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April 24th, 2022: Abiding in His Freedom- John 8:31-38

31 Then said Jesus to those Jews which believed on him, If ye continue in my word, then are ye my disciples indeed;

This statement of Jesus comes on the heels of his interaction with a woman caught in the act of adultery. In front of the temple where Jesus is teaching believers, skeptical Pharisees, and curious bystanders, a woman is hurled at his feet. She is the ultimate puzzle and also a trap set by His enemies. Jewish law requires her and her partner to be stoned. Roman law has forbidden the Jewish people from using the death penalty. Ultimately, they don’t want to kill only the woman who has sinned, they want a reason to ask Rome to kill Jesus. When Jesus writes in the dust a silent message that takes all the wind out of the sails of those holding rocks, and then graciously forgives her and frees her from her sin, many witnesses begin to marvel at His words and wisdom. What follows after our lesson’s passage is when feeling their reputations threatened by a wise and masterful Jesus, the religious leaders begin to angrily question Him. The conversation gets heated and ugly. They basically accuse Him of not knowing who His father is, a reference to His virgin birth, which they are denying. They try to publicly ridicule and speak down to who they view as a carpenter’s son, an unlearned and untrained usurper. Jesus crushes every argument making them look as foolish as they are, by speaking the truth of God. When His words are compared to theirs, it is obvious who their father is and that Jesus is the Son of God. The verses of our lesson summarize the gift and grace extended to those who will not only hear, not only believe, but apply the truth of God. Those who will submit themselves to the Lordship of Jesus Christ who is the Great I Am.

32 And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.

This is a conditional proposition. Verse 31 says “if.” Some who were watching Him began to believe him. He pushes them further by saying “if you continue in my word.” The belief has to go further than just acknowledgment, it has to bring repentance and change. And then, “you shall know the truth and the truth shall make you free.” If I have been bitten by a rattlesnake, and someone tells me that the antivenom will cure me, it is not enough that I believe them, I have to take the medicine to be healed. It has to get inside of me and reverse the damage. Similarly, Jesus instructs these curious listeners that belief in Him is not the same as committing to belief in Him.

33 They answered him, We be Abraham's seed, and were never in bondage to any man: how sayest thou, Ye shall be made free?

There is so much arrogance in this statement. Descendants of Abraham had indeed been in bondage, because of their own sin, to Assyria, to Babylon, to Persia, to Alexander the Great, and even at that moment, they were in bondage to Rome. If they meant spiritual bondage, they couldn’t make that claim either, because their apostasy and idol worship had brought on their destruction. This is, however, the most universal reaction of humanity to the gospel. They don’t need it, after all, they are good people. Surely, they don’t need help to get to Heaven, because they are as good as anyone else, probably better. They desperately need to be made free. The only one who can break the chains of sin, death, despair, hopelessness, and pain is standing in front of them and they deny their need and choose their pride.

34 Jesus answered them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Whosoever committeth sin is the servant of sin.

True freedom is found only in becoming who God has designed you to be; His child made righteous through the blood of Christ. Free to be welcome even in the courts of Heaven and accepted even in the presence of your maker. That’s not how the world thinks. By saying “no one will tell me what to do,” we make ourselves slaves to the very sins we think are our free choices. No one tries to be an alcoholic, a drug addict, an adulterer, a liar, or a murderer. It begins with a simpler and less obvious choice to follow our own way instead of God’s way, a false assumption that we know what is best.

35 And the servant abideth not in the house for ever: but the Son abideth ever.

We’ll never earn eternal life following our own hearts and minds. Hollywood insists on feeding us and our children the lie that doing what feels right to you will lead to happiness and fulfillment. It is a damnable lie. You can follow your own good intentions all the way to eternity in a lake of fire. God has not created us for this. He created us for much more than our own vision and understanding can comprehend. He created you to be in fellowship with Him; here on earth and for all eternity. He is not “willing that any should perish.”

36 If the Son therefore shall make you free, ye shall be free indeed.

They told Jesus that they had never been slaves, He assured them that they most certainly had been and in fact, they were slaves to their own sin and lies. However, He doesn’t leave them without hope. Jesus, the Son of God, can make you free. Truly free.

37 I know that ye are Abraham's seed; but ye seek to kill me, because my word hath no place in you.

What do you do with scripture that troubles you? Are there places in the Bible that you avoid reading because they are in opposition to your personal positions and opinions? Does God’s word have a place in you? Jesus is the word of God. He never disagrees with it, He fulfills it. His life was the perfect completion of the law and extension of God’s grace that the Bible contains from the beginning. He is, “the lamb slain from the foundation of the world.” They had started to believe in verse 30, but when confronted with the truth that Jesus is the words that He speaks, they are now ready to kill Him. His word wasn’t welcome, therefore His gift of freedom was not received. The woman caught in the act of adultery heard and received, but then again she wasn’t encumbered as they were with pride and dignity. She desperately needed a Savior and she found one.

38 I speak that which I have seen with my Father: and ye do that which ye have seen with your father.

What follows in verse 38, are some of the most pointed insults that the religious leaders will cast in Jesus’ teeth. They say, “we know who our father is, do you?” They insinuate that He is born of sin. This illustrates a very powerful point. When a person rejects Christ, they reject God the Father as well. Some people will claim to be spiritual and to believe in God, but will reject Christianity or reject the need for a born-again experience. It won’t work, denying one is denying the other regardless of your soulful intentions. There is no separation between the Father and the Son. Jesus said, “I am the Way, the Truth, and the Life, no man cometh to the Father, but by me.” -John 14.



Perspectives


Scripture points out the worst in us while pointing us toward the treasure we’ve been given in Christ. It is natural to resist scriptures that hit close to home or to argue instead of agreeing when presented with the truth of scripture that reveals our not-so-hidden failures. Here is the answer: God is for you. The work of His word is to save you, help you, and redeem you. When you submit your feelings, your will, and your heart to the truth of the scripture it will feel like a sacrifice, but it will make you free. To abide in Christ, who is the word of God, is to be free indeed. Too often we resist God instead of resisting the devil, as we are commanded to do. Run toward Christ, admit that you fall short, admit your need, confess your faults, and receive the freedom that comes from having every sin under the blood.

Younger Christian


I don’t think I can say it any better! What a marvelous God we serve that will make us free from all the weights and sins that encumber us. I sincerely wish I had understood the principles of this lesson much earlier than I did. Jesus knows everyone in this lesson to their heart and intentions. He knows each of us the same.


Older Christian



Thank you for studying with us! God bless!


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