The Journal of Biblical Accuracy

Does God condemn the sinner? (PDF) PDF version

"Neither do I condemn you; go and sin no more" (John 8:7-11)

Many have created in their minds - with the help of religion - the image of an angry God, a God that is ready to throw fire from heaven and burn the sinners, condemning them for their sins. Similarly others, if something bad happens in the world, in their lives or in the life of somebody they know, attribute this to God with such words as: “the judgment of God fell on him”, “he did something bad and God punishes him”, “this evil is the punishment of God for their sins”. In other words they more or less attribute to God the evil that is happening in this world with the justification that this allegedly is the judgment, the punishment of God for the sin that is in the world. Is however this view right? Τhe answer is NO! I believe that in the age of grace in which we live, God does not condemn the sinners. Be careful, I’m not saying that it is right for somebody to sin. I’m not saying that sin is not actually sin nor am I saying that people do not need to repent from their sin. What I’m saying is that God does not wait people in the corner to punish them for their sins. 

But let us see the above with an example from the Bible. Jesus Christ, the Son of God, is the perfect representation of the Father. He is the image of the invisible God (Colossians 1:15). Whoever saw Him saw the Father (John 14:9) and He only did what He saw the Father doing (John 5:19). What therefore we will see Jesus doing, God would be doing the same today too. Let’s go then to John 8. There we see the Pharisees bringing to Jesus a woman that was caught during the act of adultery and asking Him what they should do to this woman. According to the law of Moses, this woman should have been stoned to death for her act. Her sin was punishable by death, no exceptions. But see here what answer Jesus gave to them:

John 8:7, 9-11
“So when they continued asking Him, He raised Himself up and said to them, "He who is without sin among you, let him throw a stone at her first." Then those who heard it, being convicted by their conscience, went out one by one, beginning with the oldest even to the last. And Jesus was left alone, and the woman standing in the midst. When Jesus had raised Himself up and saw no one but the woman, He said to her, "Woman, where are those accusers of yours? Has no one condemned you?" She said, "No one, Lord." And Jesus said to her, "Neither do I condemn you; go and sin no more."”

What Jesus did here for this woman whose sin, according to the law of Moses, was punishable by death, he does also today. This is the heart of God brothers and sisters. The heart of God is first and foremost forgiveness not judgment. The heart of God is long suffering not short temper. Jesus during His earthly life went around visiting sinners, eating with them and staying in their houses, causing the religious people of his time, the Pharisees, to get mad at him. They were thinking, like some of us today, that these sinners should have been isolated and punished for their sins. But this is not why Jesus came for. See here what the Word tells us:

John 3:17
“For God did not sent His Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved.”

Luke 19:10
The Son of man has come to seek and to save that which was lost.

Matthew 9:12-13
“They who are well have no need of a physician, but those who are sick. But you go and learn what this means, “I desire mercy, and not sacrifice”. For I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance.”

God did not send His Son to condemn the world. He did not send him to condemn the sinners but to save the sinners. This is the age of grace. This is the age where God has extended His hand to the whole world and says “please be reconciled with me” (2 Corinthians 5:20-21). Indeed a day will come in which God will judge the world and those to whom He extended His invitation but they rejected Him. This is “the day of wrath” (Romans 2:5), the day in which God will judge those who denied the truth of the gospel and will be to them “tribulation and anguish” (Romans 2:9). This is the day in which those “that know not God, and that obey not the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ .. shall be punished with everlasting destruction from the presence of the Lord, and from the glory of his power;” (2 Thessalonians 1:8-9). But this day has not come yet! Today is NOT the day of wrath and punishment but the age of grace; the age in which, God, by giving His Son, has extended a hand of friendship to all and wants all to be saved (1 Timothy 2:4). It is the day of reconciliation and not the day of judgment and punishment.

Returning to the woman that sinned: was what she did a sin? Of course it was and as such Jesus faced it. However, did Jesus condemn her for this? Did He picked up a stone to throw it to the sinner? NO. Instead He told her: “Neither do I condemn you; go and sin no more.” Jesus did not condemn the adulterous woman! "Neither do I condemn you" He told her. See however that He did not stop there. Many of us stop there. But Jesus didn’t. He also added: “go and sin no more”. God does not condemn the sinner. He welcomes him in. But he does not stop there. He also tells the sinner “go and sin no more. Make a new beginning, a new start. Move away from sin. I can help you in doing this, if you want. You can change!” As it is wrong to present God as always angry ready to punish the sinners, it is also wrong to present it as a grandfatherly figure that accepts sin, patting everybody in the back. God does accept the sinner, asking him however to now make a new beginning. To go and sin no more! To become not only a believer but to also live as a believer! To not only be forgiven for the sin, but to also repent for the sin! In fact I don’t think there is forgiveness without repentance. First comes repentance, then comes forgiveness. The “go and sin no more” invitation of Jesus was exactly that: an invitation for repentance, for change!
May every person that reads this accept the goodness of God and not take it for granted. Those who read this and do not know the Lord: God does not condemn you. Come to Him, to the living and loving God, make a new beginning, a new life, repent and go and sin no more. Any of those who read this and have known the Lord, yet practise sin in their life (i.e. live habitually and as a way of life in sin): the call for change is also for you. The grace of God is not a license for immorality and if it is presented or understood like this then it is a perverted grace and not the true grace of God. You need to change! You need to repent, to go and sin no more. A faith that is not lived out is dead and those who once knew the Lord yet no longer abide in Him, need to repent and return to the Lord. For as Jesus said for those branches that no longer abide in Him: “If anyone does not abide in me he is thrown away like a branch and withers; and the branches are gathered, thrown into the fire, and burned.” (John 15:6).

I’ll close these article with 2 invitations, similar to the "go and sin no more" invitation of Jesus:

Lamentations 3:40
“Let us search out and examine our ways, and turn back to the LORD;

And Isaiah 55:7
“let the wicked forsake his way, and the unrighteous man his thoughts; let him return to the LORD, that he may have compassion on him, and to our God, for he will abundantly pardon.”


Anastasios Kioulachoglou