John 8:33-43

Henry Mahan

(Vs. 33) This was the reply made by the Jews to the words of our Lord in Verse 32. I'm sure that they were thinking in terms of flesh, for one replied, "We be Abraham's seed: we are God's chosen people: we are the kingdom of God and were never in bondage!" Our Lord speaks here of the bondage of the will – spiritual slavery and captivity. Before a man knows Christ, he is in bondage. (1) Men have no righteousness (Isa. 64:6) nor goodness (Rom. 7:18). (2) Men have no wisdom (Rom. 3:11). (3) Men have no strength (Rom. 5:6) nor hope (Eph. 2:12). (4) Men are under the curse of the law – prisoners (Gal. 3:10), therefore in bondage (II Peter 2:19). Man is a fallen creature, totally depraved, and under the dominion of sin and Satan; and from this bondage and death only the grace of God and the truth of Christ can deliver him.

(Vs. 34) Our Lord lets them know that he is not speaking of the freedom of men's bodies, but the freedom of the soul. "Whosoever," whether one belongs to the favored seed of Abraham or is a pagan Gentile, all who are of the seed of Adam (having sinned in him, Rom. 5:12, 19, and having sinned in themselves) are the slaves of sin and can no more change their natures and do good in God's sight than the Ethiopian can change his skin (Jer. 13:23). They are captives of the law, which has been violated, and of the justice of God, which demands their death (Ezek. 18:20). We are all by birth, nature, and practice servants of sin.

(Vs. 35) The servant of sin and Satan does not live and abide in the house of God nor in the true church of God. The holiness and righteousness of God will not permit it; the truth and justice of God will not allow it. "Two cannot walk together except they be agreed." "Without holiness no man shall see the Lord." (Matt. 5:20; Psalm 24:3-4.) We must have what we do not have to abide in His house – a perfect righteousness! But the Son of God abideth ever, for in Him the Father is well pleased.

(Vs. 36) Therefore, if the Son shall make you free from sin and death, you shall be free indeed – free truly and in reality, not in mere profession or claim. For Christ, the Son, as our representative in the flesh, has fulfilled every jot and tittle of the law on our behalf and gives us a perfect holiness in God's sight (Rom. 10:1-4: Jer. 23:6; II Cor. 5:21; Rom. 5:19). He honored the law and satisfied justice for us before the Father, in order that God may be just and the justifier of those who believe (Rom. 3:19-26).

(Vs. 37) "I know that you are descendants of Abraham according to the flesh;" but he is not a Jew which is one outwardly (Rom. 2:28-29), nor is he the true seed of Abraham who is not a believer (Rom. 9:7; Gal. 3:7, 26-29). But what advantage is there in being a descendant of Abraham if you seek to kill your God, and His Word has no place in you? Abraham believed God! This was the chief trait of Abraham –he believed God! (Rom. 4:3; Gen. 15:6.)

(Vs. 38) My Father is God! I declare unto you His mind, purpose, and will. There is no uncertainty, but what I have seen and heard of Him. You declare by your attitude and actions who your father really is; it is not the Lord God but the Devil (John 8:44).

(Vs. 39) They objected and continued to boast of their privileges by birth, being descendants of Abraham. But our Lord destroys their boasting saying, "If you were truly children of Abraham, you would do the works of Abraham." His blood in your veins is of no significance if you do not walk as he walked (Rom. 4:20-25; Gal. 3:6-9).

(Vs. 40) I am sent of God, whom you own to be your Father. I have faithfully revealed the redemptive will of God to you and have told you nothing but the truth, for which you seek to kill me; this was not Abraham's practice. Abraham believed God! You declare by your spirit and actions that you have nothing of Abraham's spirit in you.

(Vs. 41) Your deeds are not the deeds of Abraham but rather the deeds of the Devil, which show him to be your father rather than Abraham (Isa. 14:12-15). They objected saying, "We be not born of fornication," meaning either that they were not children of idolaters (idolatry is called fornication in the Scriptures) or not children of Hagar, the concubine. "We have one Father, even God." Is not this the claim of all religions – the fatherhood of God? God is the creator of all, but the Father of believers (Rom. 8:14-17; Gal. 4:6-7).

(Vs. 42) This statement agrees with I John 5:1-2. If God is a man's Father, the man will love Christ; for the Lord Jesus is One with the Father. He is the brightness of His glory and the exact image of His person (Heb. 1:3).

(Vs. 43) The reason they could not understand the meaning and sense of His gospel was because, though they heard the SOUND of His words, they did not hear nor discern the spiritual sense and MEANING of it. Blinded and deafened by nature, tradition, and prejudice, they had eyes but could not see, and ears but could not hear (II Cor. 4:4-6; I Cor. 1:18: Matt. 13:15-16).

Henry Mahan
Ashland, Ky.