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Jesus and Abraham.

31. If ye continue in my word, then are ye my disciples indeed. The words spoken by the Savior in the preceding discourse convinced many of his hearers. They “believed on him,” but their faith was not yet made perfect by obedience. Hence he adds the conditions of discipleship. They must do more than believe; their belief must move them to accept his word and obey it. There is a condition, continue in my word; a promise, shall be my disciples. To abide in the word, is the condition of being Christ's disciples. This harmonizes with the entire gospel. The New Testament nowhere teaches justification by a faith that does not lead to obedience. (Joh 8:32)

32. And ye shall know the truth. Disciples are learners. Their object is to know the truth. The way to know the truth is, not to engage in study, but to obey the truth. He declares (John 7:17): “If any man will do his will he shall know of the doctrine whether it be of God.” This shows that the best way to silence doubts is to practice the duties of Christian life. It is certain that the faithful doers of the will of God are not the doubters, and it is also certain that those who become skeptics begin by neglecting their duties. Those who walk devoutly in the footsteps of Christ are not troubled by doubts. And the truth shall make you free. The truth known through obedience to Christ's words. Too often churches seek to bring those who would obey Christ into bondage to creeds, traditions of men and human forms. The gospel obeyed frees—frees from the yoke of Satan, from spiritual task-masters, from fear, fills the soul with hope and the free spirit of a man who serves the Father from love. 143 (Joh 8:33)

33. They answered. Probably not the Jews who believed, but the opposers in the throng. We be Abraham's seed, and were never in bondage. It was the proud boast of the Jews that they were descendants of Abraham. They trusted in their blood rather than in obedience to the God of Abraham. Their proud language was false. Their nation had been in bondage for over six hundred years, to Babylon, to Persia, to Macedon, to Syria, to Rome. It had been in bondage to idolatry in past time and was scourged by God with the captivity. It was at that very moment in bondage to Rome politically, and spiritually to the Rabbis, to tradition, to human commandments, to spiritual pride, and to sin. Those are most deeply enslaved who call their bondage freedom. (Joh 8:34)

34. Whosoever committeth sin is the servant of sin. According to his custom, Christ makes no direct argument in reply, but states a truth and leaves them to apply it. The sinner is the slave of sin. Action forms habit, and habit is a second nature. We say of the drunkard, the tobacco chewer, the opium eater, the swearer, or the gambler, that he is the slave of habit. The same principle is involved in all evil doing, which tends to fasten evil habits upon the soul. Whoever sins is binding upon himself the chains of slavery. This is a law of our being. How many there are who become conscious of their weak, sinful condition and sigh for deliverance. See Rom. 7:9–24. (Joh 8:35)

35. The servant abideth not in the house forever. The servant has no claim to remain continually in the same family, but may be changed at will. The son can remain because he is a son. Hagar, the bondwoman, was sent forth from the home of Abraham. The Jews, bondmen instead of children, who claimed that they dwelt in the house of God and enjoyed his favor, would soon be expelled; only those who were made free by the Son and thus become children would continue to abide in the Lord's house. (Joh 8:36)

36. If the son, therefore, shall make you free, ye shall be free indeed. Ye are not truly free, but servants of sin, children of the bondwoman who was cast out. If you would be free indeed you must have the freedom that the Son bestows and become children. In order to fully comprehend the figure read Gal. 4:19–21, which is the best commentary on this verse. (Joh 8:37)

37. I know that ye are Abraham's seed. He admits their boast that they are the fleshly children of Abraham, “but ye seek to kill me, because my word hath no place in you;” a proof that they were not spiritually Abraham's children. Abraham had no such spirit. John the Baptist found it needful to rebuke the Jewish boast, and declared “God could of these stones raise up children to Abraham,” a hint that the children of the promise should be Abraham's children, not by fleshly descent, but by the will of God. (Joh 8:38)

38. I speak that which I have seen with my Father. Jesus was the Son; he had dwelt in the Father's house; he declared what he had seen and heard there; this they rejected, and did what they “had seen with their father;” not Abraham, whom they claimed, but the father named in verse 44. (Joh 8:39) (Joh 8:40) (Joh 8:41) (Joh 8:42) (Joh 8:43)

39–43. Abraham is our father. To Christ's allusion to their father they again 144assert that they are Abraham's offspring. This might be true according to the flesh, but spiritually they had another father. See verse 44. Ye seek to kill me. A thing totally unlike Abraham, and showing that they are not his spiritual children. Ye do the deeds of your father. The father named in verse 44. If God were your father. This is in reply to their claim that they are God's children. Their assertion is disproved by their hate of him who was sent from God. God's spiritual children would welcome “God manifest in the flesh.” Cannot hear my word. They could not understand him, because they were morally incapable of hearing him. Satan, their father, had them captive, and their minds were so preoccupied, that they could not receive Christ's truth. (Joh 8:44)

44. Ye are of your father, the devil. He shows that there are two households on the earth; that of God, composed of his children; and that of the devil, composed of his children. All who hear the voice of Christ become God's children by adoption (Rom. 8:15–17), and all who refuse to hear him, do so because they belong to the devil's household and hear his voice. He was a murderer from the beginning. Not merely because he inspired Cain's murder of Abel, but because he seduced the human race into disobedience and sought to destroy it. The temptation in Eden was a case of attempted murder, and has resulted in all the murders of earth, and the 145spiritual death of myriads. They (the Jews) were the children of a murderer; hence they sought to kill Christ (see verse 40). (Joh 8:45)

45. Because I tell you the truth, ye believe me not. He has just declared that the devil is the father of liars and that they are his children; hence they would refuse to receive the truth. They had in them the spirit of their father which would lead them to reject the truth and to prefer falsehood. There are many such in the earth still, who fight against the truth and resort to every dishonest quibble in order to overthrow it. They do not love the truth and this has so warped their nature that they will believe a lie more readily than the truth. (Joh 8:46)

46. Which of you convinceth me of sin? He points to his sinless character as a proof that there can be no falsehood in his words. The argument is: “If I am not the Son of God, find out some human defect or weakness that proves that I am only a man, and therefore, imperfect like all others.” This is Christ's method with deists. Point out a single flaw in his matchless character. You cannot. Then listen to the words of the sinless man as to a voice from heaven. “If I am not convicted of any sin, I speak the truth. Why then do you not believe me?” (Joh 8:47)

47. He that is of God heareth God's words. These Pharisees claimed to be of God, but proved they were not by rejecting the words of the Son. (Joh 8:48)

48. Thou art a Samaritan, and hast a devil? They resort to the language of passion and vituperation. Of all men they hated the Samaritans most and hence this charge; they next accuse him, not of having a devil, but being possessed with a demon, or evil spirit. The charge had been before made that he cast out devils by Beelzebub the prince of devils. See Matt. 12:24. The evil spirits, or demons, are represented as fallen angels (2 Peter 2:4); subject to Satan (Matt. 9:34); working miracles (Rev. 16:14). (Joh 8:49)

49. I honor my Father. He passes by in silence their first charge; the second he denies, and shows that it cannot be true, for he honors his Father, which a demon could not do; and yet the Jews dishonored him, while he honored the Father. (Joh 8:50)

50. I seek not mine own glory. He cared little therefore for their abuse, and sought not to defend himself. The “one that seeketh and judgeth” would take care of his reputation. God's children may disregard the unrighteous judgments of men, but God will Judge righteously. 146 (Joh 8:51)

51. If a man keep my word, he shall never see death. Here again is a condition and a promise. Notice 1. Its universal character. If any one, Jew or Gentile, male or female, bond or free. 2. The condition: Keep my words. Again, obedience essential; no life without it; by obedience we are not only freed, but enter into life. 3. Shall not see death. Death of the body is not reckoned death, but merely the gate through which the believer enters upon a more perfect life. “They who live and believe upon him shall never die.” (Joh 8:52)

52. Abraham is dead, and the prophets. Everybody had died, even the best and greatest; how then could any one escape seeing death? (Joh 8:53)

53. Art thou greater than our father Abraham? Their argument is: They that heard the word of God are dead, and shall they who have heard thee not die? Their question is asked in scorn. Compare with John 4:12. (Joh 8:54)

54. If I honor myself, my honor is nothing. They had just asked: Whom makest thou thyself? The Father, who honoreth him, will settle that question by his resurrection from the dead and exaltation. (Joh 8:55)

55. Ye have not known him, but I know him. They claimed to be worshipers of Abraham's God. He now shows, that despite their claims, they did not know him, but that he knew and revealed him. Nor could he deny it, for he must tell the truth. (Joh 8:56)

56. Your father Abraham rejoiced to see my day . . . and was glad. Saw it in promise by prophetic vision; whether or not “Abraham was greater” he rejoiced in the hope of the revelation of Christ. (Joh 8:57)

57. Thou art not yet fifty years old, and hast thou soon Abraham? They do not attempt to give his age, but a round period that will cover it. It had been about 2,000 years since the time of Abraham. Jesus did not say he had seen Abraham, but they pervert his words. 147 (Joh 8:58)

58. Verily, verily, I say unto you, Before Abraham was, I am. A solemn and official declaration preceded by” Verily, verily.” The utterance is a remarkable one. It does not merely assert that he was before Abraham, but, before Abraham was, I AM. It identifies him with the I AM of the Old Testament. Divinity has no past tense, nor future tense, but always the present. God is not eternity or infinity, but eternal and infinite. His hands are laid upon the past as well as the future. (Joh 8:59)

59. They took up stones to stone him. They regarded his language blasphemy. If he had been only a man it would have been. Hence, in a sudden rage, without waiting for a trial, they sought to inflict the penalty of blasphemy by mob violence. Stoning was the legal penalty of blasphemy, but could not be inflicted without a trial and judgment. But Jesus hid himself. Quietly disappeared in the crowd and departed from the temple, while they were raging around to gather stones. It is not probable there was a miracle, as he never worked one for his own benefit.

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