It is interesting to notice the unique way the Lord Jesus dealt with sins in the lives of people. He exposed and condemned the evil of the self-righteous religious leaders at the same time, refused to denounce and disgrace certain infamous wicked sinners!
To the woman who was caught in adultery, He said, “neither do I condemn you...” John 8:11. When another notorious sinful woman of the city anointed the Lord Jesus with fragrant oil, the onlookers were offended, even murmured. But the Lord Jesus Christ defended her and forgave all her sins. Luke 7: 36 – 48. There are many other occasions when the Lord Jesus forgives their sins, but declined to humiliate them for their fallen life.
Does it mean He condone sins? No, never. To the woman caught in adultery, Christ said further, “go and sin no more”. John 8:11. Another such example is found in John 5:14. The Lord meets the man He healed earlier at the pool of Bethesda (John 5: 1 – 9) and told him plainly “See, you have been made well. Sin no more, lest a worse thing come upon you." John 5:14.
It’s a warning as well as an exhortation from the Lord Jesus. We can notice six important lessons on sin from this story.
1. Sin is very costly.
Many take sin very casually. Post-modern man even tends to deny sin itself! Here the Lord’s reference to the ‘worst thing’ shows that the root cause for this man’s sickness for 38 years was some kind of sin that he committed. Unbelievable but true! Cf. Psalm 32: 2, 3. Yet remember, not all illness is caused by sin. Cf. John 9: 2, 3.
It’s foolishness to disregard the dangerous consequences of a wicked life. God’s love and kindness should teach one to repent and renounce evil ways. Romans 2:4. Any willful indulgence even after repeated reproof will only lead to further troubles. Hebrews 10:26ff
2. Sin and its outcome in any form it may be, the Lord is able to solve it.
Even after 38 years of his struggle with the terrible effect of his sin, the Lord Jesus made him completely well. Just as He repeatedly declared, ‘I have not come to condemn, but to seek and save sinners’; He forgave their sins and transformed them in every aspect. Cf. Matt 9:13; Luke 19:10; 15 John 3:17; 1Timothy 1: 15. Still He is able to do so. Cf. John 5: 5 – 9; Hebrews 7: 25.
3. Sin nature still abides in a saved, born again child of God!
The Lord’s warning to this man in John 5:14 also shows that there is every possibility for him to sin again. Many stumble at this reality. Then what is the work of salvation Christ wrought in our life? Need to study the various aspects of divine work in a believer as he / she receives the Lord Jesus as Saviour and Lord.
What happens at new birth (salvation experience) is a new / divine life, not the eradication of sin nature! That’s why Apostle John writes, “If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us.” 1John 1:8. He was writing to the born again believers. Paul also says, “...sin that dwells in me. For I know that in me (that is, in my flesh) nothing good dwells; for to will is present with me, but how to perform what is good I do not find.” Rom 7: 17b,18. Neglect or denial of this reality will lead a believer to many troubles.
4. “Sin no more” is the standard for a child of God.
Indwelling sin nature cannot be an excuse to live in wickedness. The Lord categorically says, “Sin no more”. Absolute holiness should be our norm. After affirming the truth of indwelling sin nature in 1:8, John says further, “I write to you, so that you may sin not”. “No one born of God makes a practice of sinning, for God's seed abides in him; and he cannot keep on sinning, because he has been born of God.” (ESV). 1John 2:1; 3:9
He has graciously rescued us from sin and its consequence to live a holy life. Eph 4:20ff. The Lord Jesus Christ who lived a sinless life is our example, not any fallen man. Our aim in life should be to live a pure and blameless life like Christ. 1John 3: 3. Cf. John 8:11; Rom 6:12, 14; 2Cor 7:1; Heb 12:14; 2Pet 3:14
5. Sin of a child of God is more serious than the unsaved one!
Notice the Lord’s warning carefully. “lest a worse thing come upon you” refers to more horrible results than that he has already experienced. Because there is no more judgment for a believer, he will have to deal with the issue of his sin here itself. 1Cori 11: 30 – 32.
Of course the purpose of such divine chastening is to help him / her seek cleansing by the precious blood of Christ and ultimately be partakers of His holiness. 1John 1:7; Heb 12: 7 – 10. He who received more will be required more. Cf. Luke 12:47 - 48; James 3:1
6. Victory over sin is possible.
These words of Christ to the healed man also point to the fact that, in spite of the indwelling sin nature within us, we do not need to be defeated and controlled by sin. Victory over sin is possible. The Lord Jesus not only saves us, but He also keeps us. 1Peter 1:5. God has already provided the resources by which a child of God can lead a triumphant life. Romans 8:37; 2Cori 2:14
The indwelling Holy Spirit, the new nature, the intercessory prayer of Christ, the word of God, the fellowship of the saints etc are different means by which one will be equipped to win over satanic temptations. Cf. Rom 8:13; Luke 22: 32; Heb 9: 24; 1John 2:1etc
“Sin no more” is a solemn warning from our Lord. It seems the Lord Jesus met this man again to say these things. In His mercy and grace Christ came to the place where he was. His condition was so miserable that he had no one to help. It was pure grace of God that the Lord Jesus visited this man and healed him.
Still that’s what the Lord is doing. Irrespective of the horrible state of a sinner, He lovingly and graciously seeks sinners to save and transform them. At the same time, one should never underestimate that grace of God. “Sin no more”. Romans 6:1