(John 15:22) No sin without Jesus?

(John 15:22) No sin without Jesus?

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I am really scratching my head on this verse.

John 15:22, “If I [Jesus] had not come and spoken to them, they would not have sin; but now they have no excuse for their sin.”

It seems from the context just before this that the “them” and “they” pronouns refer to “the world.”

What on earth could this mean? If jesus had not “spoken to them” they would not have sin?!

Now I can only think of one place in the text where someone talked to humanity and caused sin… that is Genesis 3, and the agent that spoke to humans and caused “the world” to have sin is the serpent! This would identify Christ with the serpent in Eden?!

This is the NRSV translation and seems to track the greek well. This sense is conserved across to the KJV too.

Any ideas?


  • Reply September 9, 2023


    It’s not that they would be sinless.
    But once Jesus came people had to “lay their cards on the table” so to speak.
    Now they had to decide whether Peter’s profession was true:
    “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.”

    They had to decide: do they love darkness or the light?

    Now there was greater accountability. Is Jesus the Messiah?

    It is as we read in Acts 17: “…having overlooked the times of ignorance, God is now commanding men that everyone everywhere should repent…”

  • Reply September 9, 2023


    The terminology of “New Monasticism” was developed by Jonathan Wilson in his 1998 book Living Faithfully in a Fragmented World. Wilson was, in turn, building on ideas of Dietrich Bonhoeffer, who said in 1935, “The restoration of the church will surely come only from a new type of monasticism which has nothing in common with the old but a complete lack of compromise in a life lived in accordance with the Sermon on the Mount in the discipleship of Christ.” Philosopher Alasdair MacIntyre in his book After Virtue voiced a longing for “another . . . St. Benedict.” By this he meant someone in the present age who would lead a renewal of morality and civility through community. Wilson identified with that longing in his own book and outlined a vision to carry it forward.

    The middle months of 2004 became a defining moment for the movement, when a number of existing communities and academics gathered in Durham, North Carolina. The conclave drew up the “twelve marks” of New Monasticism:

    1. Relocation to the “abandoned places of Empire” [at the margins of society, usually in depressed, urban areas]
    2. Sharing economic resources with fellow community members and the needy among us
    3. Hospitality to the stranger
    4. Lament for racial divisions within the church and our communities combined with the active pursuit of a just reconciliation
    5. Humble submission to Christ’s body, the Church
    6. Intentional formation in the way of Christ and the rule of the community along the lines of the old novitiate
    7. Nurturing common life among members of an intentional community
    8. Support for celibate singles alongside monogamous married couples and their children
    9. Geographical proximity to community members who share a common rule of life
    10. Care for the plot of God’s earth given to us along with support of our local economies
    11. Peacemaking in the midst of violence and conflict resolution within communities along the lines of Matthew 18
    12. Commitment to a disciplined, contemplative life

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