I am bringing this up because I got challenged in my Theological Class when I was presenting the Doctrine of Grace to my church and it seems that it would be a good idea to write it down. Mummy Esme pointed out that Jesus told some people in the bible to “Go and sin no more” and to another, Jesus even added “lest something even worse comes upon you”. This has arisen becasue I teach a workless-Grace Doctrine to which there is NOTHING, that we can ever “externally demonstrate” to please Perfect-God. In fact, Perfect God sees all our external works-demonstration likened to filthy menstral rags. I have to say it like that so that you know how extremely offensive and digusting your external-works demonstration to Perfect Daddy-God.
But we are all as an unclean thing, and all our righteousnesses are as filthy rags; and we all do fade as a leaf; and our iniquities, like the wind, have taken us away. _Isaiah 64:6 KJV
See the Commentaries here on the “filthy rags”
Yes, that is the level of your external-works righteousness. Even the man who ends up thinking that he is living a clean life is still filthy in the sight of God if he is trying to achieve the pleasure of God by doing His own actions.
There is only one way to please God – by the internal work-demonstration of faith.
But without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him. _Hebrews 11:6 KJV
Now the just shall live by faith: but if any man draw back, my soul shall have no pleasure in him. _Hebrew 10:38 KJV
So, we then demonstrated 2 types of doctrinal faith in the bible
- Earth Bound Faith and
- Heaven Bound Faith
Heaven Bound Faith
27Where is boasting then? It is excluded. By what law? of works? Nay: but by the law of faith. 28Therefore we conclude that a man is justified by faith without the deeds of the law. _Romans 3:27-28 KJV
I do not frustrate the grace of God: for if righteousness come by the law, then Christ is dead in vain. _Galatians 2:21 KJV
Heaven Bound faith is the faith in which if you add your external works into it, it becomes vain. Here is the mathematical fomular:
Earth Bound Faith
15If a brother or sister be naked, and destitute of daily food, 16And one of you say unto them, Depart in peace, be ye warmed and filled; notwithstanding ye give them not those things which are needful to the body; what doth it profit? 17Even so faith, if it hath not works, is dead, being alone. _James 2:15-17 KJV
The whole context of James when he was espousing how faith without works is dead is speaking about earth bound demonstrations that are in our power to do but only by the Grace of God. If you see your brother and sister hungry and you try applying heaven-bound faith to it, you will fail them. Earth Bound Faith must have actions. That is to say, behavioural modifications must be enforced to match our internal convictions. Now… what work can we ever do on the outside to “please God”? nothing. But what can we do on the outside to achieve earth bound goals? Such as feeding the hungry? Clothing the naked? Such as modifying our behaviour to escape our sin-habits? A lot of things
Notice I said “sin-habits” and not sin or the “essence” of sin … that evil force of super-nature … there is nothing we can do to wash that one away. Now, is it possible to have sin habits without carrying the judgement identity of “Sinner”? Yes! Very much so! Just like it is possible for you to oink like a pig without being the existential identity of a Pig! or bark like a dog! You can commit sinful habits without being a sinner. The only difference is your heart-transformation because you take NO PLEASURE in seeing yourself habitually going back to the muddy sinful habit like a pig. And the Holy Spirit will continue to “give birth” to you until your “State” matches your “Standing” or your “condition” matches your “position”. Be patient with out sinful habits becasue its gonna take a whole lifetime for God to give birth to abiding fruits righteous-habits in you. Trust in His process to save you. Not in your efforts. Listen for His instructions and hear Him when He says, “do” then you do. When He says, “Don’t do” then you don’t do. Only you and the Holy Spirit can know this in an intimate way.
So it is advisable not to conflate both. Abraham had the Grace give ability to take Isaac to the alter and he obeyed in accordingly. If God was telling Abraham go and sacrifice Isaac while giving him no legs, no hands, no health, no help for anyone to carry him, how could Abraham obey that? But alas, there are other instances where we, as human beings, have no hands and no legs and God is asking us to run the Christian Race perfectly … that is where the law of Moses is concerned and our external works fail us. In that intance, it has become a heaven bound faith and like the sheep that Jesus left the 99 to go save, we must consent that He lifts us up and put us on His strong shoulders to save us from sin and hell and back into His eternal folds. We cannot save ourselves. We are not the great Shpherd. Only He is the Great Shepherd.
GO AND SIN NO MORE
So why do we then see instances in the bible where Jesus is saying to certain people, “Go and sin no more”. I mean, is it not already IMPOSSIBLE for us to “not sin”? Did this people live perfect lives till they died? Then that would mean that Jesus dying for their sins from that point onwards was useless. What did Jesus actually mean when He told them to “Go and sin no more”. Was Jesus saying that their salvation can only be kept by works after saving them by Grace (Unmerite Favour)?
Well, there are 2 instances in the bible where Jesus tells people to “God and sin no more”
- The woman caught in the act of adultery (specificaly John 8:11)
- The healed man from the pool of Bethesda (specifically John 5:14)
So, did Jesus give them an impossible command? What was the context of this “Go and Sin no more”. Is there even a context to it or is it just an ABSOLUTE form of “be perfect! be sinless! never ever, ever, ever, ever in your life commit one single iota of sin”. Was Jesus commanding perfectionsim from them or are we to understand the passages in a different way?
In Christian Doctrine, we know that there are different kinds of “sin”. Sin as a Noun, Sin as a Verb. Trespass, Transgression, Identity as Sinner etc. So I did a deep dive into the CONTEXTUAL understanding of Jesus is referring to here when he commands these people not to sin again.
In both inatance, Jesus uses the Greek Word hamartanó (ἁμαρτάνω). Now Click on the link and see the CONTEXTUAL meaning. Scroll down to Thayer’s Greek Lexicon and see where John 5 and John 8 are congregated. It gives a contextual meaning to hamartanó which is
of the violation of civil laws, which Christians regard as also the transgression of divine law
That is to say, that Jesus was commanding them to obey the civil laws. Of course, civil laws in those days were regarded as divine laws such as “Do not commit adultery” and “Keep the sabbath day Holy” etc.
The CONTEXT of Jesus telling the woman “Go and sin no more” is akin to Him saying, “Don’t commit adultery anymore”. or “Don’t commit that Crime anymore”.
The CONTEXT of Jesus telling that man from the pool of Bethesda to Go and Sin no more lest something worse happens to him was because it was offensive to the Jewish civil laws in those days to carry your bed even if you were a man lamed for 38 years. We all knew the hearts and the intentions of the Jews in that CONTEXT. After the healed man told them that Jesus was responsible, all the demonic and satanic victriol and maddened intentions of law-fill pathetic Jews … began to redirect their murderous intent from the healed man to Jesus (John 5:16). This was probably the “worse thing” that would have happened to that man if Jesus did not tell him “sin no more”. That is, “stop violating your civil laws which people regard as divine, lest, something worse comes upon you”.
This is the best explanation by which I can stay consistent with the Gospel of Grace and it makes sense as it is backed up by both the context and by Thayer’s Greek Lexicon.