Then Jesus stood up again and said to the woman, “Where are your accusers? Didn’t even one of them condemn you?” “No, Lord,” she said. And Jesus said, “Neither do I. Go and sin no more.” (John 8:11)
Read: 2 Kings 2:1-25, 4:1-44
Relate: “Love the sinner hate the sin”. That phrase has become so overused as to become trite and cliche’. How overused? Well, I put the words in quotes and did myself a google search. That exact phrase appears nearly a million times. Two other quick quote searches of variations: “hate the sin not the sinner” and “hate the sin love the sinner” brings that total to around 2.3 million. If that many people are writing it, just imagine how many more are quoting it and using it. The problem is, nearly every time I have ever seen it, this phrase is being used by someone who is doing the exact opposite. It is either being used as an excuse to be critical and judgmental, or it is being quoted tongue in cheek as a means of being critical and judgmental of those the quoter is accusing of being critical and judgmental.
React: And then there’s Jesus. He didn’t tell people to “love the sinner and hate the sin.” He modeled it. He was the perfect example of exactly how to do it instead of yelling at other people to start doing it. I’ll shut up now and instead quote one commentary on this issue:
What inimitable tenderness and grace! Conscious of her own guilt, and till now in the hands of men who had talked of stoning her, wondering at the skill with which her accusers had been dispersed, and the grace of the few words addressed to herself, she would be disposed to listen, with a reverence and teachableness before unknown, to our Lord’s admonition. “And Jesus said unto her, “Neither do I condemn you, go and sin no more.” He pronounces no pardon upon the woman (such as, “Your sins are forgiven” [compare Lu 5:28; 7:48]—”Go in peace” [compare Mr 5:34; Lu 7:50; 8:48]), much less does He say that she had done nothing condemnable; He simply leaves the matter where it was. He meddles not with the magistrate’s office, nor acts the Judge in any sense (Joh 12:47). But in saying, “Go and sin no more,” which had been before said to one who undoubtedly believed (Joh 5:14), more is probably implied than expressed. If brought suddenly to conviction of sin, admiration of her Deliverer, and a willingness to be admonished and guided by Him, this call to begin a new life may have carried with it what would ensure and naturally bring about a permanent change.
God, help me to not “love the sinner”. Even in classifying others in this way, though true, is demeaning. Help me rather to love people. Help me to love my neighbor. Help me to love my friends. Help me to love each and every person I come in contact with no matter where they are at, what they have done, or how they identify themselves. Give me the grace to give them grace and the decency. Help me to speak and to act with love and truth that those who see me might have the courage, conviction, and motivation to then stand up, and go, and sin no more.
13 thoughts on “Go And Sin No More”
Good article, but I would disagree with the assertion that Jesus didn’t judge her. Of course he did, otherwise he wouldn’t have said, “go and sin no more.” To say that phrase implies that she was sinning previously, thus Jesus judged that this woman was living in active sin and instructed her to to sin no more. The key is that he wasn’t being hypocritically judgmental.
I think you might like this article… http://entreatingfavor.com/judge-not/
Again, great article!
You are arguing against an assertion that was never made.
My apologies. I was going off of these two comments:
“It is either being used as an excuse to be critical and judgmental, or it is being quoted tongue in cheek as a means of being critical and judgmental of those the quoter is accusing of being critical and judgmental.”
“He meddles not with the magistrate’s office, nor acts the Judge in any sense (Joh 12:47).”
No worries, just a minor observation. Still a very good article.
Thank you! I did not know this phrase seemed to be used that much! Thank you for this teaching!
Actually, according to Joseph Prince (Pastor of New Creation Church) in the Greek language, which is what the New Testament would have been written in at that time (as well as Hebrew, I believe), Jesus actually says: “Go — sin has no hold over you any longer”. Quite different from saying “go and sin no more”. One imparts forgiveness by Grace and one imparts forgiveness by our works. Hmmmm… Forgiveness by Grace is the Christ I know … It is vital to look up these quotes in the original Greek and Hebrew — there are plenty of bibles that do this. The translations into English are distorted and distort the word of God. Just good for thought. I love your blogs!
A) Even Joseph Prince uses “Go and sin no more” when teaching on this verse: http://www.josephprince.org/daily-grace/grace-inspirations/single/the-gift-of-no-condemnation
B) “Go and sin no more” in Greek: “Poreuomai kai amartanw mhketi”
Poreumai – To transfer, to pursue, to structure one’s life
Kai – and, also
Amartanw – to miss the mark, to err, to be mistaken
Mhketi – no longer
If one were to pick and choose among the possible definitions of each word however one wished, I guess that alternate interpretation would be possible. However, if you were to use proper exegesis, keep each word within the context, and translate Jesus statement as pretty much every scholar and commentator has done down through time, it is clear Jesus said, “Go and sin no more.”
C) There will always be drops or changes in thought and word usage when translating from one language to another. Keep in mind that Jesus would not have been speaking in Greek. Everything He said would have been in Hebrew or Aramaic so there is one step lost already just in getting it into the Bible. Then, most of our cues as to how to translate scripture have been handed to us from the German theologians many of whom who were using the Latin Vulgate as a primary source to help them better understand the Greek. At each step along the way there will be inevitable distortions. That cannot be helped. An even worse distortion than word changes and transliterations, however, is simply one of cultural understanding. More than learning an archaic language, learning the time and culture of first century Palestine will best help us understand exactly what Jesus was saying and teaching.
D) All that said, I am personally of the opinion that the NASB is the best word for word translation into English that we have. However, what is gained in literal accuracy is lost in readability and it is not my favorite to just read or study out of.
Amen Amen!!! I love how God has used pastor Prince!!!
He’s message..which is actually Gods message has set me free…I was that adulterous woman..till He found me and told me He neither condemns and I should go din no more!!!!!
Enjoyed reading your thoughts on this subject, including the responses to others’ comments. Thank you for the time you spend in preparing some very interesting blog posts. I always learn something from each one I read. Have a blessed Sunday!
thank you i needed this
This was lovely, thank you. Something I really love about Jesus Christ, He phrases things as a question, not a condemnation and accusation. “Where are your accusers?” Or to the woman at the well, “Where is your husband?” Or to the woman with the issue of blood, “Who has touched me?” He doesn’t need to ask, but it is the gentleness of his questions that is so convicting.
We cannot forget:
Judge not according to the appearance, but judge righteous judgment.
Enjoyed this post! Very good perspective. Thanks.