John Message #25 “Forgiveness Before the Cross” Ed Miller, June 5, 2024

Listen to the audio above while following along in the transcript below which is also available for download from

Welcome to our study in the gospel of John, but not of the gospel of John.  We’re here to see the Lord Jesus.  I want to share this verse, Psalm 24:7, “Lift up your heads oh gates and be lifted up oh ancient doors and the King of Glory may come in.”  Later it says, “Who is this King of Glory?  He’s the Lord strong and mighty, the Lord mighty in battle.  Who is this King of Glory?  The Lord of Hosts; He is the King of Glory.”  I’m sure that psalm is a psalm describing the ascension of our Lord when He went up to heaven, but there is a principle there.  So, I’m going to ask you to open the ancient doors and lift up the gates and let Him in, and the Lord will come in, the Lord strong and mighty will come in; the Lord of Hosts will come in.  So, let’s lift up our own internal gates and open wide the doors and have our Lord come in.  With that, let’s bow in prayer.

Heavenly Father, we thank You for the privilege we have to meet like this in this place, and we just ask You, Lord, to point our hearts again in a fresh way to the Lord Jesus.  Lord, we have Your light, Your indwelling Spirit, and we know it’s always Your pleasure and Your ministry to show us a revelation of Jesus.  So, we commit this little meditation unto You and thank You in advance that You are going to point us in the right direction because we claim it in the matchless name of Jesus.  Amen.

We welcome all of you, and we hope you have arranged your schedule so you can remain after and share our fellowship luncheon together.  We come to our final study.  Lord willing, in the fall we’ll pick up again, but that’s in His hands.  They say that it goes without saying, but looking to Jesus does not go without saying, so I’m going to say it.  We need to look to the Lord Jesus.  I don’t ever either myself or anybody I’m privileged to address take for granted the fact that we will look to the Lord.  Make it an effort to focus on Him.  We gather here in this place to see the Lord Jesus week after week, and our goal is not to learn more about John.  We’re in John 8 but the goal is not to master the facts of John 8.  We’re trusting the indwelling Holy Spirit to unveil in a fresh way the Lord Jesus to our hearts.  Except to remind you of that, that we gather to behold the Lord, I think I’m going to shorten the review this morning.  We need to get to John 8:12-58, and we’re never going to finish that; we’re just going to, in a cursory way, just look at it, but I want to make an observation from the last session, and then we’ll look at chapter 8.

When we closed last week, we were looking at the revelation of our Lord Jesus in terms of that woman who was taken in adultery, and we focused on two revelations of our Lord Jesus—John 8:7, “And when they persisted in asking Him, He straightened up and said to them, ‘He who is without sin among you, let him be the first to throw a stone at her,’” and quite apart from the story itself, our Lord Jesus was the only One qualified to throw a stone; “He who is without sin, let him throw the first stone.”  So, our first revelation was that the only One qualified to judge, the only One qualified to condemn is our Lord Jesus.”  And then in John 8:11, she said, “No one, Lord.”  That was in answer to the question, “Are there none that condemn you?”  She said, “No one, Lord,” and Jesus said, “I do not condemn you either.  Go; from now on go and sin no more.”  When He says, “I do not condemn you either,” it sounds like He’s doing the same thing they did.  They didn’t condemn and He doesn’t either, but that’s not the fact.  What Jesus did was different than what they did.  The religious leaders didn’t condemn her, but they could not forgive her.  In fact, they themselves said in Mark 2:7, “Why does this man speak that way?  He’s blaspheming.  Who can forgive sins but God only, but God alone?”  They walked away condemned in their own conscience, but they didn’t forgive her.  But our Lord Jesus when He said, “Neither do I condemn you,” He was saying, “I forgive.”  So, the double revelation of the Lord is that He’s the only One that can condemn, and because He’s God, He’s the only One that can forgive.

We closed our lesson reminding you of the precious verse in Romans 8:1, “There is therefore now no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus.”  Blessed are those who can enter into the reality of that word, and not live in condemnation.  We looked at the story of the woman taken in adultery, and that story introduced us to a subject, an issue that some people have a struggle with.  When we closed, I suggested that we’re going to have just a brief look at what is a theological problem for some.  I don’t think it should be a theological problem, but for some it is. 

Since Jesus forgave the sin of that woman taken in adultery, and if fact, forgave others in the New Testament, the question comes, “What right did He have to forgive sin before the cross?”  For example, remember the paralytic, that his friends let down through the ceiling to the feet of Christ?  Mark 2:5, “Jesus, seeing their faith, said to the paralytic, ‘Son, your sins are forgiven.’  But some of the scribes sitting there and reasoning in their hearts, ‘Why does this man speak that way?  He’s blaspheming.  Who can forgive sin but God alone?’”  Well, of course, that’s no problem because He IS God; that wasn’t blasphemy for Him.  But still, the cross was in front of them.  He had not yet shed His blood on the cross.  The Bible says that without the shedding of blood there is no remission.  So, how could He forgive sin before the cross? 

As Mike pointed out last week, it’s a larger question because it includes not only New Testament sinners but all of the Old Testament saints; they’re all before the cross.  David is quoted in Romans 4:6, “Just as David speaks of the blessing on the man to whom God credits righteousness apart from works, ‘Blessed are those whose lawless deeds have been forgiven, and whose sins have been covered.  Blessed is the man whose sin the Lord will not take into account.’” 

One day a couple of years ago a brother was very troubled, and he came to me and asked me about a certain verse, Romans 10:9, “If you confess with your mouth Jesus as Lord, and believe in your heart God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved.”  His problem was that if you have to believe that God raised Jesus from the dead before you could be saved, how could anybody in the Old Testament be saved, because Christ hadn’t died and He hadn’t been raised from the dead, so that was his trouble.  How can God forgive sin? 

I’m going to attempt to answer that question, “How could there be forgiveness before the cross and the resurrection of Christ?”  Here is how I’d like to look at it, step by step.  How do some, even respectable Bible teachers, approach this question?  We’re not the first one to address this question.  Right away I want to rule out those who say, “God has two plans of salvation.  He had a plan for those in the Old Testament, and He has a different plan for those in the New Testament.”  Some say that the New Testament sinner is saved by grace and through faith, but in the Old Testament they were saved by adhering to the covenants—The Abrahamic covenant and the David covenant and the covenant given to Moses, and so on, by keeping the Law, by obeying the Law.  If they were obeying the moral Law and the ceremonial Law and the civil Law, and if they had their sons circumcised and if they kept the Sabbath faithfully and if they tithed and went to all of the feasts and celebrated all of the sacrifices, then that’s salvation.  Someone would say, “But what if they blew it, what if they failed?”  They said that the Old Testament method is repentance.  If they said, “I’m sorry,” then God would forgive them, and they would pick up pieces and start again, and so on.

We know that’s not true.  Just listen to Galatians 2:16, “Knowing that a man is not justified by the works of the Law, but through faith in Christ Jesus.  Even we believed in Christ Jesus, so we may be justified by faith in Christ, and not by the works of the Law.  Since by the works of the Law no flesh will be justified.”  No gentile flesh and no circumcised flesh—no flesh will be justified by Law-keeping.  If God had two plans of salvation, that would not be a change in dispensation.  Dispensation is that God does something one time this way and another time another way.  That would be a change in God Himself, and God does not change.  Malachi 3:6, “I the Lord do not change.”  Hebrews 13:8, “Jesus Christ the same yesterday, today and forever.”  There is only one salvation.  God didn’t deal with the Jews one way and then with the gentiles another way.  There are not two plans of salvation.

Some say it’s not God’s plan that’s the problem but it’s understanding forgiveness.  They say that forgiveness in the Old Testament was different than forgiveness in the New Testament.  You’ve probably heard the expression the Hebrew “Yom Kippur”.  That’s the Day of Atonement, and the word “Kippur” means “covering”.  So, they say that in the Old Testament their sins were not forgiven; they were just covered, and they weren’t washed away.  God just covered them until Jesus died and then retroactively, they were forgiven.  Hebrew 10:4, “It’s impossible for the blood of bulls and goats to take away sin.”  They said, “They weren’t forgiven; their sins were just covered, and God winked at it and looked passed it.”  Is that the teaching of the Old Testament?  Were their sins just covered or were they forgiven like yours are forgiven, like mine are forgiven?  I’m going to quote a few verses and let you decide for yourself.  Isaiah 1:18, “’Come now, and let’s reason together,’ says the Lord. ‘Though your sins are as scarlet, they shall be as white as snow, though they are red like crimson, they will be like wool.’”  Is that just a covering or is that a forgiveness?   Listen to Psalm 103:12, “As far as the east is from the west, so far has He removed our transgressions from us.”  Are they covered or are they removed?  You know, there’s no east pole; I think you know that.  And there’s no west pole.  There’s a north pole and there’s a south pole.  So, if I started going north and I never changed direction, it wouldn’t be long, without changing direction, that I’d be going south, without changing direction.  But because there is no east pole I can go east forever and ever and ever.  So far from the east and the west has He removed our transgressions from us.  I suggest that’s forgiveness.  Micah 7:19, “He’ll tread our iniquities under foot, yes, You will cast all their sin into the depths of the sea.”  Well, I suppose that’s a covering, your sins in the depths of the sea, but covering just means out of sight, out of God’s sight and out of your sight.  We already referred to Romans 4 quoting David where he said, “Blessed are those whose sins have been forgiven and whose sin the Lord will not take into account.”  But what’s the basis for that? 

Forgiveness was in the Old Testament; forgiveness is in the New, before the cross, before the shedding of blood.  On what basis, on what ground could God forgive?  He did; we read that He did, but on what ground?  Old Testament saints were every bit as forgiven as you are forgiven, every bit as forgiven as any sinner who comes to Christ is forgiven.  How can He forgive without the shedding of blood?  Let me give the simple answer, and then prove it.  The simple answer is that He can’t, He can’t forgive without the shedding of blood.  I’ll narrow it even more; not only must there be the shedding of blood, there must be the shedding of His blood in order to have forgiveness.

Let me give you an example.  I’m going to tell you something you can do that God can’t do.  Listen up.  If you sin against me or if I sin against you, either one of us can put the hand on the shoulder and say, “Alright, I forgive you; let bygones be bygones and let’s bury the hatchet, and let’s start again.  I forgive you.”  God can’t put His hand on your shoulder, no matter how much He loves you, and just say, “Alright, alright, let’s start again; I forgive you.”  God can’t do that.  Sin is terrible because all sin is against God, and God is infinite.  That’s why there is no such thing as a little sin.  All sin is against God, and because all sin is against God, all sin needs to be punished, and since it’s against an eternal God, it demands an eternal wage, an eternal punishment.  I love Psalm 130:3&4, “If you, Lord, should mark iniquities, oh Lord, who could stand?  But there’s forgiveness with You, that You may be feared.”  I want you to focus on that ending, “That you may be feared.”  Naturally, we would think it would say, “There’s forgiveness with you, that You may be loved.”  It doesn’t say, “That You may be loved.”  “There is forgiveness with You that You may be thanked.”  It doesn’t say that.  It doesn’t say that we can presume, because God is love He’s going to forgive us.  That’s what one would think.  But it says that there is forgiveness, that You may be revered, that You may be worshipped, that You may be adored.”  It’s because God can’t do what we can do.  Listen to Exodus 34:7, “The Lord God, compassionate, gracious, slow to anger, abounding in lovingkindness and truth, who keeps lovingkindness for thousands, who forgives iniquity, transgression and sin, yet He will by no means leave the guilty unpunished.”  God can’t forgive sin until it’s paid for.  There must be a penalty; He cannot leave sin unpunished.

When I was at Bible school they attempted to explain it this way.  They said that in the Old Testament they looked forward to the cross and we look backward to the cross.  That’s sounds clever but that’s not accurate.  In the Old Testament they did not look forward to the cross.  A good example of that is Peter.  Matthew 16:22, “Peter took Him aside and began to rebuke Him, ‘God forbid it, Lord.  This shall never happen to You.’”  Was Peter looking forward to the cross?  He’s trying to prevent it; he’s not looking forward to the cross.  That’s the opposite of looking forward to the cross.  Just so, sinners after the cross, you didn’t get saved by looking back.  I didn’t get saved by looking back.  Now there was a looking forward, but it wasn’t a sinner that looked forward; it was the sacrifice that looked forward to the cross; it was the animal blood that was shed on Jewish altars, and that looked forward to the cross, all of the ceremonies and all of the feasts and all of the sacrifices and the priesthood and the tabernacle and the temple and all of the types, that all looked forward, but the sinner didn’t look forward.  What did he do?  What did the sinner do?  Same thing we do; they come by hearing, hearing by the word of the Lord.  They had to hear the word and their messengers were priests and prophets, and they listened, and they heard, and they believed.  They didn’t look forward or back; they looked up.  They looked up to a living God who said that if you put your hand on the head of that sacrifice your sin will be transferred, and the innocence of the lamb would be…  It’s a picture, and they believe God, the same way you believe God.

In 1958 when I first heard the gospel with understanding, a messenger came to me and told me that Christ died for my sin, and I believed God.  I didn’t look backward to the cross; I looked up.  He died for me, and I believed it, and by looking up they were saved.  God revealed Himself to their hearts through those sacrifices and ceremonies and feasts and all of the pictures, and so on.  They look forward to the cross.

The animals were just a small picture of the real Lamb of God, our Lord Jesus.  I’ve heard people say, “Boy, I’m so thankful today that I’m not under the sacrificial system.”  Think again; you are under the sacrificial system.  You aren’t offered pictures, but you are offered the reality.  We have to hold Jesus up.  It’s the reality, and not just the picture. 

Let me show you the clear basis on which God could forgive those who looked up in simple faith before our Lord Jesus actually went to the cross.  Revelation 13:8, “All those that dwell upon the earth shall worship Him whose names are not written in the Book of Life of the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world.”  “The Lamb slain from the foundation of the world.”  And 1 Peter 1:20-21 teaches the same thing, “In eternity past in the mind and in the heart and in the purposes of God, the Lord Jesus was already crucified.”  When we read about the woman caught in adultery, God the Father, the Trinity, because Jesus had already been slain in eternity past, that woman was washed by the precious blood of the Lord Jesus.  When David cried out for forgiveness for his sin against Bethsheba and against Uriah, he confessed against “Thee and Thee only have I sinned”.  Because Christ had died in eternity past in the mind of God, he could be forgiven.

The syntax of the original language is not the same as English.  There was such a thing called the prophetic perfect tense.  What is the prophetic perfect tense?  Let me give you a couple of examples and then I’ll tell you what it is.  John 17:4, this is our Lord Jesus in His high priestly prayer, “I glorified You on earth, having accomplished the work you’ve given Me to do.”  KJV says, “Having finished the work.”  Now, He hadn’t been to the cross.  How could he say, “I’ve finished the work”?  We know on the cross He said, “It is finished.”  This is before the cross.  He looked up into the face of His holy Father God, and He said, “I’ve finished it; I’ve accomplished it; it’s done.”  He spoke in the past tense, but it was going to be fulfilled in the future tense; that’s called the prophetic perfect.  When you say something in the past, it’s as good as done, and therefore we can count on it.  I can say of a project that I’m doing, “It will be done.  I’ll try to get to it or Lillian will finish it.”  I can say it will be done, but I can’t say when all the pieces of wood are on the ground, “Look at my project, it’s done.”  But God could.  In the New Testament and the Old Testament that’s how they did it.  Because He was already crucified before the foundation of the earth; it’s as good as done.

There’s a precious verse that uses the prophetic perfect tense, and it applies to you and me.  I’m talking about Romans 8:29&30, “Those whom He foreknew He also predestined to become conformed to the image of His Son.  These whom He predestined He also called.  These whom He called He also justified.  These whom He justified He also glorified.”  Glorified is done.  You say, “It’s not done, yet.”  I look at my life and I say, “I know He called me, and I know I’m forgiven, and I know I’m justified, but am I glorified already?”  I don’t think so.  Except in one sense; God uses the prophetic perfect tense and says, “You are already glorified.” 

Many of you know Sharon Dukes and she is now in glory.  But even she is waiting for her glorified body; that’s still future.  Do you realize this?  It’s such precious thing.  God says that when He saved you, He also glorified you.  It’s as good as done.  What an assurance!  You’re going to be in heaven a million years and you’re not going to be anymore glorified than you are this moment.  I’m going to be in heaven a million years, and in God’s eyes it’s as good as done.  It’s over!  We are already called and justified, sanctified and glorified.  Now, it has to be worked out historically, and it will be.  Our Lord Jesus was the Lamb slain from the foundation of the earth, but then it had to be worked out historically.  But based on what was true in the heart, mind and purpose of God, He could say to a sinner, “I forgive you,” because that sin was paid for.  Jesus’ blood, even in eternity past, was already counted in its preciousness and its value.  God’s people are basically one in every age and generation.  This division of the Jews and gentiles is all manmade.  God’s people are one.  Acts 4:12 will always be true, “There is salvation in no one else; there’s no other name under heaven that’s been given among men by which we must be saved.”  That’s always been true.  John 12:6, “Jesus said to him, ‘I am the way, the truth and the life; no one comes to the Father but through Me.’”  That’s always true.  Ephesians 2:8&9, “By grace you’ve been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it’s the gift of God and not the result of works, that no one may boast.” 

Remember our Lord Jesus prayed in the Garden of Gethsemane?  Matthew 26:39, here is what He prayed, “My Father, if it’s possible, let this cup pass from Me, yet not as I will but as Thou will.” You remember that prayer.  According to the record, Jesus went apart from the disciples into the heart of Gethsemane.  In other words, He’s alone.  When He prayed, no human ear heard that prayer.  It was just Jeus and His holy Father God, and nobody heard Him pray that.  The question is, why did the Holy Spirit record it for the whole world to know what He prayed when it was a private prayer?  I’m suggesting that it’s because Jesus always gets His prayers answered.  I don’t have any doubt about that, and He said, “If it’s possible, let this pass.”  Did it pass?  It did not.  Do you know why?  It wasn’t possible.  There’s only one plan of salvation, and that’s through our precious Lord Jesus Christ.  There’s only one forgiveness and that’s by the precious blood of Christ, and whether it was the Lamb slain in eternity past or worked out in history, everybody in every age gets saved the same way, not looking forward and not looking back but looking up in simple faith to a God who promised if we would trust, then we would be forgiven.

Before I leave that topic, let me make one other observation.  Let me say it this way.  We always talk about the plan of salvation and so on.  Salvation is not a plan.  Salvation is a Person, and His name is Jesus.  You remember the story of Mary and Joseph when they took Jesus the baby to be circumcised in the temple, and there was a man there and his name was Simeon?  What a beautiful picture.  Mary handed that baby to Simeon, Luke 2:29 and here is what Simeon said, “Now Lord, You are releasing Your bondservant to depart in peace according to Your word, for My eyes have seen Your salvation.”  Simeon looked into the eyes of that little baby, and he said, “That’s it; I’m ready to die and I’m ready to go to heaven now because I’ve seen Your salvation.”  Salvation is a Person; it’s our Lord Jesus Christ.  Sometimes we think that salvation is such a difficult thing, “I’m trying to be a Christian and I’m struggling,” and all that kind of thing.  Salvation will never be more difficult than holding a little baby in your arms.  That’s what Simeon did; he held a little baby and said, “I’ve seen salvation and I’m ready to be released.  Take me to heaven.  There’s nothing else.”  Isaiah 12:2, “Behold, God is my salvation; I’ll trust and not be afraid.  The Lord is my strength and song; He has become my salvation.” 

We’ll leave that.  It’s presented to my entire satisfaction.  Anyway, that’s how He could forgive before the cross.  Let’s go to chapter 8; this is just a cursory look and we’ll pick it up in the fall.  That emphasis that we’ve been tracing, in other words, rejection, from chapter 5 on the rejection grows.  It gets deeper and deeper and deeper and more subtle but deeper with every chapter and every story.  Just by way of application, the Lord Jesus in His life and ministry, was rejected, rejected, rejected until it reached its climax at the cross.  He now lives in your heart; it’s the same Jesus.  It’s a new body; He’s got you, now, and He’s not in His incarnate body; He has you.  Now He’s in your heart.  Don’t expect anything but rejection, rejection, rejection; He went to the cross and He’s going to do it again in you and in me.  We see that in John; it’s going to develop.

It started in John 5:16 where it is spelled out, “For this reason the Jews were persecuting Jesus, because He was doing these things on the Sabbath,” that’s when he healed that lame man.  Clearly, there was great opposition, but now it’s growing.  Chapter 7:32, “The Pharisees heard the crowd muttering these things, and the chief priests and Pharisees sent officers to seize Him.”  That word in the original “seize Him” is “to take Him by force, grab Him, pull Him and drag Him to the court”.  I like John 7:44, “Some of them wanted to seize Him but no one laid a hand on Him.”  John 8:20 says why, “These words He spoke in the treasury as He taught in the temple; no one seized Him because His hour had not yet come.”  God is in charge of all of this.  Even in chapter 8:6, “They were saying this testing Him, so that they might have grounds for accusing Him.”  All through now the opposition is going to grow.  Chapter 8:40, “’As it is,’ Jesus says, ‘you’re seeking to kill Me.’”  It’s getting severe, and how does the chapter end in verse 59, “Therefore, they picked up stones to throw at Him.  Jesus hid Himself and went out of the temple.”  The chapter begins with the religious leaders trying to stone somebody.  The chapter ends with the religious leaders trying to stone somebody.  Two times in this chapter, by the miracle of God, stoning was averted.

Every story is going to reveal from now on the increased hatred of the Jews against Jesus, God’s Messiah.  Lord willing, we’ll look more closely at that in the fall.  I want to introduce chapter 12-58 by this verse, verse 15, “You judge according to the flesh; I’m not judging anyone.”  We trace that all the way through from the beginning, that they never got spiritual things; it was always seeing with the eyes of the flesh and trying to comprehend, “My Father in heaven,” “We know Your Father, and we know Mary.”  “You must be born again.”  “Oh, how can I go a second time into my mother’s womb.”  Every one is thinking on the level of earth.  “Once again, you judge according to the flesh.”  They never had faith.  You believe in a Spirit; you believe in a soul; you believe in angels; you believe in God; you believe in heaven.  We’ve never seen any of those things; it’s all by faith, and that’s how we believe it.

Let me show you how that fleshly approach, judging according to the flesh, put our Lord Jesus in an impossible situation.  They charged him in verse 13, “The Pharisees said to Him, ‘You are testifying about Yourself, and Your testimony is not true.’”  Why did they say that?  Because of verses like Deuteronomy 19:15, and there are other verses, look at the last part, “On the evidence of two or three witnesses, a matter shall be confirmed.”  Now, what was Christ testifying?  Well, in verse 12 He said, “I am the light of the world.”  That was His testimony.  And in verse 26, “He who sent Me is true, and the things which I heard from Him, these I speak to the world.”  He’s testifying that He was up in heaven, and God the Father sent Him to come to earth, and that was what His testimony was.  Verse 23, “He was saying to them, ‘You are from below and I am from above; you’re of this world and I’m not of this world.’”  The Jews heard His claims, “You’re the light of the world?  You were up in heaven?  Your Father sent You?  You came to earth from God?  You are the bread of heaven?  The Bible says that You need at least two witnesses of that.  Okay, so call Your witnesses and prove it.  Your testimony by itself is no good; you need at least two and maybe more.  Moses said he had to have two; prove it.”

Well, great day, He’s up there living with the Father, the Father sends, He comes and He’s the bread from heaven, okay, where are your eye witnesses?  Prove it!  What were they demanding?  Since they’re on the earth, they aren’t going to find an eyewitness. So, Jesus says, “Alright, you want two witnesses.”  Look at verse 17, “Even in your Law it has been written that the testimony of two men is true.  I am He who testifies about Myself, and the Father who sent Me testifies.”  There are your two witnesses. “You want two witnesses?  I’m one and My Father is one.”  Nobody else was there.  How in the world are you going to get two witnesses to prove that He was up there and sent by God?  So, He gives those two witnesses.  Of course, as you would expect, they rejected that testimony.  John 8:14, “Jesus answered and said, ‘Even if I testify about Myself, My testimony is true.  I know where I came from and where I’m going.  You don’t know where I came from and where I’m going.  You can’t be a witness; I’m a witness; I was there; I AM Him; I’m the truth.”  And then He added in verse 16, “Even if I do judge, My judgment is true; I’m not alone in it, but I and the Father who sent Me.” 

I love, concerning this truth, these two verses from the book of Revelation, Revelation 1:5, He’s called, “Jesus Christ, the faithful witness.”  Isn’t that awesome?  You can trust Him.  He’s the faithful witness.  And then in Revelation 19:11, the rider on the white horse, “He who sat on it is called faithful and true.”  He’s the faithful witness, faithful and true.  But our Lord Jesus, to accommodate these people who are demanding an eyewitness when it’s not possible, He said, “Alright, I’m going to humble Myself; I’m going to give you two witnesses.  Let’s see if you believe them.”  Witness number one, John 5:39, “You search the scriptures because you think that in them you have eternal life; it is these that testify about Me.  You are unwilling to come to Me.”  “You want a witness?  How about your Bible?  How about the scriptures?  They testify of Me; there’s a witness.”  They say, “Yeah, but you need two; bring another.”  He said, “Alright,” John 5:36, “The testimony which I have is greater than the testimony of John; the works which the Father has given Me to accomplish, the very works that I do testify about Me, that the Father has sent Me.”  “You want two witnesses?  How about the Bible, and how about all My miracles?  Those are two witnesses.”  But of course, we know they didn’t accept it.  John 10:24, “The Jews gathered around and were saying, ‘How long will you keep us in suspense?  If you are the Christ, tell us plainly.’  Jesus answered them, ‘I told you, and you do not believe.  The works that I do in My Father’s name, these testify of Me.’”  “You demand two witnesses, and you’ve got it—the Bible and My miracles.  I’ll give you the real witnesses–Me and My Father because we were there, and we know.”  John 10:37, “If I do not do the works of My Father, don’t believe Me.  If I do them, though you don’t believe Me, believe the works, that you might know and understand that the Father is in Me, and I am in the Father.”  Well, you know the record; they still rejected.

Forgive me for a fast look at chapter 8; we didn’t hardly touch it.  Lord willing, we’ll pick it up in the fall, but I want to end by calling attention to a title of our Lord Jesus at the end of the chapter.  John 8:58-59, “Jesus said to them, ‘Truly, truly I say to you, before Abraham was born, I Am.’  Therefore, they picked up stones to throw at Him, but Jesus hid Himself and went out of the temple.”  They knew exactly what He meant when He said, “I AM.”  He claimed to be God Himself.  The I AM that appeared to Moses at the burning bush, and they took that as blasphemy and tried to stone Him.  We’re going to discuss that in greater detail, Lord willing, in the fall. 

For now, I want you to see a principle of life in that title “I AM”.  Now, I’m going to give the full expression of it in Exodus 3:14, “I AM who I AM.”  God is not the only One to say those words, “I AM who I AM.”  What did He mean when he said, “I AM who I AM.”?  The answer is He is saying, “I’m God, and I can’t be anybody else, and every time I appear, I’m God, and I’ll give you a revelation—the Bible.  Everything the Bible says about God, every title and every description, Jesus said, “I AM; I AM everything the Bible says I am; I AM.”  That’s the revelation. 

I said that God was not the only One to say, “I AM that I AM.”  Who else said it?  The answer is the Apostle Paul.  The Apostle Paul said, “I AM that I AM,” but 1 Corinthians 15:10, here is how he said, it, “By the grace of God, I AM what I AM.”  That’s a big difference.  He prefaced it with the words, “By the grace of God.”  In other words, everything this Bible says about Jesus, he is, but the Bible also says a lot of things about you.  The Bible also says a lot of things about me.  Everything the Bible says about me, by the grace of God, I am.  For example, the Bible says, “You are dead to sin and alive to God.”  By the grace of God, you can enjoy that.  The Bible says, “You are seated with Him in heavenly places.”  By the grace of God you can be what God says you are.  Gods says, “He always leads you in triumph.”  By the grace of God, you can enjoy that truth.  The Bible says that you should always be at peace and never be anxious.  That’s what God says about you.  By the grace of God, you can be everything the Bible says about you.  The Bible calls you a co-heir with Christ.  The Bible calls you an overcomer.  The Bible calls you perfectly righteous. (Lex loves that truth).  It’s righteous in the righteousness of Christ.  Exactly right!  The Bible says that you are His temple, His dwelling place.  Those are just a few of things.  Everything the Bible says about Jesus, He IS!  The Bible says a lot about you.  Are you everything the Bible says about you? 

James, the epistle of James, he makes this wonderful comment.  He looks at the Bible and says, “You know, that’s like a mirror, because if I look in the Bible, I can see what I look like; I can see who I am.”  Then he made this comment, James 1:24, “Once he’s looked at himself and gone away, he has immediately forgotten what kind of a person he was.”  If you don’t keep looking at who you are, you are going to forget who you are.  If I don’t keep looking at who I am, I’m going to forget who I am.  Jesus says, “I AM that I AM.  Everything the Bible says about Me, I am.”  The Apostle Paul representing us said, “By the grace of God, I AM what I Am.”  Everything the Bible says about me, but we’ve got to keep our eyes on Christ.  Take your eyes off the Lord, and you are going to forget who you are.  If I take my eyes off the Lord, it goes away.  I come back to the mirror and say, “Oh, that’s who I am!”  You don’t know who you are apart from the scriptures.  We’ll close there.

Let’s bow together.

Heavenly Father, thank You for Your word, and not what think it might mean, but all that You’ve intended it to mean, you’ve inspired it to mean.  Will You work that in our heart?  Thank You, Lord, that You have revealed so clearly that there is only one way that a person can be saved; You’ve commended Your love toward us in that while we were sinners, Christ died for us.  Thank You for the blood that washes us clean, and thank You for the Lord Jesus, our salvation.  We just pray that You grace us by the grace of God that we would be who You say we are.  Work this in us, we pray.  Now Lord, we would also ask You to put Your blessing on our gathering now and our fellowship.  Thank You for the refreshments and the food that has been provided.  Just give us a rich time enjoying Christ in each other.  We ask in Jesus’ name.  Amen.