John 8:10-11 Jesus stood up and said to her, “Woman, where are they? Has no one condemned you?” She said, “No one, Lord.” And Jesus said, “Neither do I condemn you; go, and from now on try to sin no more. But you will, and that's okay. I'll forgive you.”
"Wait a minute," you say. "That's not what it says."
You're right. Jesus really said, "from now on, sin no more."
I've heard that he was using hyperbole. He was just making an extreme statement, telling her to reach for the goal of not sinning, and try her best.
But why on earth would he do that? Isn't that lying, telling her that she could live sinlessly when she really couldn't?
Wouldn't it be enough for Jesus to tell her to try her hardest to not sin again? She was certainly sorry enough to try.
She could get discouraged. When she sinned again, she would think she isn't a true Christian, because Jesus Christ Himself told her not to sin, and she failed him.
But what if Jesus really meant what he said?
No, he couldn't have. What about 1 John 1:8?
"If we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us."
6 If we say we have fellowship with him while we walk in darkness, we lie and do not practice the truth.
7 But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus his Son cleanses us from all sin.
8 If we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us.
9 If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.
First of all, John says that if we sin, or walk in darkness, we aren't Christians. But then he says, if we say we don't sin, we aren't Christians as well. Contradiction?
Think of it this way. John is telling them that Christ cleanses us from the sins we have committed. But what if someone says, "Sin? What are you talking about? I've never sinned." John rebukes this person by saying, "If we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us." He is telling the gnostic that yes, you have sin that must be forgiven, but Jesus will forgive your sins, and make you righteous (which means the same thing as sinless).
When Jesus told the woman to sin no more, he really meant that she should sin no more. Otherwise he would have been contradicting these Scriptures, as well as many more.
1 John 2:4 Whoever says “I know him” but does not keep his commandments is a liar, and the truth is not in him,
5 but whoever keeps his word, in him truly the love of God is perfected. By this we may know that we are in him:
6 whoever says he abides in him ought to walk in the same way in which he walked.
17 And the world is passing away along with its desires, but whoever does the will of God abides forever.
29 If you know that he is righteous, you may be sure that everyone who practices righteousness has been born of him.
Romans 6:1 What shall we say then? Are we to continue in sin that grace may abound? 2 By no means! How can we who died to sin still live in it?
13 Do not present your members to sin as instruments for unrighteousness, but present yourselves to God as those who have been brought from death to life, and your members to God as instruments for righteousness.
17 But thanks be to God, that you who were once slaves of sin have become obedient from the heart to the standard of teaching to which you were committed, 18 and, having been set free from sin, have become slaves of righteousness
Gal. 5:13 You, my brothers, were called to be free. But do not use your freedom to indulge the sinful nature (flesh); rather, serve one another in love.