus knows everything about me. I cannot hide anything from Him. But He’s not there to judge, accuse, or condemn me. Man has already done that. Jesus is there to offer forgiveness and to bid me not to sin again.
The past can’t be erased. I have to live with my mistakes. But God can use them for good when I have a contrite heart. God’s grace not only completely forgives; it tells me I can begin again.
When I asked Christ into my heart and felt His forgiveness, like the woman in the story, I saw the greatest miracle of all. It’s more marvelous than creation, more mysterious than the stars, more melodious than a symphony, more fabulous than life itself.
God forgives a sinner like me and sets me on the path of righteousness. “Go now and leave your life of sin,” He beckons. Can I do it?
Not in my own strength. Even though in my heart I desire to please God and I don’t want to sin again, I know I will.
The Apostle Paul put it this way: “I know that nothing good lives in me, that is, in my sinful nature. For I have the desire to do what is good, but I cannot carry it out” (Ro. 7:18).
The devil wants me to focus on the disease so I’ll forget the power of the Physician. But God is able to deliver those He has saved. No, I am not free from sin. It will always be present in my flesh. But my sin cannot condemn me because the blood of Christ satisfies God’s justice.
When I’m overpowered by temptation, I cry out to the Lord. My cry will keep me guiltless. “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness” (1 Jn. 1:9).
“Go, and sin no more” is a command and a challenge. It means I can begin again wherever I am because I am trusting Him. When I rely on His strength, He will help me. That’s why He came. His love and mercy see me through whenever I pray, “Lord, forgive me for my sins and give me the strength to ‘go, and sin no more.'”