Go, and sin no more

John 8:1-11 provides one of the greatest lessons in Scripture on forgiveness of sin. We all sin; none of us are truly worthy of God. Hence, Jesus and his atoning death on the cross.

It has become an article of faith among many self-proclaimed Christians that Jesus will forgive any sin, any iniquity. And, of course, one may find signs, especially in front of the more egregiously liberal denominations, that “God blesses everyone — no exceptions.” This assumption is likely based on the infinite capacity of God, through his son Jesus, to forgive sin.

Another aspect of the forgiveness mistake? The celebration in many churches of the virtue of “inclusiveness.” As in, all are welcome, don’t worry about pesky little things like unrepentant sin: we love you just as you are.

Well, brothers and sisters, we may love all just as they are, but it is crystal clear from the Gospel of John that Jesus may love us all, but doesn’t accept us all without one key step.

That step is spelled out in the simplest of terms in John 8:11: Neither do I condemn thee: go, and sin no more. Go, and sin no more. Could not be simpler. Could not be harder for us sinners, but there it is regardless: what we need do to be saved. Belief that Jesus is Lord, and has died for our sins, and was resurrected to join God in glory, yes. Essential.

But the kicker is this: if accepting Jesus does not lead to our regeneration, and our rejection of sin, the end result may be eternal separation from God. In short, absent true repentance, when we stand before the judgment seat, our eternity may not look quite so pretty.

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