John chapter five recounts Jesus’ encounter with the man who had suffered with a deep-seated and lingering disorder for thirty-eight years. The man had, according to himself, been unable to step into the water as the first person after the angel had stirred the water. Despite that the man didn’t answer Jesus’ direct question when Jesus asked him if he wanted to become well Jesus healed him from his infirmities.
When Jesus met the healed again man in the temple Jesus uttered a most curious thing: “See, you are well. Stop sinning or something worse may happen to you.” Here Jesus is talking to a man who had been an invalid for thirty-eight years unable to do much other than lie by the pool. Not many opportunities to sin when you are in such a condition.
Jesus encounter with the man was brief and they didn’t exchange many words. The text doesn’t mention any particular sin the man indulged in. The key to understand Jesus extortion is, however, found in the man’s answer to Jesus’ initial question: “Sir, I have no one to put me into the pool when the water is stirred up, and while I am going another steps down before me.”
The answer discloses two things. Firstly, he trusted in others. Secondly, he trusted in himself. Never does he reveal any reliance on God. To put it differently: He trusted in the flesh and not in God.
We find the origins to this basic sin in the Garden when man became sin since Adam ate from the tree to knowledge of good and evil. We lost our life when we wanted to be like God by our own means, that is, trusting in the flesh. Every other sin the Bible mentions is a result of this basic error.
Thus Paul exclaims that whatever does not proceed from faith is sin. Not faith in the flesh and our or others abilities, but faith in God’s abilities. It is as simple as this. The Bible says: “There is no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.” Where there is no condemnation there is no sin on account of that those who are in Christ Jesus trust God and live according to the measure of faith that God has assigned. In Christ they have found their life again and can live as whole persons expressing their uniqueness. To understand oneself as a whole and perfect person in Christ requires the kind of faith which says what is impossible for man is possible for God.