Pharisee or Publican: Which One Are You?

“But what do you think? A man had two sons, and he came to the first and said, ‘Son, go, work today in my vineyard.’ He answered and said, ‘I will not,’ but afterward he regretted it and went. Then he came to the second and said likewise. And he answered and said, ‘I go, sir,’ but he did not go. Which of the two did the will of his father?” They said to Him, “The first.” Jesus said to them, “Assuredly, I say to you that tax collectors and harlots enter the kingdom of God before you. For John came to you in the way of righteousness, and you did not believe him; but tax collectors and harlots believed him; and when you saw it, you did not afterward relent and believe him.” (Matthew 21:28–32)

This parable parallels The Parable of the Prodigal Son. The father has two sons. Just as one son repented of his wasteful life, the son in this parable will repent of his disobedience. The son that said he would obey and did not reminds us of the self-righteousness we see in the older brother of the Prodigal story. Here, one son says he will go and work in father’s vineyard but doesn’t. The other son says he won’t and he does after later changing his mind.

Jesus was aiming this parable at the hearts of the chief priests and the elders along with the tax collectors and harlots (21.23, 32). The tax collectors and harlots will enter the kingdom before the chief priests and elders. Actually, these tax collectors and harlots may enter the kingdom instead of the chief priests and elders. This fact will only change if the chief priests and scribes humble themselves and enter by grace through faith just as the tax collectors and harlots do. One group sees and feels its need while the other does not.

There are three important practical aspects to this parable: 1) God sends mankind forth to carry out His will; 2) Some promise to perform His will, fail to make good, and are rejected; 3) Others rebel against His will, later submit, and are accepted.

The Lord Jesus faced a hardened group of chief priests and elders. A full-on assault against them would simply drive them away. The Lord Jesus chose an indirect method of attack. These men confronted Jesus by asking, “By what authority are You doing these things? And who gave You this authority?” (Matthew 21.23). Jesus answered their questions with questions of His own, “The baptism of John – where was it from? From heaven or from men” (Matthew 21.24-25)? They were in a quandary. John was counted as a prophet. If they answered from men, then they would be at odds with the populace who loved John. If they answered from heaven, it is obvious what Jesus would next ask: “Why then did you not believe him” (Matthew 21.25)?

The chief priests and elders wouldn’t give Jesus a direct answer to His question. So Jesus, knowing the hardness of the men didn’t directly answer them. But He did answer them. That’s what our parable is all about.

The Conduct of the Two Sons

The tax-collectors and harlots are represented by the son who refused to comply with the father’s command to go out and work in the field. Later reflection brought the son to his senses and he went. When John the Baptist preached his message of repentance, many who heard it were obvious sinners. They had no hope. They had shown contempt for the Word of God. When facing the fact that they were lost and undone, John preached a message of hope and mercy. When they submitted to the baptism of John, they did so with grateful, sincere hearts.

The chief priests and the elders had pledged obedience to the Father’s will, but didn’t do the work assigned to them. They fulfilled a religious agenda; just not God’s agenda! These men had their phylacteries and religious robes …they feigned respect for God but only to be seen of men. They thought in their self-righteousness that if anyone was prized by God among men, it was them. They wouldn’t work in the Father’s vineyard because they were too busy with their own vineyard. Are you sure you’re not putting together your own vineyard?

Both sons are surely representative of all mankind. We go out and speak with people and find that at first blush they could care less about God’s sovereignty and authority over their lives. They say with the psalmist, “With our tongue we will prevail; our lips are our own; who is lord over us” (Psalm 12.4)? But then God’s grace convinces them of their sin. They seek for mercy and hope in the sacrifice of the Lord Jesus Christ, which gives them both. Others are serious-minded about religious things. They are outwardly moral and say that they respect and obey the Word of God. And yet theirs is a form of godliness with no inner power or substance. They turn away from external sinfulness and run toward external self-righteousness. It will be a rude awakening for the self-righteous to learn that in Christ they find all their righteousness. Only sin-sick people need the Great Physician.

The first son who refused to obey his father certainly had terrible character. But repentance transformed his character. Obedience coming from the heart of gratitude pleases the Father. The second son was only a hypocrite …devoid of any kind of character at all. His promise to obey just strengthened his worthless and hypocritical heart. This leads us to three conclusions about this parable:

1.  Many religious people will be confirmed in their self-righteousness and enter Hell.

We must be thankful that the populace around us doesn’t manifest its godless heart to the degree that it did in the days of Noah. It will always be better to live in a moral society rather than an immoral one. However, the big danger for the moral, self-righteous man is that he never comes to the end of himself. I am thankful that I don’t have a brothel down the street from my house. Yet in the final sum of things, there is no difference between the customers inside of a brothel and the self-righteous congregants inside of a Baptist, Catholic, or Mormon Church. Either Christ is sufficient or He is not; there is no in-between. It’s easier to preach the Gospel to people who truly believe they are lost. They do not have to be convinced of their need. What they find incredulous is that they would be able to receive grace. But a self-righteous generation is “pure in its own eyes, yet is not washed from its filthiness” (Proverbs 30.12).

2.  Godliness is determined inside-out.

Godliness is indeterminable by what a person says. Godliness works itself in and through a person. The end result is obedience and fulfilling the Father’s will. Many people have agendas. They say, “I go, sir!” But do they really go? It’s like a boss asking an employee to fulfill certain job requirements, but he has his own agenda for his job. You can say you’re loyal to Christ all you want. You can say that you serve the Lord all you want. The real test is what you do and the spirit in which you do it. Do your works deny Christ when you insist you live for Christ? Those humbled and obedient are right before God. All the rest are hypocrites; they are like the deceitful, self-righteous son. Jesus said, “Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father in heaven.” (Matthew 7:21)

3.  Many ungodly people will repent of their sinfulness and enter Heaven.

Those who turn from their sinfulness and self-righteousness find hope at the foot of the cross. God has a vineyard in which you are able to work. Access that vineyard by grace through faith. Do that which God purposed you to do even before time began. You may think that you cannot serve God because of the sin of your past. Let me remind you that that too is self-righteousness. Do you really think that if you lived a certain way in the past that that would qualify you for Heaven or for service to God? None of us are righteous. All of us are insufficient to live godly lives. Our default position is ungodly. God “will be merciful to their unrighteousness, and their sins and their lawless deeds [He] will remember no more” (Hebrews 8.12). Once we are justified not only do we access Heaven one day, we have access to God today! We are accepted in the Beloved One. The very Pharisees who reject harlots will find their place in the Lake of fire which burns forever. Many long-term church-goers will burn right beside them. Still others will enter the Heaven after being saved upon the 11th hour of their lives.

Let us all go to work in the Father’s vineyard today. Let us glorify God rather than ourselves. Don’t simply say, “Lord, Lord!” but do the will of your Father in Heaven!

The Sensual Invasion

Really provocative and excellent.

Beth Cavete

The other day, I heard a beautiful worship song.  It was penned by a brilliant songwriter, known the world over.  It displayed the poignancy that brilliant songwriting does, that seemingly casual ability to hit on a tune so simple as to be unforgettable, and yet somehow so superior that most of us could never come with anything half as good.  It was gorgeous.

Its lyrics were intimate and personal, and yet so unpretentious.  They called out, “My sweet Lord, my sweet Lord…” with a humble and heartfelt yearning, real praise and a sense of adoration.  That phrase was repeated over and over, and then the yearning expanded with a real cry, “I really want to know you! I really want to be with you!  I really want to see you!”  Not much more to it, that was the bulk of the song, repeating the simple phrases of love and longing…

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Lost in Wonder and in Praise

Why is relational evangelism so effective and cold evangelism very difficult? Why do some wives exuberantly express gratitude for their husbands while others are clearly disrespectful and soured over their relationships with their husbands? Why is it easier to love some of our children while others pose quite a challenge for us? Why do some people seem so zealous and effusive when it comes to their relationships with God while others are listless and apathetic?

Psalm 57.7 records the praise of David which reached the heart of God: “My heart is steadfast, O God, my heart is steadfast; I will sing and give praise …I will awaken the dawn …For Your mercy reaches unto the heavens” (Psalm 57.7-10). Why is David effusively praising God when he is being hunted by Saul and must find refuge in a cave? The positive nature of this psalm is reinforced by the refrain found in both vv. 5 and 11: “Be exalted, O God, above the heavens; let Your glory be above all the earth” (Psalm 57.5, 11).

The Mercy and Truth of God

We learn to pray for God to be merciful to us on the basis of our dependence upon Him (Psalm 57.1). David does not depend upon his worthy hiding place in a cave. His refuge is in the shadow of God’s wings until calamities pass him by. David counts on the mercy of God wed with the truth of God (Psalm 57.3). Mercy without truth is leniency. Leniency is wed to deceit. Genuine praise is the only appropriate response to mercy which reaches into the heavens along with truth unto the clouds (Psalm 57.10).

David found a literal refuge at a temporal moment of crisis in his life. He praised God for it when he could have complained about the fact that he had to hide in the first place. David looked beyond his temporal need to see the glory of God in the mercy of God. The truth was that David deserved judgment as all sinful men do. Instead, God demonstrated mercy toward David and all mankind by sending His Son to die for us. Mercy is only possible when one understands the truth of God’s commitment to His justice. “Grace (positive blessing that we do not deserve or earn) and truth came through Jesus Christ” (John 1.17).

David trusted in the fact that God is both truthful and merciful. That led to the effusive praise we see here. It’s something that doesn’t just belong in our private prayer time. It’s a statement about our God that everyone needs to hear and see in our lives – both in word and deed! It binds us together as believers. It awakens our desire for God so that we may delight in God.

The Exaltation and Glory of God

There is only so much that one life can do to exalt and glorify God. David recognized this. So, he turned to God to exalt Himself above the heavens …to glorify Himself above all the earth. This is the spirit of Psalm 45 when the Psalmist calls upon God to ride prosperously. “Gird Your sword upon Your thigh, O Mighty One, with Your glory and Your majesty. And in Your majesty ride prosperously because of truth, humility, and righteousness; and Your right hand shall teach You awesome things” (Psalm 45.3-4).

Psalm 148 carries the same theme. The Psalmist calls all creation to praise the LORD. Angels, sun, moon, stars, the heaven of heavens, and waters above the heavens must praise Him. Sea creatures, fire, hail, snow, clouds, stormy winds, mountains, hills, fruitful trees, cedars, beasts, cattle, insects, birds, kings, people, princes, judges, young men and women, and older men and children – “Let them praise the name of the Lord, for His name alone is exalted; His glory is above the earth and heaven” (Psalm 148.13).

Our prayer time must be a praise time as well. We must not only see the glory of God in life; it ought to be our driving desire to pray for recognition and realization when it comes to the glory of God in our specific lives.

If we are to glorify God, we must reflect His character to the world at large. Many times people speak of God’s goodness in a general sense; let us be specific. How was God good in your life today? Think of what you have in Christ even though you have sinned against Him numerous times. Think of how merciful He is. Think of the fact that He has drained the cup of God’s indignation toward sin and the sinner.

He has blessed you with His presence when you deserve alienation from Him. He answers your prayers daily. He provides mercy, grace, peace, access, hope, and love. He does so even when you choose to turn your back on Him. “Who is a God like You, pardoning iniquity and passing over the transgression of the remnant of His heritage? He does not retain His anger forever, because He delights in mercy.”

We must understand the mercy of God firsthand. It’s not enough to see it in the lives of others. When we see God’s mercy and truth and how they are met together in Christ, we become truly lost in wonder and in praise. We are grateful; we adore Him! We express that gratitude and adoration differently, but it is expressed. We cannot help but express it! If we love someone, we want the whole world to know it. How much more so when it comes to our relationship with God! This is what Paul means when he writes, “Now hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out in our hearts by the Holy Spirit who was given to us” (Romans 5.10). “Bless the Lord, O my soul; and all that is within me, bless His holy name! Bless the Lord, O my soul, and forget not all His benefits” (Psalm 103.1-2)!

The exaltation of God is not our duty but our privilege! But it is something so overwhelming that we look to God to be effective in expressing it. “Be exalted, O God, above the heavens; let Your glory be above all the earth” (Psalm 57.11).

Relational evangelism is much more effective because people see God’s truth along with God’s mercy as we compassionately unfold the Person and work of Jesus Christ. Wives respond favorably to husbands because they know beyond a shadow of a doubt that their husbands love them. A child becomes the apple of a parent’s eye because of the reflection of Christlikeness found in the child. Christians serve God with zeal that boils over because they are overwhelmed by the mercy of God.

You might argue, “Well, we should evangelize even when we don’t feel like it. We should endure our relationship with our wives even when they are disrespectful. We should love our children even when they are unlovely. We ought to serve God even in the midst of confusion about His providence.” But I would say that that’s the wrong approach. It doesn’t need to be that way. There does not have to be a day that goes by where we are not filled with the Spirit and lost in wonder and in praise!

Why Go to Church?

Most of us understand that the question is not, “How do I want people to remember me?” Instead, we wonder if anyone will remember us at all! I admire my wife because she has a keen interest in her ancestry. If someone offers me something about my family’s heritage, I like to hear it. But my wife will seek the information out. So, what do we want our great grandchildren to know about us? What is the one thing that they should remember about us?

David wrote, “One thing I have desired of the LORD, that will I seek: That I may dwell in the house of the LORD all the days of my life, to behold the beauty of the LORD, and to inquire in His temple …When you said, ‘Seek My face,’ my heart said to You, ‘Your face, LORD, I will seek.” (Psalm 27.4, 8)

Foundational Character

Three NT verses remind us that Abraham’s foundational character trait was belief. “Abraham believed God, and it was accounted to him for righteousness” (Romans 4.3; Galatians 3.6; James 2.23). Therefore, Abraham found strength in his dependence upon God.

James 5.11 reveals, “Indeed we count them blessed who endure. You have heard of the perseverance of Job and see the end intended by the Lord – that the Lord is very compassionate and merciful.” Job waited patiently for the Lord to vindicate him. Job found strength in his perseverance in the Lord.

Numbers 12.3 says that Moses was very humble, more than all men who were on the face of the earth. Moses found his strength in complete dependence upon the Lord to fight for him.

James 5.17 states that Elijah prayed earnestly that it would not rain; it didn’t for 3 ½ years. He prayed again and the heaven gave rain. Elijah was bold and courageous because of his witness I the dark day in which he lived. So, Elijah found strength in the courage God gave him.

But what of David? Since David wrote many of the Psalms, we know that he had a heart for God. Acts 13.22 says that God found “David, a man after My own heart, who will do all My will.” 1 Kings 14.8 says that David followed the Lord with all His heart. The hearts of future kings were often compared to David’s own heart. Many of them had hearts that were “not loyal to the LORD [their] God, as was the heart of [their] father David” (see 1 Kings 15.3). It was in the heart of David to build God a temple (2 Chronicles 6.7). David’s foundational character trait was his devotion to God. So, when we read the Psalms, we read them primarily to cultivate a heart of devotion to God. It’s not enough to find comfort in them; we must find a devotion for God in them. “One thing I have desired of the LORD, that will I seek ….to behold the beauty of the LORD …Your face, LORD, I will seek” (Psalm 27.4, 8).

One Desire

David’s one desire was to behold the beauty of the LORD, to draw close to the heart of God. “I have loved …where your glory dwells” (Psalm 26.8). David found the glory of God in the temple. Our bodies as believers are temples of the Living God. We are never exiled from God’s presence. We are never carried away from God in captivity. We have the privilege of beholding the LORD’s beauty and seeking the LORD’s face wherever we are. It is sweet to do so with other believers in church, but we have the privilege of doing so at all times and in all places.

Psalm 42 speaks of a psalmist in exile. He is not David but of the sons of Korah. His soul panted for God as a deer pants for water. He thirsted for God, the living God. He asked, “When shall I come and appear before God?” David driven into the wilderness caves longed for the presence of God in the temple once again. David desired to worship the beauty of God’s holiness. God honored this desire with great delight.

What is your one desire in life?

Jesus Christ has taught us the Great Commands: Love God supremely, tap into His love poured out in your hearts, and then love others even as you love yourself! We don’t offer blood sacrifices today. We see Jesus! He is the substance of the Old Testament shadows. His sacrifice is the keystone doctrine of all others in the church.

Believers today see the justice of God against the backdrop of Jesus Christ’s death, burial, and resurrection. This is something that Old Testament believers would have had difficulty grasping. Evidence for this is abundant. One need look no further than Jesus predicting His cross-work and resurrection on three different occasions in the Gospel of Mark. Yet it took His disciples by surprise.

We know the suffering of Jesus Christ as it is revealed in the Garden of Gethsemane. He drained the cup of God’s indignation for us each of us. The wrath of God poured upon Jesus so that the love of God should be poured out in each of our hearts. Amazing love! All of this not because we deserve it, but because He chooses to love us.

Our one desire is found in God’s love for us through the Person and work of Jesus Christ. Think of the mercy involved in the thought that the Father gave His only Son that we might not perish alone forever! “Eye has not seen, nor ear heard, nor have entered into the heart of man the things which God has prepared for those who love Him.” But God has revealed them to us through His Spirit. For the Spirit searches all things, yes, the deep things of God.” (1 Corinthians 2:9–10)

So my desire is to attend church, be baptized, and partake of the Lord’s Supper. My desire is to open the Scriptures whenever believers gather. I might behold the beauty of God on a walk in the countryside. I am able to see His beauty when I listen to a sermon online. I see His beauty in my morning devotional time. But I miss no small measure of His beauty and holiness when I forsake the assembly of believers on Sunday or Wednesday.

One Delight

David’s desire became rewarding delight. It was in the tabernacle where David inquired of the Lord. Animals were sacrificed continually in order to remind him of the destructive nature of sin. David understood that God was the God of justice and that death was the price of sin.

Yet David witnessed God’s acceptance of the sacrifices. This acceptance gave David understanding when it came to the mercy and grace of God. He surely didn’t understand mercy and grace the way we do. We see God’s mercy and grace supremely through the Person and cross-work of Jesus Christ. However, David did see God as holy and loving. He responded to the revelation God gave him. It is in this sense that David is a believer, a saint.

A proper understanding of the evil of sin and the mercy of God offers hope and courage as David worships the LORD in the beauty of holiness. David is a realist. He is not living in a fantasy world. He doesn’t have an overly optimistic view of himself.

David had a private desire for God; he also privately delighted in God. But David desired to publically identify with God and other believers in the tabernacle. That public worship was sweet to David and offered him delight that could not be found privately. David understood that the worship of God was necessarily taking place in the assembly of the saints. This was approaching God on His own terms, not on David’s terms.

This also became the great equalizer for king, wealthy landowner, and poor carpenter. That is, the king must go to the priest just like the baker. All must look to the beauty of God’s holiness and find delight while they wait upon Him.

What is your one delight in life?

All of us would agree that nothing is worth missing even a glimpse of the beauty of the Lord when we gather at church on any given Sunday. I am troubled when I am even providentially hindered from missing fellowship with believers on Sunday. When I spent weeks in the hospital and in recovery from my cancer, I was all out of sorts. That time taught me the value of church attendance. It is something we take for granted. I never ask, “How many times should we go to church in a given week?” It seems absurd for me to think of it that way. We must have more opportunities to open our mouths wide so that the Lord may fill them (Psalm 81.10).

Church prepares us for Heaven. Church lifts us up from our down-below world. Church gives us eternal perspective in an earthly, temporal context. Church isn’t about the order of service, the pastor’s view on politics or controversial theology. Church is a foretaste of Heaven. It enable the glory and pursuit of holiness in our lives. It is the place where we sing and express our gratitude coupled with joy. Church assures us of the hope of Heaven, unites us with saints of the past, and teaches us to pursue the things of the Spirit. Church will once again invite us to look up to God and pray, “Whom have I in heaven but You? And there is none upon earth that I desire besides You” (Psalm 73.25).  So, if my great grandchildren are to remember me, I’d like them to remember me as someone who was all about the church of the Lord Jesus Christ during his earthly life.

One thing I have desired of the Lord, that will I seek: that I may dwell in the house of the Lord all the days of my life, to behold the beauty of the Lord, and to inquire in His temple.

Psalm 27.4

The Debt You Cannot Pay

It’s hard to love people who feel entitled to your love. I guess you’re just supposed to be grateful to bask in the presence of one so loveable. When a person feels that he is God’s gift to the world, that person has very little to give the world. But when a person who is needy and desperate finds genuine love, that person will truly reciprocate with undying gratitude and affection.

The Lord Jesus had relationships with a self-righteous religious Pharisee named Simon and a notoriously sinful woman (see Luke 7.36-50). The Pharisee watched the woman bring a heavy heart and an alabaster flask to Jesus and express love and gratitude. He thought to himself, “This man, if He were a prophet, would know who and what manner of woman this is who is touching Him, for she is a sinner” (Luke 7.39). You can almost imagine him spitting those last five words out in his thoughts.

Instead of calling fire down upon the self-righteous man’s head, Jesus confronted him with a parable:

“There was a certain creditor who had two debtors. One owed five hundred denarii, and the other fifty. And when they had nothing with which to repay, he freely forgave them both. Tell Me, therefore, which of them will love him more?”” (Luke 7:41–42)

There is an obvious parallel between this parable and the Parable of the Prodigal Son (Luke 15.11-32). The debtor who owed 50 is like the older son; the debtor who owed 500 like the younger. The creditor could certainly be the father who desires to welcome back both his self-righteous son (Simon the Pharisee) and his wayward prodigal (sinful woman).

Jesus asks Simon, “Which of them will love him more?” The obvious answer to the question will be a self-indictment for Simon. It is similar to what the LORD did to David when he confronted his murder of Uriah to cover up adultery with the man’s wife. God sent a prophet named Nathan to tell a story about a little ewe lamb.

“There were two men in one city, one rich and the other poor. The rich man had exceedingly many flocks and herds. But the poor man had nothing, except one little ewe lamb which he had bought and nourished; and it grew up together with him and with his children. It ate of his own food and drank from his own cup and lay in his bosom; and it was like a daughter to him. And a traveler came to the rich man, who refused to take from his own flock and from his own herd to prepare one for the wayfaring man who had come to him; but he took the poor man’s lamb and prepared it for the man who had come to him.”

So David’s anger was greatly aroused against the man, and he said to Nathan, “As the Lord lives, the man who has done this shall surely die! And he shall restore fourfold for the lamb, because he did this thing and because he had no pity.” Then Nathan said to David, “You are the man!” (2 Samuel 12:1–7)

Like the debtor who owed 50, those forgiven little love little. Like the debtor who owed 500, those forgiven much love much. But the creditor forgave both. God forgives the vilest of sinners among us only if such a sinner comes by faith alone in the Lord Jesus Christ. But all of us are sinners. All fall short of the glory of God. Human perspective leads us to falsely conclude that some of us are better than others. Paul wrote, “For we dare not class ourselves or compare ourselves with those who commend themselves. But they, measuring themselves by themselves, and comparing themselves among themselves, are not wise.” (2 Corinthians 10:12)

The fact is that you may be a self-righteous religious person or you may be a licentious, bar-hopping sinner. But all of us are guilty before God. All fall short of the glory of God. If we draw a comparison with someone, let us attempt to compare ourselves to the Lord Jesus Christ. You will conclude as I have that none of us have cause to boast. No matter how much or how little we owe, we cannot pay our sin-debt.

But God is willing to forgive. “The Lord is not slack concerning His promise, as some count slackness, but is longsuffering toward us, not willing that any should perish but that all should come to repentance.” (2 Peter 3:9) Jesus “Himself is the propitiation for our sins, and not for ours only but also for the whole world.” (1 John 2:2) Since this is true, we cannot have anything to do with our salvation. It is all in accordance with God’s mercy and grace. Therefore, no man can claim to be especially loveable to God. The Lord Jesus Christ is the only One worthy of the Father’s words, “This is My beloved Son!”

If you attempt to justify yourself by your supposed goodness or by some law or standard you’ve kept, you have fallen from grace and have become estranged from Christ (see Galatians 5.4). God is willing to forgive, and He invites sinners to come to His Son’s Person and work believing. If you trust in Christ alone for your eternal life, you have much for which you should be grateful.

Your debt is not small. It cost the Father the death of His Son: Jesus’ lifeblood shed for you. Self-righteous people have a form of godliness but deny the power thereof. They are truly hypocritical and pretentious. Formerly self-righteous people experience the grace of God and delight to see Christ high and lifted up!

Your debt is not too great. There is a zeal that Christ will own. Romans 12.11 teaches us that we should not lag behind in our work for the Lord Jesus Christ. We ought to be zealous and fervent in spirit when serving the Lord. When zeal is directed by the Word and motivated by gratitude, then we shall be vindicated even though the world forsake us. Pray and seek power to honor and glorify God. If you live this way, then you shall hear the Savior say, “Well done, good and faithful servant!”

No sinner will be turned away when he turns to Christ! Jesus forgave the unwelcome woman’s sin. Only God can do that. Her story reminds us that God’s mercy is not only present in our own story, it is dominant. Jesus paid the debt we could not pay. Therefore, we must “owe no one anything except to love one another!” (Romans 13.8a)