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This is an opinion piece. If I quoted scriptures, choosing the version that best fits my purpose (and even thought I generally like the most literal) I know that many would be more than happy to quote other scriptures that contradict what I say. So, none of that. Just my thoughts, trying to express has been revealed to my heart by God. Yes, by God.

We who are saved and know it, are the most blessed on the earth. Those who are not saved can only hope for the best when they meet their maker. This is extremely good news for those who know their redeemer. It is in fact called the good news, the gospel. We are called out to spread the good news.

Does this mean that the rest of the world is going to hell? Some would say so. I can’t (except that yes, all are going to the grave). Those who lived between Adam and Moses sinned, but God says He doesn’t charge it against them. They did all die, which is the penalty of Adam’s disobedience. Then the law of Moses came, and there were also penalties for transgressions, but the guilt and judgements were staved off by the sacrifices. Except for the occasional stoning.

Then Jesus came. He paid it all. The penalty of death, and the punishment of the law, even though he did not break the law. He paid to the uttermost, every mouth is stopped, and it is finished.

What does that mean to the unbelievers? It means that sin (click on the link) was taken away from the world. The lamb of God did that. He did not fail. So, no sinning remains. Those who see sinning do not understand the finished work of the Jesus, and neither to they understand grace.

People who do not believe are said to have the principle of the law written on their hearts by God, and they have had it since Adam. They still have it and will be judged by it, whether they did what they knew was right or did not. Still, there is no penalty for breaking the law in the heart. Never was one given.

I believe that God of course will do the right thing by all his creation. I believe that when the dead works of all are burnt up, the people themselves will be saved by the same fire, purified and right with God. Will some not make it through that fire? I don’t know. But I do believe that there will be a lot of happy surprises in the time of resurrection.

Christ made the way back to God for us. He has rescued humanity by his sacrifice. It is confirmed by his resurrection, as the first among many. All died in Adam and all will be made alive in Jesus. There are many abodes in Papa’s house.

Those who believe have his life now in this age. And in the life to come. Those who don’t believe must wait and hope. Knowing is much better! I’d like to think I’d choose to know, but that is not how it works. We believe, and then we know.

The church needs to stop basing its concepts on Dante’s Inferno. It’s fiction, people. Hell is the grave. It’s also a garbage dump. In Jesus’ day, people understood it as continually on fire, where animals gnashed their teeth fighting for scraps, where there was wailing – a place of waste and destruction. His hearers would have gotten the point. We have missed it.

Sometimes it’s a mythological place of the dead, or Hades. Mythological. I don’t recommend believing myths.

So why even bother to proclaim the gospel of the kingdom? Why did the early Christians turn the world upside down? Why? Because it is gloriously freeing news. It brings us back to our Father. Then we go out make disciples and more come to know their Father. He desires that. And there is healing in salvation. Why would we not want to go out and bring the will of heaven to earth?

The kingdom is in our midst, and we spend too much time sitting around the table with our immediate family. Our family includes all who are not sitting at the table yet. Go out and invite them in. We debate about who will be in or out. Let’s let them in and then let God sort it out.

The upshot of what I am saying is that some are saved in this life – made whole, rescued, preserved, healed. The called out ones. We are in the kingdom now. We are righteous because Jesus has made us righteous. To be righteous means to be accepted by God, to be innocent, and as to the law, guiltless and virtuous.

But many will also be accepted by God in that new day that is coming. Righteous. Multitudes. Great and small, He loves them all. Is this Christian universalism? Maybe. But I’d rather have to explain why I drew a bigger circle and took them in, than to explain why I excluded the very ones Jesus died for.

Will there be multitudes in the kingdom, or will there be a relative few? How big is your God? How many made it out of Egypt? Was it not a mixed multitude? Most eventually died after the law was given. That’s what the law does. It brings death.

Jesus brings life and reconciliation. That is our ministry – reconciliation. We are His hands and feet. We can allow things, or disallow them, and God will approve. We can forgive sin. We can hold up those who need to be held up. We have authority to do these things. We bring God’s will, which lives in us by grace, from heaven to earth.

OK. The happy heretic is done. Fire at will.

What did Jesus mean when He said to go and sin no more?

John 1:14 in most this verse is rendered in the following way:

(King James Version)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.

It has long bothered me that Jesus, who forgave sins and never condemned, would tell the man to go and sin no more or a worse thing could come on him. Jesus, who went against the culture and the perception that sinning caused sickness.

We are at the mercy of the early translators and their ideas of sinning. Even literal translations are no help in many cases. So allow me, a non-scholar but someone who tries to read the scripture through the lens of grace, to play with the wording a bit, taken from the literal wording (from the Interlinear Scripture Analyzer):

….and he said to him, lo! sound you have become by no means longer be you missing(the mark)! (hamartane) that no worse something to you may be becoming.

I believe a better way to read this, in light of grace and Jesus’ authority to heal and forgive, is like so:

….and He said to him, Look! You have become sound. By no means are you missing the mark! So no worse thing may come to you.

Now this is a mind bender. We have been taught so long that sin brings bad things to us, including sickness, that to see it in grace is difficult. This is how it was under law, to the Jews. This is how we see it, because we have put ourselves under the same law mindset. We do it in ignorance, but we have done it nevertheless.

Jesus breaks the connection between sin and our situation by taking sin out of the picture.

Jesus never put anyone under law. He pointed out the excesses and errors that had arisen in the Jewish religion, but He never put anyone under all that. So why would Jesus tell someone to go and sin no more (the woman taken in adultery) and also tell the crippled man to not sin anymore lest something worse come upon him?

True, he told the man that in the temple after the healing had taken place. I have thought He said it so He would not be breaking any Jewish laws. But we aren’t told this in the text. And when He said it to the woman, all the accusers had gone away. In the temple, it seems more like He was making sure the religious leaders knew He had healed on the Sabbath. Jesus seemed to relish healing on the Sabbath.

I propose that Jesus healed the crippled man (and forgave the adulterous woman) and what we miss is that it was total. He told the man that he was well, or whole. When Jesus makes us whole, are we not whole? Does it matter which side of the cross this thing took place? When He forgave (did not condemn) the woman, is it not the same? When Jesus took away our sins, and forgave us, was it not total as well?

Under grace, we are forgiven of all, past, present, and future. Grace and truth came by Jesus. He embodied it. The timing of when He healed or forgave makes no difference. The man and the woman were no longer under the law as far as Jesus was concerned and therefore were no longer sinners. And He said as much, but we miss it.

By failing to see grace in these two acts of Jesus, we set ourselves up for double-mindedness concerning forgiveness and sin. If we can see that Jesus was not in fact telling people to sin no more, but was setting them free of it, we will have defeated the thinking of the world, the law keepers, and the rule makers. Our minds will be more renewed than they were yesterday.

Too often I’ve heard people say that someone is forgiven, but then must be careful not to sin again, based on these two verses. This is wrong headed. We are forgiven, we are dead to sin, and we are dead to the law by which sin is known. It is finished.

Grace teaches us, not the law. The divine influence in our hearts is our teacher. We don’t tell people they are forgiven, and then tell them not to sin again. And neither did Jesus. Preposterous.

How to be accused of embracing too much grace in a few paragraphs:

We are forgiven, for all time, if we are in Christ, right? So, what happens when we go out and sin?

Answer this: How can we “go out and sin” if we are dead to not only sin, but also to the law by which sin is known? Romans, especially chapter six, along with Hebrews, makes is clear that we are dead to sin. So what then is this sinning that people are afraid will happen if we are under grace?

Romans 6:7 For when a man dies, he is freed (loosed, delivered) from [the power of] sin [among men].  (Amplified Version)

Romans 6:17 But thank God, though you were once slaves of sin, you have become obedient with all your heart to the standard of teaching in which you were instructed and to which you were committed.

18And having been set free from sin, you have become the servants of righteousness (of conformity to the divine will in thought, purpose, and action). (Amplified Version)

Also: 2 Corinthians 5:19 -It was God [personally present] in Christ, reconciling and restoring the world to favor with Himself, not counting up and holding against [men] their trespasses [but cancelling them], and committing to us the message of reconciliation (of the restoration to favor). (Amplified Version)

We are set free from sin, and we are taught this by the apostle explaining grace to us. Grace itself teaches up godliness, which looks much like the fruit of the spirit. Grace also teaches us to avoid ungodliness, which looks a lot like the works of the flesh.

The difference is that there was no law against the fruit of the spirit. It is based on love, and does no harm, but instead seeks to build up, care for, and bless others. The works of the flesh, while some can be good and loving, are mostly selfish, often harming, abusing, and destroying. The law was against that.

We no longer do the works of the flesh if we are in the spirit, and we are in the spirit if we are His. The fleshly old nature is reckoned as dead. So we come back to the original thought – we are dead to sin. We are no longer taught by law, but by grace.

If we, or others we see, seem to be sinning, we are usually confusing the works of the flesh with sin. Sin was taken away by Jesus. (2 Cor 5:19, see above) If it was not, then He didn’t do what He was sent to do, which was to take away the sins of the world. (John 1:29 The next day John saw Jesus coming to him and said, Look! There is the Lamb of God, Who takes away the sin of the world! ~ Amp. V.)

A note about the Greek word translated as “sin” (hamartia) – it just means to miss the mark, to err, to stray from the path, and not share in the prize. It’s an archery term. It does not mean to do something bad or evil.

The translators used a word, sin, that implies guilt, when no guilt is implied by the original Greek word. The only guilt involved was Adam’s. And later, there was guilt incurred from transgressing the Mosaic law – which was dealt with by the sacrifices.

Gentiles never were given the Jewish law in the first place. Between Adam and the law, sin was not counted against any.  Then Jesus established the New Covenant, the old was done away with it’s laws and ordinances. It is finished. It is over. We are back to not having our failings counted against us.  

That leaves us with going out and sinning – and what that is. To me it is obvious that no one really sins, for without the law, we can not know sin. Even sinners don’t sin…. now there’s a paradox for you.

We who have been given grace will be led and taught by it. We cannot sin because we are dead to both it and the law. (Sadly even Gentiles now have to deal with the law, because it is taught by nearly every preacher in the world – but know this: where Moses is read, the veil remains.)

Jesus died to fulfill the law, and in so doing he has rescued the entire human race from Adam’s sin and the penalty of death it brought. He did it by coming in frail (“sinful”) flesh. Meaning He did it as a flesh and blood man, prone to error and failure and straying. Yet He fulfilled it all without ever missing the mark.

IT IS FINISHED. Sin/error is not counted against us, just as it was not counted against any before the law came. Jesus reconciled the world to God. In Him a person can have life, if they believe, in the here and now. This is the good news.

And, as John says in 1 John 2:1, if any stray or err, we have a comforter with the Father, Jesus, the anointed and just. Not if any transgress, but if any mess up. There is nothing to transgress. But we can make mistakes in our walk. He will comfort us and lead us into the right way by His grace.

Sin has been “put back” onto the world by the teaching of the church. This is a travesty. I personally believe we should stop using the word sin, and start using the true meaning, which is to miss or err, or fail, and not share the prize. But that’s just me. Do what you want on this one.

Speak the truth even if your voice shakes

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