I have heard people saying that the Lord Jesus said, “Neither do I condemn thee”. It is nowhere found in my Bible, unless I am using a different Bible. I have various versions but I have not come across that quotation in any of them. May someone, please, help me. What I have in John 8:11 is, “Neither do I condemn thee, go and sin no more”. The difference between the two quotations is the same between light and darkness.
The first one, “Neither do I condemn thee”, is a license to sin; it contradicts the Bible, God’s Word. “I am not come to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance,” Jesus said in Matt. 9:13. Repentance from sin is crucial to Him. Ananias and his wife would not have paid for their sins, if Jesus does not condemn sinners – Acts 5:3-10. It is mischievous for someone to give credence to his sinful life by misquoting the Bible. “Go and sin no more,” the Lord warned the woman.
It is all about a woman, who was caught when she was committing adultery. Trust men, Uncle might have taken to his heels or might have bribed his way through. Aunty, as most people would have done, would have argued that she could not have committed adultery without a man. Some people, however, argue that the law on adultery was made only for women. She could have pointed out the partiality of the law. “How can I commit adultery, when I was chase before marriage?” She could argue, with pretended tears to attract public sympathy. She might argue also that she was being accused because of a previous quarrel between her and one of the people accusing her. She might even accuse one of the people that arrested her of fulfilling his vow that he would deal with her for turning down his sex advances.
Many people would have believed her, but she did not deny the charge. While frowning at what she did, we must thank God for this. Acceptance of one’s sin is a sure way of obtaining God’s forgiveness. “If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, He [God] is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness,” says 1 John 1:8-9. The Lord Jesus then told her to go home and sin no more. Once a sinner stops sinning, God does not condemn him again, no matter the extent of his indulgence in the past.
This is the heart of the matter and it is the reason why some people do not add, “Go and sin no more”. The implication is that they have not accepted the sins they commit and they are also not ready to forsake them. Some of them are among those, who instead of preaching God’s Word, spend much time stressing that nobody should judge a servant of God, though his immoral lifestyle is obvious. Another reason why they do not add, “Go and sin no more”, is that it compels them to stop the sins they are still enjoying.
The devil knows how to make a mince of us. “Let him that steals, steal no more,” the Bible insists. Satan induces his servants to misquote it by saying, “Let him that steals, steal”, removing, ‘no more’. By doing so, they mean that the Bible is encouraging a thief to continue thriving in his evil deeds. What is painful is that, not only do these men live in sin, but they go the extra mile of selling it to innocent buyers.
The carnal mind will not understand why Jesus told the woman that He would not condemn her. A child of God does. It is God’s Word that says, “If any man be in Christ, he is a new creature, old things are passed away, behold, all things become new” – 2 Cor. 5:17. From that moment the woman confessed her sin, she became a new creature and all things about her became new. This is the beauty of Christianity.
At Enugu, in the early 1970s, during a vigil, the Evangelist conducting it said that those, who were virgins, should stand up. He was fortunate that I was not there. I would have stood up. Those, who knew my girlfriends before I was born-again, might be troubled in their hearts, perhaps, thinking that I was a liar. Was I? Is God lying, when He says that if anybody is in Christ, as I am, that he becomes a brand new person, to the extent that everything about him – girls, stealing, lying, etc – becomes new? 2 Cor.15:7
Some people do not see us, after salvation, as God does. I returned from the Prison Ministry one day with great excitement, after listening to the testimonies of prisoners. A fellow Pastor could not understand it. “Pastor Osondu,” he called me, “can an ex-convict, who is born-again, be your security guard?” I wondered what could prevent him, if he was a new creature. The problem was that the Pastor was associating the prisoner with his past deeds. The Government does the same, but should we? To do so, is to condemn him, while God has said that He does not condemn him again.
After his conversion, Apostle Paul came to Jerusalem and when the saints saw him, they did not welcome him. They ran away from him. In their judgment, a man with his background could not have been born-again. That was my experience in August 1972, four months after I was born-again. We were returning from the Scripture Union Fellowship and I was testifying of God’s goodness to me. One of us, an old member, bolted out, “Even this man?” As far as he was concerned, I was a write-off. Some years later, I joined our brethren in praying for him because of his immoral life.
Barnabas understood this, that no matter the depth someone has sinned, once he surrendered his life to Jesus, his past is forgotten. That was why he accepted Paul after his conversion, while other brethren did not – Acts 9:26, 27. Christians, who were not deep in sin before their salvation, have no edge over those that were deep in it. Some Christians read the Bible and know God’s position on sin, yet, they still indulge in it. They may build for themselves tall positions that prevent the pastorate or the congregation from coming close to condemn them. May they not be happy with it. Man may not condemn them, but one day, their sins will do so.
It is painful to God for someone He had forgiven to go back to sin. This is the type of a person unbelievers will see and use him in concluding that everybody is like that. It is terrible for someone to be drinking with the cup of our Lord Jesus, while feasting with the devil. If the sinful indulgencies of the individual were smelly like mine, how could he go back to them? Unless I do not appreciate God for tolerating me and my past deeds, if not, how could I go back to them? It is for our good that the Lord Jesus has said, “Neither do I condemn thee, go and sin no more”. Let us heed to that.
For further comment, Please contact: Osondu Anyalechi: 0802 3002-471; [email protected]