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“When Jesus had lifted up Himself, and saw none but the woman, He said unto her, Woman, where are those thine accusers? hath no man condemned thee? She said, No man, Lord. And Jesus said unto her, Neither do I condemn thee: go, and sin no more.” John 8:10-11 (Read John 8:1-11)

The Biblical account of the woman who was caught in the act of committing adultery is an amazing portion of God’s Word to consider. The scribes and Pharisees were attempting to find grounds to accuse Jesus. So, they brought this woman to Jesus as He was teaching in the temple, saying that they had caught her in the very act of committing adultery and asking Jesus whether or not they should stone her to death as Moses commanded in the law (cf. Deut. 5:18; 22:22; Lev. 20:10).

Now the Law required that both the man who took another’s wife and the consenting woman be put to death. This raises the question as to why only the woman was brought in this particular case. Of course, the purpose of the scribes and Pharisees was to test Jesus. And Jesus’ response teaches us two important lessons.

Jesus wrote on the ground and told them, “He that is without sin among you, let him first cast a stone at her” (v. 7), and then He again stooped down and wrote in the dirt. Verse 9 tells us that they went out of the temple one by one, starting with the oldest, being convicted by their own conscience, until, finally, Jesus was left alone with this woman. What Jesus wrote in the dirt, whether it be the commandments, the sins of this woman’s accusers, or something else, we don’t know; but all were convicted of their own sins and could no longer condemn this woman without condemning themselves (cf. Rom. 2:1ff.).

What can we learn from this? As sinners, none of us can judge and condemn another without also condemning ourselves (cf. Matt. 18:21ff.). Rather, we ought to be “kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ’s sake hath forgiven you” (Eph. 4:32). None of us are without sin, and all of us depend entirely upon God’s grace and mercy to us for the sake of Jesus Christ and His blood shed for us upon the cross. When we admonish sinners and preach against sin, our goal is not to condemn but urge sinners to join us in repentance and receiving God’s mercy in Christ Jesus!

We remember that “God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life. … God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved” (John 3:16-17).

Secondly, you and I can find great comfort in the fact that Jesus told this woman caught in adultery: “Neither do I condemn thee: go, and sin no more.” If anyone could have condemned this woman, it was Jesus, the holy and righteous Son of God; but Jesus forgave her sin and told her to go and sin no more.

We can find comfort in this because we see that, no matter how great our sin, in Jesus we can find mercy and forgiveness; for He came into the world to fulfill the righteous demands of the law for us and to suffer upon the cross the just punishment demanded by God’s law for our sins. The Bible tells us: “For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God; being justified freely by His grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus” (Rom. 3:23-24). Through faith in Jesus’ shed blood, sinners like you and me can find forgiveness from God and not be condemned (cf. John 5:24; Rom. 8:1).

Now, this does not mean that we can go on and sin freely since there is forgiveness in Christ, for Jesus says: “Go, and sin no more” (cf. Rom. 6:1ff.). As those who have been freely forgiven by Christ, we now want to serve Him and do His will. In this life, we will not be perfect — we will fail — but we continue to turn to Jesus for forgiveness and His help and strength to amend our sinful lives and live for Him (cf. 1 John 1:7—2:2).

O Dearest Jesus, we thank You for showing mercy to us sinners and pardoning our offenses for the sake of Your innocent sufferings and death on the cross. Grant that we not judge and condemn other sinners but share Your mercy and forgiveness with them so that we may join together in living our lives for You. Amen.

[Scripture is quoted from the King James Version of the Bible.]

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“And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of man be lifted up: that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have eternal life. For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life. For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved. He that believeth on him is not condemned: but he that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.” John 3:14-18

Why is it that some will be saved and have everlasting life in heaven while others will be condemned to everlasting torment in hell? Those who are saved have forgiveness for their sins and everlasting life entirely because of God’s love and mercy in Christ Jesus. Those who are condemned are so entirely by their own fault for rejecting God’s grace and mercy in Jesus Christ.

Jesus said, “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life” (John 3:16). And, as Jesus said, God’s only begotten Son was “lifted up” for us on the cross and paid in full the just punishment for the sins of the whole world (cf. Num. 21:4-9; John 3:14-15; 1 John 2:1-2). Therefore, because of Jesus’ atoning sacrifice, whoever believes in Him will not perish but have everlasting life.

It is as John writes: “He that believeth on him — on Jesus Christ, God’s only begotten Son, who died for our sins and rose again — is not condemned.” The one who, by the grace and mercy of God, hears God’s Word and believes and trusts that, in Jesus, atonement has been made and his sins are paid for in full is not condemned but is forgiven and has everlasting life.

But, the one who does not believe and place his trust and confidence in the atoning sacrifice of God the Son “is condemned already.” Why? Not because his sins are worse than those of others and not because Christ Jesus did not pay in full for his sins when He suffered and died on the cross for the sins of the world; rather, it is “because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.”

Jesus is the only source of salvation. When God sent His only-begotten Son into the world to fulfill all righteousness for us and then pay the just penalty for all our transgressions, He was and is the only way provided for lost sinners to be saved (cf. Acts 4:12; John 14:6). Those who do not look in faith to Jesus and His cross will not be saved!

It is just that simple. God, in love, “gave his only begotten Son” as a true man, born of the Virgin Mary, to suffer and die for the sins of all. Those who, by the grace of God, look to Jesus and rely on Him for forgiveness are not condemned but have everlasting life! Those who do not look to Jesus and trust in His atoning sacrifice for their forgiveness are condemned already because they have not believed in the name of God’s only-begotten Son, the only Savior of lost sinners!

In his first epistle, John says it this way: “And this is the record, that God hath given to us eternal life, and this life is in his Son. He that hath the Son hath life; and he that hath not the Son of God hath not life” (1 John 5:11-12).

So, if by the grace of God, you look to Jesus for forgiveness and trust that He has paid in full for all your sins, you are not condemned but have everlasting life.

If, on the other hand, you do not look to Jesus and His blood shed on the cross for the forgiveness of all your sins, you are condemned already, not because your sins are too great or because Christ did not pay in full the just punishment for your sins, but because you have not believed and placed your trust in the only-begotten Son of God, the only Savior of the world!

Dear Lord Jesus Christ, the only-begotten Son of God and Son of man, grant that I repent of my sinful ways and trust in You alone for the forgiveness of all my sins and for life everlasting, and so be saved. Amen.

[Scripture is quoted from the King James Version of the Bible.]

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“In the last day, that great day of the feast, Jesus stood and cried, saying, If any man thirst, let him come unto me, and drink. He that believeth on me, as the scripture hath said, out of his belly shall flow rivers of living water. (But this spake he of the Spirit, which they that believe on him should receive: for the Holy Ghost was not yet given; because that Jesus was not yet glorified.)” John 7:37-39

We think little of the importance and need for water. We just turn on the faucet, and water flows. It wasn’t so in Bible times, especially in the arid regions of the Middle East. Water was a precious commodity, and obtaining all the water needed was a continual task and concern.

Think of the Israelites in the wilderness (Exodus 17). They had no water to drink and thirsted. They complained against Moses, accusing him of bringing them out into the wilderness to die of thirst. God commanded Moses to strike the rock with his rod and water gushed forth, meeting the needs of God’s people. And the Bible tells us that God provided water for the people from the rock on more than one occasion (cf. Num. 20:8ff.; Deut. 8:15).

Now, it was the Feast of Tabernacles, the last day of that great feast in which the people dwelt in tabernacles to remind them of their living in tents in the wilderness for 40 years. On each day of the feast, the priests drew out a vessel of water from the Pool of Siloam, and the people sang psalms as they returned to the temple to pour out the water into a basin there on the side of the altar — a reminder that God had given them water from the rock in the wilderness.

Then, on the last day of the feast, Jesus cried out in the temple, “If any man thirst, let him come unto me, and drink. He that believeth on me, as the scripture hath said, out of his belly shall flow rivers of living water.”

That rock in the wilderness pointed to Jesus Christ. As God satisfied the thirst of His people in the wilderness with water from the rock, so Christ offers to meet the spiritual thirst of God’s people with living water, water which continues to flow and meet all our needs and to quench the thirst of those around us as we point them to Christ, the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world by means of his sacrifice upon the cross (John 1:29).

As Jesus offered living water to the woman at the well in Samaria (John 4:10,13-14), so here He offers it to all who had come to the temple in search of God’s mercy and blessing. And, He offers it to you and to me, as well!

How does Jesus quench our thirst? He offers and gives us pardon and forgiveness for all our sins when we come to Him in faith, trusting that He indeed is God’s Son and our Savior and that He has satisfied the demands of God’s law for us and suffered the full and just punishment for all our sins and is risen again (cf. Eph. 1:6-9; 1 Cor. 15:3-4; Rom. 3:21-26).

And, as John explained, when we trust in Jesus, He gives to us His Holy Spirit, who continually works through God’s Word and the comfort of Baptism and the Lord’s Supper to keep us in the true and saving faith. He convicts us of our sinfulness with God’s Law and comforts us with God’s pardon and forgiveness through the message of the Gospel, the good news of His mercy and forgiveness in Christ Jesus (cf. Isa. 55:1ff.; 12:1ff.; Matt. 11:28ff.; Acts 2:36-39; Phil. 1:6).

We are living in a spiritual wilderness. True spiritual water is scarce — we can’t find it on our own. But God has provided it for us in His Son — the Rock which follows us in this wilderness of sin and death (cf. 1 Cor. 10:4; Psalm 36:9). And in Jesus, our thirst is quenched. Our greatest need — forgiveness of sins and fellowship with God our Maker — is met. And when we come to Jesus in faith, which is in itself of the gracious working of God (cf. Eph. 2:8-9; Col. 1:12ff.; 2:12; John 6:44,63), the Holy Spirit is given to us and our spiritual thirst is continually quenched as He sanctifies and keeps us in the true faith in Christ Jesus, our Savior (Rev. 22:17)!

We come to You, O Jesus, to quench our thirsting souls.
Forgive our sins and keep us within Your flock and fold.
And grant to us Your Spirit, and may the rivers flow,
That others, too, may hear us, their Savior come to know. Amen.

[Scripture is quoted from the King James Version of the Bible.]

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“Brethren, I write no new commandment unto you, but an old commandment which ye had from the beginning. The old commandment is the word which ye have heard from the beginning. Again, a new commandment I write unto you, which thing is true in him and in you: because the darkness is past, and the true light now shineth. He that saith he is in the light, and hateth his brother, is in darkness even until now. He that loveth his brother abideth in the light, and there is none occasion of stumbling in him. But he that hateth his brother is in darkness, and walketh in darkness, and knoweth not whither he goeth, because that darkness hath blinded his eyes.” 1 John 2:7-11

“For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life” (John 3:16).

Where this love of God for lost sinners accomplishes its end and goal, sinners repent, trust in Christ Jesus for forgiveness and life and, as a fruit of their faith, love God and their fellow man.

Though “love is the fulfilling of the law” (Rom. 13:8-10; Deut. 6:4-5; Lev. 19:18), John reminds his readers of Jesus’ command to love one another. Jesus said: “A new commandment I give unto you, That ye love one another; as I have loved you, that ye also love one another. By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one to another” (John 13:34-35).

Those who walk in Jesus’ love, knowing and believing that God loves them and accepts them as His own dear children for the sake of Jesus and His atoning sacrifice on the cross, will love God and also love their fellow human beings because of God’s love for them. They will love others as Christ loved them and gave Himself for them (Rom. 5:5-8; Eph. 5:1-2).

Since the darkness brought about by sin is passing away and the true light of God’s love and mercy is shining on us whenever we hear the Gospel of God’s love and forgiveness toward us in Jesus, we have every reason to share God’s love for mankind. God loved us, and Christ died for us, so we also love others and extend to them God’s love and mercy in Christ Jesus.

Therefore, the one who says he is in the light — that He knows and trusts in Jesus who loved us and gave Himself for us — if he hates his brother, remains in darkness. He does not know or receive in faith God’s love for lost sinners. The darkness of sin has blinded his eyes so that He does not see and walk in God’s love.

On the other hand, the one who partakes of God’s love through faith in Christ and also loves others and shows mercy and forgiveness toward them walks in the light of God’s love.

God grant that we receive in faith God’s love and mercy toward us in Christ Jesus and that Christ’s love for us move us to share in His love for others.

In love, O God, You sent Your Son to suffer and die on the cross to bear our sin and punishment that we might be pardoned and given life in communion with You forevermore. Move us to grasp Your love for us in faith and extend Your love to others. We ask this for Jesus’ sake. Amen.

[Scripture is quoted from the King James Version of the Bible.]

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“For thou, Lord, art good, and ready to forgive; and plenteous in mercy unto all them that call upon thee.” Psalm 86:5

How comforting this passage is for sinners like you and me! Though we have sinned and stand condemned by God’s holy law, we can turn to the Lord God for mercy and forgiveness.

Like the father of the prodigal son (cf. Luke 15:20), our God stands ready and awaits our return to Him that He might shower upon us His grace and mercy in Jesus Christ. He stands ready with open arms for us to return to Him in repentance and faith that He might pardon our iniquity and give to us a place in this everlasting kingdom.

How can a holy and just God forgive us sinners and receive us back as His beloved children? It is because “Jesus Christ the righteous … is the propitiation for our sins: and not for ours only, but also for the sins of the whole world” (1 John 2:1-2). It is because Jesus, God’s Son and our Savior, fulfilled the righteous demands of God’s law for us and then suffered on the cross the full and just punishment for all our sins — even for the sins of the whole world — and rose again in victory on the third day!

And note that the Bible does not teach that all are already justified and forgiven because of Christ’s death and resurrection. It teaches that God, for Jesus’ sake, stands ready to forgive and to show His abundant mercy unto all who call upon Him with faith in Jesus and His atoning sacrifice.

Because of Jesus and His blood shed on the cross for the sins of the world, the Lord is good, and ready to forgive, and plenteous in mercy unto all them that call upon Him.

How comforting this is for lost sinners! Let’s repent and return to our God and Maker through faith in Christ Jesus and His cross!

Thank you, O God, for the sacrifice of Your Son in our stead and for Your readiness to forgive our sins and show to us plenteous mercy for Jesus’ sake. Amen.

[Scripture is quoted from the King James Version of the Bible.]

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