“Go and sin
no some more.”
Those were the words that continued to ring through my head as I listened over and over again to all the news reports on the life and death of Anna Nicole Smith.
It was in 1983 when she quit high school at the age of 16 to work as a waitress and a cook. Shortly thereafter she married Billy Wayne Smith, another fry cook, and together they had a son, Daniel Smith VIII. The marriage lasted less than a year, and Anna Nicole, then known as Vickie Lynn Hogan, moved back to Houston to work at Wal-Mart, a restaurant, and a topless strip club as a dancer. It was there at a strip club in 1992 where she would meet her second husband, billionaire oil-tycoon, J. Howard Marshall II. In less than 10 years, she when from a high school drop-out and hometown waitress to the verge of marrying into billions (even though he was old enough to be her grandfather).
But the prospect of billions was not enough. A year later she made it on the cover of Playboy magazine, and Hugh Hefner made the public statement that Anna Nicole would be the next Marilyn Monroe. It is reported that throughout her life, indeed, she considered it her ambition to be just like Monroe, and tragically, her short-lived life ended in a very similar fashion.
The last chapter of her life began with a reality show (“The Anna Nicole Smith Show”) where cameras followed her life story. In between reality shows and bankruptcy, Anna Nicole’s life was constantly in the courts, trying to get the millions from the Marshall family after the death of her husband. And just last year, with the birth of a baby girl, her son overdoses and dies there in her hospital room. Mourning after the death of her son who apparently was the love of her life, she became more and more depressed and found new court battles to face, in particular over who was the father of her newborn baby. And just five days ago, Anna Nicole collapses and dies in her hotel room at the age of 39.
This is a brief summary of a woman who, for 39 years, heard the words “Go and sin some more.” She had everything this world could possibly offer: beauty, riches, sex, fame, etc. Coming from a small town in Texas a high school drop-out, this looks like the American dream. After all, what was it that America could offer that she did not receive?
Yet over the past week, I heard testimony after testimony from her friends, family, and associates about how lonely, depressed, and empty Anna Nicole was her entire life. One of her closest companions shared that Anna Nicole felt no one loved her and that no man cared enough to pursue her, so much that her last husband, her lawyer, came by default since he was her closest friend. This woman, having walked the red carpet, lived in mansions, and posed before thousands of cameras couldn’t look at herself in the face and accept who she was.
I hearkened back to Scripture and more specifically to the life of Jesus Christ to think about a couple of Anna Nicole’s in Jesus’ day. I recall a woman of Samaria who had many men in her life (John 4:1-42), a woman of the city who was characteristically known as “a sinner” (Luke 7:36-50), and a woman caught in adultery (John 8:1-11). Like the Samaritan woman, Anna Nicole had experienced many men in her life. Like the woman of the city, she prostituted herself for riches. Like the woman caught in adultery, she knew what it was like to be in a courtroom, being judged by others. Jesus was no stranger to the Anna Nicole’s of his day.
But Anna Nicole was a stranger to Jesus Christ. She had not met the man who “told me all that I ever did” (John 4:29). She did not hear the question, “Who is this, who even forgives sins?” (Luke 7:49). She did not hear the words “Go and sin no more” (John 8:11). No, she heard the opposite from the world around her. At every point in her life, whether as a stripper, a Playboy Playmate, an unfaithful wife, or wrapped up in drugs, sex, and fame, she heard the words, “Go and sin some more.” And ultimately, such wages of sin lead to her death (Rom. 6:23).
Everything that she wanted she had, and everything that she had led to her death. Such is the story of a life wasted by the world, ruined by its supposed benefits, duped by its fleeting promises. What did Anna Nicole need?
She needed the gospel.
She needed forgiveness of sins.
She needed a man who could tell her all that she ever did.
She needed to hear the words, “Go and sin NO more.”
She needed Jesus.
The money, the sex, the riches and the fame, were all broken cisterns which could hold no water (Jer. 2:13), leaving a thirsty soul parched, barren, and empty. She drank of the water which made her thirsty again and again, but she never drank of the water that would be a spring of water welling up to eternal life (John 4:14). She knew many men in life, but she didn’t know the Son of Man who died so that we might live. Until her dying day, Anna Nicole fought up to the U.S. Supreme Court for $474 million only to find that riches do not profit in the day of wrath, but righteousness delivers from death (Prov. 11:4). Having succumbed to death, an even higher court she must face as she stands before the Judge of the earth on that day of wrath where the wealth of the world cannot vouch for a bankrupt soul.
Turning to myself, I have to ask, “Who are the Anna Nicole’s in my life?” No, I am not talking about strippers or playmates or Hollywood superstars with millions to spare. I am talking about those who, like Anna Nicole, have never come to treasure Jesus Christ as the all-satisfying Savior and Lord of their life. Have I so presented Jesus to them that they would be lead to reply, “Sir, give me this water, so that I will not be thirsty or have to come here to draw water” (John 4:15)? Or have I become a modern-day Pharisee who would tell Jesus, “If you were a prophet, you would have known what sort of woman this is who is touching you” (Luke 7:39)? Do I find my hands filled with stones or does my life reflect that I am a debtor to sovereign mercy?
The fact is that I am not better than Anna Nicole or the men who she stripped for, save the grace of God. What I most desperately needed was forgiveness of sin, for I am all the more a worm, wretched and blind, rotten and wicked. Yet, having become a debtor to mercy and a child of God, it is my privilege to go to the Anna Nicole’s with the love of Christ and say, “Go and sin no more.” It is my lifelong calling to call sinners to repentance who long to be like the Marilyn Monroe’s to long to be like Christ. It is my earnest prayer that, whether in life or in death, Jesus Christ would be on display, that words would be spoken of Him and His great salvation, and that all would be gain because I have treasured Him.
I tremble to think that my world might hear the words, “Go and sin some more” with the way I live my life. I shutter to think that the Anna Nicole’s in my world would find a Pharisee in me, questioning the worth of their alabaster box rather than kissing the feet of my Savior. May God spare me the horror of such disgrace and use these recent events in the death of Anna Nicole Smith to awaken me to the tragedy of a wasted life and the glories of treasuring the excellencies of Jesus Christ.
It may be that you may be reading this, and you can relate to Anna Nicole. You have tasted the bitter water of this world and find that it does not satisfy. You have bought into the bad deal of goods this world has to offer, only to find yourself restless all the more. To those weary, restless, and thirsty, come to Jesus and be satisfied in Him alone. Turn from your wretched ways and trust in Jesus to save you, and His promise is true and faithful, that He will accept you no matter where you are or what you have done. The only hope of God being satisfied with us is in the perfect life, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ, and the death he died was once and for all for sinners like you and me, so that we might be accepted in heaven because of His sacrifice and taking our place on the cross. The message the world tells you is to go and sin some more. Yet such sinful living has an eternal price tag to pay, and that is everlasting separation and punishment in hell. Jesus tells you to go and sin no more because He came that we might be forgiven of our sin through His victory over it on the cross. Flee to Him today, and treasure Him for a lifetime, yea for eternity.