John 8

* The Pharisees and the adulteress. (1-11) Christ's discourse

with the Pharisees. (12-59)

1-11 Christ neither found fault with the law, nor excused the

prisoner's guilt; nor did he countenance the pretended zeal of

the Pharisees. Those are self-condemned who judge others, and

yet do the same thing. All who are any way called to blame the

faults of others, are especially concerned to look to

themselves, and keep themselves pure. In this matter Christ

attended to the great work about which he came into the world,

that was, to bring sinners to repentance; not to destroy, but to

save. He aimed to bring, not only the accused to repentance, by

showing her his mercy, but the prosecutors also, by showing them

their sins; they thought to insnare him, he sought to convince

and convert them. He declined to meddle with the magistrate's

office. Many crimes merit far more severe punishment than they

meet with; but we should not leave our own work, to take that

upon ourselves to which we are not called. When Christ sent her

away, it was with this caution, Go, and sin no more. Those who

help to save the life of a criminal, should help to save the

soul with the same caution. Those are truly happy, whom Christ

does not condemn. Christ's favour to us in the forgiveness of

past sins should prevail with us, Go then, and sin no more.
12-16 Christ is the Light of the world. God is light, and

Christ is the image of the invisible God. One sun enlightens the

whole world; so does one Christ, and there needs no more. What a

dark dungeon would the world be without the sun! So would it be

without Jesus, by whom light came into the world. Those who

follow Christ shall not walk in darkness. They shall not be left

without the truths which are necessary to keep them from

destroying error, and the directions in the way of duty,

necessary to keep them from condemning sin.
17-20 If we knew Christ better, we should know the Father

better. Those become vain in their imaginations concerning God,

who will not learn of Christ. Those who know not his glory and

grace, know not the Father that sent him. The time of our

departure out of the world, depends upon God. Our enemies cannot

hasten it any sooner, nor can our friends delay it any longer,

than the time appointed of the Father. Every true believer can

look up and say with pleasure, My times are in thy hand, and

better there than in my own. To all God's purposes there is a

21-29 Those that live in unbelief, are for ever undone, if they

die in unbelief. The Jews belonged to this present evil world,

but Jesus was of a heavenly and Divine nature, so that his

doctrine, kingdom, and blessings, would not suit their taste.

But the curse of the law is done away to all that submit to the

grace of the gospel. Nothing but the doctrine of Christ's grace

will be an argument powerful enough, and none but the Spirit of

Christ's grace will be an agent powerful enough, to turn us from

sin to God; and that Spirit is given, and that doctrine is

given, to work upon those only who believe in Christ. Some say,

Who is this Jesus? They allow him to have been a Prophet, an

excellent Teacher, and even more than a creature; but cannot

acknowledge him as over all, God blessed for evermore. Will not

this suffice? Jesus here answers the question. Is this to honour

him as the Father? Does this admit his being the Light of the

world, and the Life of men, one with the Father? All shall know

by their conversion, or in their condemnation, that he always

spake and did what pleased the Father, even when he claimed the

highest honours to himself.
30-36 Such power attended our Lord's words, that many were

convinced, and professed to believe in him. He encouraged them

to attend his teaching, rely on his promises, and obey his

commands, notwithstanding all temptations to evil. Thus doing,

they would be his disciples truly; and by the teaching of his

word and Spirit, they would learn where their hope and strength

lay. Christ spoke of spiritual liberty; but carnal hearts feel

no other grievances than those that molest the body, and

distress their worldly affairs. Talk to them of their liberty

and property, tell them of waste committed upon their lands, or

damage done to their houses, and they understand you very well;

but speak of the bondage of sin, captivity to Satan, and liberty

by Christ; tell of wrong done to their precious souls, and the

hazard of their eternal welfare, then you bring strange things

to their ears. Jesus plainly reminded them, that the man who

practised any sin, was, in fact, a slave to that sin, which was

the case with most of them. Christ in the gospel offers us

freedom, he has power to do this, and those whom Christ makes

free are really so. But often we see persons disputing about

liberty of every kind, while they are slaves to some sinful

37-40 Our Lord opposed the proud and vain confidence of these

Jews, showing that their descent from Abraham could not profit

those of a contrary spirit to him. Where the word of God has no

place, no good is to be expected; room is left there for all

wickedness. A sick person who turns from his physician, and will

take neither remedies nor food, is past hope of recovery. The

truth both heals and nourishes the hearts of those who receive

it. The truth taught by philosophers has not this power and

effect, but only the truth of God. Those who claim the

privileges of Abraham, must do Abraham's works; must be

strangers and sojourners in this world; keep up the worship of

God in their families, and always walk before God.
41-47 Satan prompts men to excesses by which they murder

themselves and others, while what he puts into the mind tends to

ruin men's souls. He is the great promoter of falsehood of every

kind. He is a liar, all his temptations are carried on by his

calling evil good, and good evil, and promising freedom in sin.

He is the author of all lies; whom liars resemble and obey, with

whom all liars shall have their portion for ever. The special

lusts of the devil are spiritual wickedness, the lusts of the

mind, and corrupt reasonings, pride and envy, wrath and malice,

enmity to good, and enticing others to evil. By the truth, here

understand the revealed will of God as to the salvation of men

by Jesus Christ, the truth Christ was now preaching, and which

the Jews opposed.
48-53 Observe Christ's disregard of the applause of men. those

who are dead to the praises of men can bear their contempt. God

will seek the honour of all who do not seek their own. In these

verses we have the doctrine of the everlasting happiness of

believers. We have the character of a believer; he is one that

keeps the sayings of the Lord Jesus. And the privilege of a

believer; he shall by no means see death for ever. Though now

they cannot avoid seeing death, and tasting it also, yet they

shall shortly be where it will be no more forever, #Ex 14:13|.
54-59 Christ and all that are his, depend upon God for honour.

Men may be able to dispute about God, yet may not know him. Such

as know not God, and obey not the gospel of Christ, are put

together, #2Th 1:8|. All who rightly know anything of Christ,

earnestly desire to know more of him. Those who discern the dawn

of the light of the Sun of Righteousness, wish to see his

rising. "Before Abraham was, I AM." This speaks Abraham a

creature, and our Lord the Creator; well, therefore, might he

make himself greater than Abraham. I AM, is the name of God, #Ex

3:14|; it speaks his self-existence; he is the First and the

Last, ever the same, #Re 1:8|. Thus he was not only before

Abraham, but before all worlds, #Pr 8:23; Joh 1:1|. As Mediator,

he was the appointed Messiah, long before Abraham; the Lamb

slain from the foundation of the world, #Re 13:8|. The Lord

Jesus was made of God Wisdom, Righteousness, Sanctification, and

Redemption, to Adam, and Abel, and all that lived and died by

faith in him, before Abraham. The Jews were about to stone Jesus

for blasphemy, but he withdrew; by his miraculous power he

passed through them unhurt. Let us stedfastly profess what we

know and believe concerning God; and if heirs of Abraham's

faith, we shall rejoice in looking forward to that day when the

Saviour shall appear in glory, to the confusion of his enemies,

and to complete the salvation of all who believe in him.

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