Questions From Readers
◼ Jesus said, “If you were blind, you would have no sin.” (John 9:41) Did he mean that some humans are sinless?
No, all humans today are sinners, as were all in the first century, except Jesus himself. In these words from John 9:41, Jesus was referring to a particular sort of sin.
Our common ancestor Adam burdened all his descendants with sin. Adam had been created perfect, sinless. (Deuteronomy 32:4; 2 Samuel 22:31) When he disobeyed Jehovah’s basic instructions, Adam became imperfect. To sin means basically “to miss the mark.” Adam truly did that. So by violating God’s command, Adam became a sinner.
All of us have been affected because all of us came from Adam. You could illustrate it this way: A man who was born with a dominant genetic defect would pass it on to all his offspring; they would inherit the same defect. Modern scientists can determine whether certain chromosomal defects exist in an embryo or a newborn, but Jehovah goes beyond that. He reveals that a grave defect did come to exist in Adam and that it has been passed on to all of us. This defect is sin. “Through one man [Adam] sin entered into the world and death through sin, and thus death spread to all men because they had all sinned.” (Romans 5:12) This sinful state has put humans out of harmony with the Creator, in addition to bringing upon them sickness and death. No human besides Jesus has been perfect and free of condemnation to death.—Romans 5:18-21; 6:23; 2 Chronicles 6:36.
In the Bible, however, individuals are sometimes termed “sinners” because of being noted as outstanding practicers of sin or of a flagrant sort of sin. (Luke 19:2-7; Mark 2:16, 17; 14:41) That, of course, does not mean that the rest of the people were perfect, sinless. Had they been, they would not have grown old and eventually died.
The account in John chapter 9 involved a man who was born blind but whose sight Jesus healed. The man had not personally been able to read the Scriptures, yet he did have a limited knowledge. He knew that God does not hear the requests of willful sinners. The fact that Jehovah empowered Jesus to perform the miracle of providing sight proved that Jesus was a prophet. The proud Pharisees, though, refused to accept this man’s logical testimony, and they threw him out.—John 9:13-17, 26-34.
After this, Jesus said: “For this judgment I came into this world: that those not seeing might see and those seeing might become blind.” (John 9:39) Yes, on the basis of his preaching, other activities, and role in God’s purposes, individuals either would gain spiritual sight and walk in light or would be in spiritual darkness. (Isaiah 9:1, 2; 42:6, 7; Matthew 4:13-17; 6:23; 2 Peter 1:9; 2 Corinthians 4:4) Had the religious leaders been just uninformed Jews with the normal burden of human sin, their not accepting the Messiah might have been excused. But they, who claimed to “see,” or understand, were especially reprehensible because they had greater knowledge of the Law and of God’s prophetic Word. So their rejecting Jesus was a serious sin that condemned them more than their normal human imperfection and sin did. Thus, Jesus told the Pharisees: “If you were blind, you would have no sin. But now you say, ‘We see.’ Your sin remains.”—John 9:41.