Tuesday, December 1, 2009

“Neither do I condemn you; go and sin no more.” (John 8.11)

New Testament Challenge, Day 17 – John 6-10

This passage brings to mind a conversation I had the other day about sinful living. We were discussing same-gender marriage when I was challenged (I don’t support same-gender marriage) with the point that Jesus ate with sinners so why couldn’t I love them too. This argument is nearly always used in support of immoral living. We often hear, “Jesus didn’t condemn, why are you?” and to this blanket statement I would agree; we shouldn’t condemn. “For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved.” (John 3.17)

The key to understanding condemnation in regard to sinful living is made more clear in today’s reading. Jesus said, “It is the Spirit who gives life; the flesh profits nothing. The words that I speak to you are spirit, and they are life. But there are some of you who do not believe.” (John 6.63) When we hold on to the flesh (or fleshly living) we profit nothing. We must attach ourselves to God and to God alone! Then we will have life.

We attach ourselves to God in our Baptism whereby the grace of God we are made dead to sin and alive to life in the Spirit. We are joined to Christ in our Baptism and commune with Him and therefore with God. “Whoever eats My flesh and drinks My blood has eternal life. As the living Father sent Me, and I live because of the Father, so he who feeds on Me will live because of Me.” (John 6.54,57)

That returns us to the claim that we should allow sinful living because Christ didn’t condemn, but this logic doesn’t consider the second half of Christ’s statement, “and sin no more.” Clearly life in Christ is supposed be life-changing. We are supposed to be transfigured (thus the name of this blog) by a new life in Christ. We have been forgiven and now we must live a new life in Christ and sin no more.

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