The Berean Expositor
Volume 54 - Page 76 of 210
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This is where the glorification started of the One Who always did what pleased the
Father. It is the result of His complete sinlessness, for no human being since the Fall of
Adam always pleases God in every thought, word and deed.
"To the Jews who had believed Him, Jesus said, `If you hold to My teaching, you are
really My disciples. Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free'."
(John 8: 31, 32, N.I.V.).
The word "abide" or "remain" (meno) is one of John's characteristic words. It is one
thing to believe a person; it is another to continually hold fast to that belief. Christ is
saying to His hearers, your future loyalty to My teaching will prove the reality of your
present profession. Discipleship is continuous; it is a way of life. Only those who truly
believe or trust will hold fast permanently. False belief can only result in bondage, but
God's truth can free them and these are the words of One Who personified truth (14: 6).
This freedom is real and precious, but it never means licence. We are free to accomplish
all that God wants us to be and do, free from the slavery of sin, and free to do His will,
which is the only state that can give us lasting satisfaction. Paul was the apostle of
freedom (Gal. 5: 1), and without such freedom, it is impossible to serve the Lord; for
slaves are for ever bound and in shackles and as such can do nothing of themselves.
The Pharisees who were listening to Him replied:
"They answered Him, `we are Abraham's descendants and have never been slaves of
anyone. How can you say that we shall be set free?'. Jesus replied, `I tell you the truth,
everyone who sins is a slave to sin. Now a slave has no permanent place in the family,
but a son belongs to it for ever. So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed. I
know you are Abraham's descendants. Yet you are ready to kill Me, because you have no
room for My word. I am telling you what I have seen in the Father's presence, and you
do what you have heard from your father'." (8: 33-38, N.I.V.).
A. T. Robertson rightly says, "Freedom (intellectual, moral and spiritual) is attainable
when we are set free from darkness, sin, ignorance, superstition, and let the Light of the
World shine on us and in us" (Word Pictures in the New Testament). The listeners said,
"We are Abraham's seed" and this was their proudest boast. Yes, but the Jews came to
rely solely on mere physical descent (Matt. 3: 9) and what they said was not true, for at
that moment they were under the Roman yoke as they had been in the past under Assyria,
Babylon, Persia, Greece, the Ptolomies, the Syrian (Seleucid). They completely missed
the point of Christ's words about real freedom. The Lord's teaching here is similar to
Paul's in Rom. 6: 12-23.
The illustration now changes to the contrast between the positions of the son and the
slave in the house, and we should remember that slavery obtained at this time. A slave
had no permanent standing in the master's home. He could be cast out at any moment,
while the son and heir had a permanent place--once a son, always a son.
But Christ could free slaves from the bondage of sin and death, and if He did so, they
were really free, it was no sham thing.