Jesus Never Said, “You are a Sinner”

In my previous post, we looked at the call of Peter in Luke 5:1-11. In verse 8, Peter says to Jesus: “Go away from me, Lord. I am a sinful man!” Hearing those words, it struck me: It wasn’t Jesus who said, “You are a sinner”; it was Peter who acknowledged his sinfulness.

In fact, Jesus never said “You are a sinner” to anyone.

But what about the woman who was caught committing adultery? John 8:3-11. In her case, He said: “Go now and leave your life of sin.” He had a problem with the way she was living, not with her as a person.

I was reminded of a book I read recently – “Out of a far Country”. It’s about Christopher – a former homosexual drug-dealer who became a Christian. He wrote about Leviticus 18:22 – the part in the Bible where it says: “You shall not lie with a male as with a woman. It is an abomination.” When he actually read the verse, Christopher discovered it was an abomination. He and his friends had always got the message from Christians that they were an abomination, but it wasn’t them as people God hated; it was the act of homosexuality. I’m deeply sorry that for so many years, he carried around the wrong message, and considered himself unwelcome and unloved. I think that’s why it’s so important for me and my Christian family to know what the Word of God says, and to give people the right idea of God and how He feels about them.

If you’re in a place today where you’re thinking: “Go away from me, Lord. I’m full of sin!” how about following Peter’s example? When Jesus told him not to be afraid and offered him a new life, Peter left his old life behind in favour of all that Jesus had for him.

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31 Jesus-Benefits: I’m not Threatened

“’Then neither do I condemn you,’ Jesus declared. ‘Go now and leave your life of sin’” (John 8:11).

Day 12 and I really admire people who stand for what they believe in without compromise. Jesus is absolutely perfect at that, but we needn’t feel threatened by Him because:

Jesus is against the wrongdoing, not the person.

There are others, but probably the best example is the woman caught in adultery in John chapter 8. The teachers of the Law want to stone her and make a spectacle of her, but Jesus says the one who’s never done any wrong should throw the first stone. Gradually they realise their imperfection and drift away, until only Jesus is left with the woman. At that moment, He tells her He’s not going to condemn her, but that’s not all; He tells her to leave her life of sin. He’s not condemning, but He’s not condoning either. Just because He loves this woman, He’s not suddenly going to rethink His stance on adultery. Adultery is still wrong, but she’s a woman loved by God, who’s not being excluded from His saving work.

We can be no-compromise people, like Jesus when He lived on earth. Some would say Christians hate homosexuals, for instance, but you can hate homosexuality without hating those who practise it. Let’s be against the wrongdoing, not the people.

“He will save His people from their sins” (Matthew 1:21).

The First Big Lesson

I’m going to ask you to think for a minute – of the first big lesson God taught you as a Christian. Maybe you became a Christian so long ago you can’t remember, but I’d love to hear from you if you can. Mine was this: Homosexuality is wrong.

Why would God choose to focus on that? Well, before I was a Christian, I was very into Queen – the rock group, for anyone who doesn’t know. By ‘Very into Queen’ I mean in the Queen Fan Club, went to conventions every year etc. In fact, I was so into Queen, it seemed almost criminal to disagree with anything its members said or did.

Freddie Mercury was publicly bisexual, so when a friend told me on the phone one night that homosexuality was wrong, I didn’t want to grasp it. I said: “You tell me where it says in the Bible and I’ll believe you”. I was sincere in this. As a new Christian, I hungered to know more about God, and I knew His Word (the Bible) was true.

“I think it’s in Romans,” she told me, but that wasn’t enough; I wanted to know exactly where.

Still living with my parents at this point, we went and bought a concordance from our local Christian bookshop. (A concordance is like a dictionary; you can look up a particular word or phrase, and it’ll tell you where to find it in the Bible.) I asked Mum to look up “Homosexual”. There are other passages that talk about homosexual behaviour, but for the actual word homosexual, she only found one reference. It was in 1 Corinthians, and it was the phrase: “Wicked homosexual offenders”.

Wicked … homosexual … offenders. I repeated it to myself. Then I thought: Hang on. If that’s what God thinks, then homosexuality really is wrong!

Even in those early days, God was asking me to make a choice: Carry on, as in my old life – putting Freddie Mercury first, or change and put Him first?

If there are any homosexuals reading, please remember this: God loves you. Deeply. But, as one of my friends would regularly say when praying out-loud: “You love us as we are, but You love us too much to leave us as we are, so You choose to change us”.

Very wise words.