Sin No More

John 5: 14-16.

Afterward Jesus findeth him in the temple, and said unto him, Behold, thou art made whole: sin no more, lest a worse thing come unto thee.

¶The man departed, and told the Jews that it was Jesus, which had made him whole.

¶And therefore did the Jews persecute Jesus, and sought to slay Him, because He had done these things on the sabbath day.

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Afterward. . . .we don’t know if it was later that same day, or later in the week. We do know that the healed man was at the temple, and Jesus knew that. Jesus wanted to admonish the man to go about his business, and to avoid sin in order to avoid more trouble in his body.

Some believe that Jesus’ words here indicate that the man’s illness was brought on by his dissipation. Perhaps, but I’m wary of assuming that is always the case. If it were so, we would all be lame, diseased, crippled, blind–for no one is without sin.

Jesus told the man to “sin no more.” Does that mean it is possible to live a sinless life? No. Believing we can do that on our own power leads to all kinds of self-righteousness, which is also sin. What Jesus was telling him was that he should stay away from whatever he was doing that brought him to such straits in the first place, because if he went back to it he would reap much worse consequences than he already had.

It’s possible, although this is only my opinion, that the man struggled with being tempted back into whatever he had been doing before. Don’t we all have those sometimes not-so-secret sins that we have to guard against all the time? In Proverbs 20:27 we read, “The spirit (conscience) of man is the candle of the LORD, searching all the inward parts of the belly.”

The first time I really saw this verse, it had such an impact on my life! That nagging sense of wrongdoing is God shining a light on the hidden corners of the heart, revealing to us where sin is waiting in the darkness for its opportunity to creep out like a snake out of its den, seeking to pull us into doing what we know can destroy us.

The man went to the Jewish leaders and told them, “It was Jesus who healed me!” Was he informing on Jesus? Ratting Him out, guilty of the same sin as Judas Iscariot? No, there is no indication in the scripture that his motives were evil. Remember, these leaders were respected and honored. I don’t believe the man had any idea of their real motives.

Jesus did, though, and He was ready for them.

How did they “persecute” Him? I don’t know. Perhaps the persecution was in the form of their accusations, and the threat of death (!) because He had healed on the sabbath. These types of men managed to show up wherever Jesus was, spying on Him, arguing with Him, accusing Him. Always looking for a valid reason to demand His death.

He was, most importantly, a threat to their authority and position of prestige among the Jewish people. He had to go!

Light and Darkness

John 3:19-20.

And this is the condemnation, that light is come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil.

For every one that doeth evil hateth the light, neither cometh to the light, lest his deeds should be reproved.

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JESUS is the Light of the World (John 8:12). The Light came to the world, and some received the Light. He is still the Light of the World, and some still receive Him.

But even His own people, the Jews, as a nation, refused Him. They wanted a great king who would overthrow the oppression of Rome, but Jesus was nothing but a Nazarene, a carpenter, of no account when it came to matters of importance like whether or not they should pay taxes to Rome.

In spite of clear prophecy; in spite of His miraculous works; in spite of His fulfillment of Old Testament scripture, His own people refused, as a nation, to receive Him.

They preferred to stay in darkness rather than to step into the Light. The Bible tells us that men love darkness rather than light because, in the darkness, their evil deeds are hidden.

We shouldn’t be surprised but such a concept. We know very well that when we want to do wrong, we prefer not to have a bright light shown on us. We prefer our sinful behavior to be hidden, because we want others to think we’re something we are not.

What we forget is that Jesus IS the Light. We cannot hide from Him.

Proverbs 20:27. “The spirit (conscience) of man is the candle of the LORD, searching all the inward parts of the belly (the hidden things of the heart).

He sees. He knows us. The amazing thing is that still, He loves us and continues to offer salvation through the shed blood of Jesus, and His resurrection, if we will only believe and receive the Light.

Sometimes I grow so weary of the evil that is perpetrated in our country, and around the world, in the name of what is right. We have become so tangled in lies and accusations and counter-accusations that it’s hard to find the truth.

God knows. He understands why we want to do things under cover, in dark basements, secretly and away from the light. The day will come when all of us will answer to Him for our refusal of the Light, and the evil deeds we pursue under cover of darkness. There will be no way to avoid the Light when that day comes.

All of us need to stop and consider what we do in secret, thinking we’re hiding it from God.

Sunday Morning Coffee: Prov. 20:27

Proverbs 20:27. The spirit of man is the candle of the LORD, searching all the inward parts of the belly.

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The spirit ( Heb. nesamah) is that inner spiritual part of human life that was inbreathed at the Creation (Genesis 2:7) and that constitutes humans as spiritual beings with moral, intellectual, and spiritual capacities.

In other words, when God breathed the breath of life into Adam, He created in him a sense of right and wrong, the ability to learn, and the ability to develop spiritually as well.

Because all of that is God-breathed, it seems somewhat of a mystery to us. For example, we would like to think of every newborn child as a “clean slate,” having no imprint of sin or even of understanding of right and wrong. However, it doesn’t take long for the new parents to realize that their child is born with a great concern for his own well-being, and he’s not particularly concerned with how his parents are sleeping 🙂 And just as every adorable baby is born with a sin nature, they are also born with a spiritual nature, which responds to love and the joyful care of the parents. This is the “light” in the child. It is the instrument of God. It illuminates life. It is that by which man is constantly kept face to face with truth. It isn’t long until it becomes very clear that a baby understands good and bad. We need to understand that even the most evil men know that their works are evil. 

If you consider the story of Cain and Abel in Genesis, there is no doubt that Cain knew without question that his murder of his brother was wrong; that his own life was in danger with God for what he had done, and that if he were to survive, he needed some protection from God. He didn’t know all this from going to school, or getting a degree in criminal behavior. He knew it because of the spirit of God within his soul.

The parent who excuses his child’s bad behavior with, “Well, I don’t think he understands. . . .” is only fooling himself. Children understand far more than we think they do.

The lamp of the Lord—God’s word—can search the depths of a man’s heart like nothing else. This is because God’s word is living and active (Hebrews 4:12). There are times, as I do my daily Bible reading, that I’m convinced God put a certain verse or passage in His Word just for me!

God has given to every human being a mind, which He enlightens by His own Spirit, so that we know how to distinguish good from evil; and conscience, (the word means “with knowledge”) which springs from the enlightened mind, searches the inmost recesses of the soul.