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Martin Luther On Saints, Sinners, And John 8:1-11

Martin Luther on "saints" and "sinners" and John 8:1-11 ("The Woman Caught In Adultery")...



"'The kingdom of Christ is not one of condemnation. I am not here to condemn you, but to remit the sins of those who, like you, are where death, the devil, evil consciences, accusers, and judges have come to plague them. The slogan in My kingdom is: I forgive you your sin; for in My kingdom no one is without forgiveness of sins. Therefore you, too, must have forgiveness. My kingdom must not be in disorder. All who enter it and dwell in it must be sinners. But as sinners they cannot live without the forgiveness of sins.' If I am a sinner, the matter is not ended there; the sins must be forgiven. Thus none but sinners come into this kingdom. But do not let this prompt you to say: 'Well, we will remain in sin.' No, you must learn to feel and recognize your sin. These Pharisees did not have to become sinners; they were sinners already, and they became even greater sinners when Christ uncovered their sins with the words: 'Let him who is without sin among you be the first to throw a stone at her.' A sinner is a person who feels his sin. The Pharisees, these rogues, were no sinners; but they became sinners when Christ said: 'Let him who is without sin, etc.' Now they became sinners. But they despaired and slunk away. In their arrogance they hid their sin and would not await Christ’s second statement: 'Neither do I condemn you.'  
Thus only those sinners belong in the kingdom of Christ who recognize their sin, feel it, and then catch hold of the Word of Christ spoken here: 'I do not condemn you.' These people constitute the membership of Christ’s kingdom. He admits no saint; He blows them all away; He expels from the church all who lay claim to holiness. If sinners enter, they do not remain sinners. He spreads His cloak over their sins and says: 'If you have sinned, I remit your sins and cover them.' To be sure, sin is there. But the Lord in this kingdom closes His eyes to it, covers it, forgives it, and does not impute it to the sinner. So a living saint and member of Christ stands here, made out of an adulteress who had been infested with sin but whose sin is now forgiven and covered. Even if sinners are knaves and criminals, their sins will be forgiven, as long as they feel them, repent of them, and ask God for forgiveness. If you have tasted the Law and sin, and if you know the ache of sin, then look here, and see how sweet, in comparison, the grace of God is, the grace which is offered to us in the Gospel. This is the absolution which the adulteress receives here from the Lord Christ."


As Pastor Matt Richard summarized, "Luther brings forth an amazing point. When Jesus spoke the words, 'Let anyone among you who is without sin be the first to throw a stone at her,' He was essentially leveling the playing field that no one was righteous, not even one (see Romans 3:10). Thus, they left not acknowledging their sin and the woman who was a condemned sinner remained to hear the wonderful absolution of Christ that there is no condemnation."



NOTE: Please understand that I'm not a called and ordained minister of God's Word and Sacraments. I'm a layman or just your average everyday Christian, Corporate Recruiter, Husband, Father, Friend who lives in the "City of Good Neighbors" here on the East Coast. As another Christian Blogger once wrote, "Please do not see this blog as me attempting to 'publicly teach' the faith, but view it as an informal Public Journal of sorts about my own experiences and journey, and if any of my notes here help you in any way at all, then I say, 'Praise the Lord!' but please do double check them against the Word of God and with your own Pastor." To be more specific, and relevant to the point I want to make with this disclaimer/note, please understand that I'm a relatively new convert to "Confessional Lutheranism" and one who recently escaped an American-Evangelical-Non-Denominational mindset a little more than 4 years ago now despite being a Christian my whole life. That being said, please contact me ASAP if you believe that any of my "old beliefs" seem to have crept their way back into any of the material you see published here, and especially if any of the content is inconsistent with the Bible, our Confessions, and Lutheran doctrine in general (in other words, if it's not consistent with God's Word, which our Confessions merely summarize and repeatedly point us back to over and over again) so that I can not only correct those errors immediately and not lead any of His little ones astray (James 3:1), but repent of my sin and learn the whole truth myself. With that in mind, please be aware that you might also discover that some of the earlier/older pieces I wrote for this blog back in 2013 definitely fall into that "Old Evangelical Adam" category (and they don't have a disclaimer like this) since I was a "Lutheran-In-Name-Only" at the time and was completely oblivious to the fact that a Christian "Book of Concord" even existed (Small/Large Catechism? What's that!?!). This knowledge of the Lutheran basics was completely foreign to me even though I was baptized, confirmed, and married in an LCMS church! So, there are some entries that are a little "out there" so-to-speak since the subject matter was also heavily influenced by those old beliefs of mine. I know that now and I'm still learning. Anyway, I decided to leave those published posts up on this website and in cyberspace only because they are not blasphemous/heretical, because I now have this disclaimer, and only to demonstrate the continuing work of Christ and the Holy Spirit in my life (Hebrews 12:2; Philippians 1:6). Most importantly, please know that any time I engage in commenting on and/or interpreting a specific portion of the holy Scriptures, it will always closely follow the verse-by-verse footnotes from my Lutheran Study Bible and/or include references to the Book of Concord unless otherwise noted. Typically, I will defer to what other Lutheran Pastors both past and present have already preached and taught about such passages since they are the called and ordained under-shepherds of our souls here on earth. Finally, I'm going to apologize ahead of time for the length of most entries (this disclaimer/note is a perfect example of what I mean! haha). I'm well aware that blogs should be short, sweet, and to the point, but I've never been one to follow the rules when it comes to writing. Besides, this website is more like a "Christian Dude's Diary" in the sense that everything I write about and share publicly isn't always what's "popular" or "#trending" at the time, but is instead all the things that I'm studying myself at the moment. For better or for worse, these posts tend to be much longer than most blog entries you'll find elsewhere only because I try to pack as much info as possible into a single piece so that I can refer to it again and again over time if I need to (and so that it can be a valuable resource for others -- if possible, a "One-Stop-Shop" of sorts). Thank you for stopping by and thank you in advance for your time, help, and understanding. Feel free to comment/email me at any time. Grace and peace to you and yours!

About JKR

Christian. Husband. Father. Friend.

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Thank you for visiting A Lutheran Layman! Please feel free to leave a comment or a question since we do not exercise censorship. We've seen a similar policy with other blogs and it's worth repeating: Please act as if you're a guest in my home, and we'll get along just fine. I think anyone would agree that the kind of back-and-forth that is characteristic of blogs/chat forums and social media is becoming tiresome for all of us. Still, we should confess, edify, and love (and contend and defend when needed). Bottom line? Search the Scriptures! Apply Acts 17:11 to anything and everything you find here and, if you do happen to disagree with something you find here (which is certainly ok), or think I'm "irresponsible" and "wrong" for writing it, then please refute my position by supporting yours with Scripture and/or the Confessions. I don't think that's an unreasonable request, especially for those who identify themselves as "Christians" here, right? Besides, Proverbs 27:17 tells us "Iron sharpens iron, and one man sharpens another" and 2 Timothy 3:16 says, "all Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness." If you have an opinion that's great, I welcome it, but try to support it using God's Word. I mean, if the goal here is to help us all arrive at the truth of God's Word (myself included), then it should be easy to follow through on this one simple request (I'm talking to all you "Anonymous" visitors out there). Grace and peace to you and yours!

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