“When Jesus stood up, He said to her, ‘Woman, where are they? Has no one condemned you?’’ No one, Lord,’ she answered.’ ‘Neither do I condemn you,’ said Jesus. ‘Go, and from now on sin no more.” vs10-11
This is the message of the gospel: We are to go and sin no more, after we’re forgiven. “No condemnation” means that Jesus took our sins and He bore the curse: Now, we’re to live in the light of this, even as Paul says, “For you were once darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Walk as children of light (Eph 5:8).”
We are not to use forgiveness to be laxidasical about holy conduct, as if it doesn’t matter, but in holy fear of God, we’re to make our calling and election sure: we’re to walk as sons. Peter says, “And if you address as Father the One who judges impartially based on each one’s work, you are to conduct yourselves in fear during the time of your temporary residence (1 Pet 1:17).” We are to fear God, now that we’re forgiven, with the fear that leads to holiness.
In Ezra’s day, the people were delivered from great difficulty into revival, but there was still fear. He said, “Should we break Your commands again and intermarry with the peoples who commit these detestable practices? Wouldn’t You become so angry with us that You would destroy us, leaving no survivors (Ezra 9:14)?” Our Lord told the man in John 5:14, “See, you are well. Do not sin anymore, so that something worse doesn’t happen to you.” We are not to continue in sin that grace might abound, but we are to walk uprightly now!
The Spirit’s been given to accomplish this in us! He is God’s gift through Christ’s finished work, so that as we believe the “no condemnation” of the gospel, the Spirit of life comes in power, enabling us to do what He’s commanded – “that the law’s requirement [love] would be accomplished in us who do not walk according to the flesh but according to the Spirit (Rom 8:4).” This is the liberty of the gospel, not merely freedom from condemnation, but freedom to live godly by the gift that He gives us.
Few can see it, and fewer still can live in its power, but it is the right way – the middle path – where we turn neither to the left of licentiousness or to the right of Christless dead religion. He says, “And whenever you turn to the right or to the left, your ears will hear this command behind you: ‘This is the way. Walk in it (Isa 30:21).” We are forgiven to sin no more, but we are not overcoming by our own strength – but as fully accepted sons, perpetually looking unto Jesus.
Jesus forgave us to live holy, and we cannot be happy apart from zealous obedience – living for the gospel, loving sinners, and standing boldly for the truth. We must not compromise this ambition for any reason. The only reason we’re alive is to give Him glory, and as we take forgiveness and full acceptance for THIS PURPOSE, then we will be filled.
Many try to lead us astray, even our own deceitful hearts, but stand fast in your freedom to sin no more. Paul said, “For you were called to be free, brothers; only don’t use this freedom as an opportunity for the flesh, but serve one another through love (Gal 5:13).”