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Friday, September 22, 2017

“We Are Abraham’s Seed” – John 8:33

          Last week we learned that only Jesus can set a person free from spiritual bondage. When we gain knowledge of His Word and obey it, we grow spiritually and free ourselves from the bondage of sin.

“We Are Abraham’s Seed” – John 8:33

          Offended by Jesus’ statement about them being in bondage to sin, the Pharisees say to Jesus, “We are Abraham’s seed (descendants) and have never been slaves of anyone. How can you say that we shall be set free? John 8:33 Again, the Pharisees are looking with “natural” eyes, but Jesus is speaking of “spiritual” bondage. What they said was not true! The Jews had been in captivity and bondage several times throughout their history—to the Egyptians, Assyrians, Babylonians, etc. As a matter of fact, these Pharisees were in bondage to the Romans at the time these words were spoken by Jesus. Unfortunately, the Pharisees were not free on earth or in heaven. They were under Roman rule and rejected Jesus’ rule.
            The Pharisees gloried in being the seed of Abraham, the earthly father of the Jewish nation. Perhaps they had forgotten that it was God who made the seed of Abraham a nation, not Abraham. It was also God who miraculously provided Abraham’s spiritual son to be born through a miraculous birth. It is in Isaac that God’s covenant with Abraham is established. (Genesis 17:21) As we both know, Isaac is a type and shadow of Jesus who was offered by the Father as the sacrifice for the atonement for sin just as Abraham through God’s instruction willingly offered Isaac as the atonement for sin on Mount Moriah. Abraham had other children but Isaac was referred to as Abraham’s only son by God (see Genesis 22:2). Isaac was the only one born through God’s miraculous power making him Abraham’s spiritual seed. Isaac wasn’t born until after God had made covenant with Abraham and gave Abram his spiritual name. The rest of Abraham’s children were Abraham’s fleshly seed. He had both fleshly and spiritual seed.
Instead of these Pharisees saying that they are a people of God, they said that they were Abraham’s seed. They gave the glory due only to God to Abraham. These Pharisees thought that the faith and righteousness of Abraham and God’s covenant with Abraham were sufficient to get them into heaven. After all, these Pharisees were servants of God, descendants of Abraham and keepers of the Law!  Our works and our earthly descent cannot get us into heaven. We are all sinners who must be saved by God’s grace.

Jesus’ Response

            “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 forever. So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed. I know you are Abraham’s descendant. 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.” John 8:34-38
          The Pharisees believed that they were a part of the favored family of Abraham because of their earthly lineage. Jesus is trying to show these Jewish Pharisees that they need to be set free from the slavery and bondage of sin. This is a spiritual problem in the heart of mankind because we inherited the sin nature of the first man – Adam. Jesus is telling them that the mere fact that they are the natural descendants of Abraham gives them no title to the freedom and blessings that belong to God’s spiritual children. As long as they remained bondslaves of sin, spiritual freedom is impossible. Jesus is the only Way for sin to be removed so we can enter into God’s spiritual kingdom.
            A slave has no permanent place in the family. He or she lives in the house but is not part of the family making him or her an heir of all that belongs to the Father. Jesus is the Son of God who will set them free from eternal bondage to sin and give them a place as sons and daughters in the spiritual family of God.
Next, Jesus gives the evidence that they are slaves to sin. “You are ready to kill Me, because you have no room for My Word.”  Jesus knows their hearts. Belief in the power of Jesus’ Anointed Word will set them free from the bondage of sin and make them sons and daughters of God. Saving truth is revealed by God by His Spirit not from any person or humanistic wisdom. Jesus is telling these Pharisees what He has seen in the Father’s presence because He was with the Father and the Holy Spirit before anything was created. Jesus understands spiritual matters because He is spiritual and holy (without sin) even as He walked the earth.
Those who continue practicing sin are slaves to that sin. There is no freedom in sin, only bondage. The power of Jesus’ Word and Spirit and our willingness to obey it will set us free from sin. Our obedience is rooted in our love for God and Jesus, not through demand. We are to hide His Word in our hearts. The Pharisees’ salvation was not in Abraham, but in Jesus. The Son Jesus who is the Word of God brought to life abides with the Father forever (eternally), and so do all who believe in the Son and His Word. Jesus can make us free because He is the Son of God and the Word of Truth. He makes us free from God’s wrath for sin, the penalty of the Law and delivers us from the condemnation of sin. He also delivers us from the power of Satan. All of this makes us free to serve God. Only the sinless blood of Jesus could set all captives free from the power of sin.
We must know the truth and the truth will set us free! Too many don’t know the truth because they haven’t studied it. If we don’t know the truth by rightly dividing it, we can’t be changed by it. Every person must be accountable to God for what we believe. We can’t stand before God and blame our Pastor for our lack of knowledge of God’s Word. It is our responsibility to search it out for ourselves. We must learn, accept and receive the Truth in our hearts and actions. This is what sets us free! 
God made His ways known to Adam, Noah, Abraham, Moses, etc. Jesus makes God’s ways known through His holy life. God is known by His Word and character, not by His power and miracles although they too help us trust God. If God is our Father, we must show God’s nature and character.
Again the Pharisees say, “Abraham is our father.”  Jesus responded, “If you were Abraham’s children, then you would do the things Abraham did. As it is, you are determined to kill Me, a man who has told you the truth that I heard from God. Abraham did not do such things. You are doing the things your own father does.”
What things did Abraham do?
·         He loved God.
·         He had faith in God.
·         He submitted to (obeyed) God’s Word by faith.
·         He stepped out in faith in God to go where he didn’t even know.
·         He willingly offered his son Isaac as a sacrifice for sin at God’s instruction.
·         He showed His love for others and willingness to serve..
·         He welcomed the heavenly visitors into his home and fed them.
·         He defended Lot and fought off Lot’s enemies.
·         Abraham was called “a friend of God.”
            Legalists can’t be called children of Abraham because Abraham was justified by faith not Law. There was no Law at the time of Abraham. Those who expect to be made righteous through keeping the Law are not followers of Abraham. Instead, believers of God must walk in the faith of Abraham. The Law condemns but Jesus redeems!
These Jewish Pharisees could not “hear” Jesus’ Word because they had no faith in Him. Their own understanding of God prevented them from hearing the Truth from Jesus. They had no heart for His Word or desire to learn His will. As long as Jesus and His Word have no place in them or any human, they remain slaves to sin.
You are doing the things your own father does.”  Jesus is referring to the devil but He doesn’t directly say so until they again insist that they are not illegitimate children implying that they are not like Him whom they believed was illegitimate because He was born in the flesh of Mary out of wedlock. 

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