Does Sin Still Matter?

Q. Why would Jesus give the command, “Go and sin no more,” in John 8:11, if future sin is pardoned and freely embraced? And is future sin not effectively sin until it becomes established and is thus past? Is one’s own future sin to be lamented when free will is still available? Does grace truly received let us go forward though it’s misunderstood by the world? Or does grace abolish sin, even the future kind?

A. There are two factors at play here. First, Jesus knew the woman in John 8:11 could not refrain from all sin, so He had to be admonishing her to stop committing the sin of which she had been accused, adultery.
Second, even though all the sins of our life were forgiven at the cross, that doesn’t mean it’s OK to live a sin filled life. We know this because Paul, the champion of salvation by grace, repeatedly counseled us to live in a manner pleasing to God. He called it “living up to what we have already attained (Phil. 3:16).

Even though they’re forgiven, our sins still grieve the Holy Spirit, and they still have an impact on our relationship with the Lord. Therefore we shouldn’t “freely embrace them.”

Combining these two factors, we can understand that grace doesn’t abolish sin. By the grace of God we have been relieved of the penalty for our sins, but it’s a sign of our indifference about what it took for him to do that to act as if the sin in our life no longer matters.

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