John 8:33-36 FREEDOM AVAILABLE THROUGH THE SON OF GOD
On the day following the Feast of Tabernacles Jesus was
teaching a large crowd of people in the courtyard of the
temple at Jerusalem. A large number of people in that crowd
professed to believe that He is the Christ. Jesus, knew
that some of those who professed to believe did not really
believe to the point of trusting Him as Savior. They were
caught up in the emotion of the occasion and had made a
profession of faith in Him, but it was not genuine. Keep in
mind, that in all probability, many of them, perhaps most of
them, were genuinely saved, but some were not.
Jesus had given them a test. He told them that if they
continued in His word that would be a sign that they were
true disciples, but if they did not continue in His word,
that would be a sign that they were not true disciples. He
also informed them that if they would believe it they would
be made free.
I. A lack of understanding of what Jesus had said
That statement disturbed them and somewhat offended
them. V. 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?" His listeners did not understand.
Keep in mind that His listeners were made up of a few
people who were already genuine believers plus a goodly
number of new converts who were genuine believers plus a
sizable number who had merely made a profession of faith but
were still unsaved plus the Jewish leaders and others who
were His bitter enemies. Saved and unsaved alike, they did
not understand what He meant by being made free. They were
Israelites and proud of it. They were proud that they had
descended from Abraham and they said so. "We be Abraham's
seed." That part was absolutely true. They had descended
from Abraham and they were rightly proud of it.
But they strained the point when they said, "...and were
never in bondage to any man..." You see, they were not
talking about just themselves personally. They were talking
about all of the Israelite people who had descended from
Abraham. They had the idea, "You surely could not mean that
we need to be set free from bondage. No member of God's
covenant nation which descended from Abraham has ever been
in bondage. They never have been and they never will be in
bondage. No member of this covenant nation which descended
from Abraham could ever be in bondage." That was their
attitude. They were talking about all the descendants of
Abraham including themselves. They said, "We've never been
Now they were sadly mistaken on that point. The whole
tribe of Israel had gone down into Egypt and had spent 400
years there. Most of those 400 years were in bondage to the
Egyptians. Later the northern kingdom of Israel went into
captivity to the Assyrians, The southern kingdom were
carried into captivity to the Babylonians and remained there
in bondage for 70 years. Furthermore, after some of them
returned from captivity to their homeland, they remained
under foreign dominion. They had been in bondage to the
Babylonians, to the Medes and Persians, to the Greeks and
were still in bondage to the Romans during the time of
But apparently those proud Jews never really
acknowledged that they or any of the covenant nation which
descended from Abraham had ever been in bondage to anybody.
Jesus could have argued the point and pointed out their
long history of national bondage, but He didn't. He never
said a word about their bondage to the Egyptians, the
Babylonians, the Medes and Persians, the Greeks nor the
Romans. What Jesus did talk to them about was their bondage
to sin. V. 34, "Jesus answered them, Verily, verily, I say
unto you, Whosoever
committeth sin is the servant of sin."
There is a technical matter that I need to call to your
attention right here. In the original Greek language in
which the New Testament was written, this expression
"committeth sin" carries a little different meaning than we
see after it was translated into English. The Greek verb
here is continuous action. It carries the idea of
habitually sinning. It does not talk about one single act.
It talks about a lifestyle of sin.
So Jesus is not talking about one whose lifestyle is
that of godly living, but does occasionally sin. What Jesus
was saying is that one who habitually sins, one whose
constant lifestyle is that of sin is a servant to sin. The
word, servant, here means slave, a bond slave. Just like a
nation could be in bondage to another nation and just like
an individual could be sold into slavery to another person,
even so the person whose lifestyle is predominantly made up
of sin is a bond slave to sin.
So Jesus did not argue the point and try to convince
them that their nation had been in bondage and was still in
bondage. The point that Jesus wanted them to see was that
they themselves, as individuals, were in bondage to sin.
They were bond slaves to sin. That is, those who were still
unsaved were bond slaves to sin.
II. An illustration from Jewish family life
At this point Jesus used an illustration that they could
surely relate to. He used a family household as an
illustration. V. 35, "And the servant abideth not in the
house for ever: but the Son abideth ever." The word, son,
in this verse does not refer to Jesus, the Son of God even
though it was capitalized by the translators. Rather, it
refers to a son in a household --- any household.
Jesus pointed out that in any household, the servant was
not in this family on a permanent basis. It was the son who
was in the family permanently. The servant or slave would
not continue to abide in the house. He is only there
temporarily. A slave might be sold to another owner. If
nothing else, in Israel if he was of Hebrew blood, at the
close of seven years he would go free or even sooner if the
year of jubilee came first.
In contrast, a son would always remain in the family.
He would never be sold nor would he go out of the home at
the end of seven years not at jubilee. He would stay in
that household as long as he lived.
The point that Jesus was making was that the unsaved get
to enjoy the blessings of God which come on the Jewish
family as a result of God's covenants with Abraham, Isaac,
and Jacob as long as they live, but when they die they are
out. They were in the family physically, but they were not
in God's family spiritually. The time will come when they
will be cast out.
III. A second illustration from the Jewish household
Jesus used the Jewish household to illustrate something
else. Not only was the son in the household a free man, but
he had the power to make a slave free. As the heir in this
home, he could, with the consent of the father, of course,
set a slave free. This action of the heir-son, which was
taken by consent of the father would then stand up in court.
It counted as a legal transaction.
Jesus used this to illustrate what He, as the Son of
God, could do for lost sinners. V. 36, "If the Son
therefore shall make you free, ye shall be free indeed."
Jesus had been sent to the world by God the Father. He was
sent here to set men free who had been slaves to sin. He
understood before He left heaven that the Father would
approve of his actions. Therefore, when any lost sinner
would repent of sin and call upon for salvation, He will set
that person free. He will no longer be held in bondage, but
he will be free. Just as a slave in an earthly household
could be set free by the son, even so, a man, woman, boy or
girl who is in slavery to sin can be set free by the Son of
God the Father not only approved of the mission before
the Son left heaven, but God the Father endorsed His mission
and His ministry while He was here on earth. God the Father
approves when one trusts in Jesus and Jesus sets him free.
God the Father will continue to approve of this action which
the Son of God has taken. When that former slave to sin
stands before God in judgment, the action which Jesus took
in saving that soul and setting him free will stand. God
the Father has already appointed God the Son to be the Judge
and when God the Son officially judges and officially that
former slave, He will officially appoint him to live in a
wonderful place in heaven. He will do it with the full
approval of God the Father.
IV. What this has to do with men today
Let me tell you that we were all born into this world
slaves. We were born slaves. We all inherited the sin
nature from our forefather, Adam. The Bible says that we
were all the children of wrath even as others. We did not
have to chose to have a sinful nature, we were born with it.
We were born with it because we inherited it from our
fathers, who inherited it from Adam.
This is why we cannot ever hope to work our way to
heaven. We can never deserve to go to heaven because we
could never set ourselves free from sin. We are already
guilty of committing sin many, many times and we know that
as long as we live in this world that our flesh nature will
continue to do so. We were born in slavery and we will live
in slavery to sin unless the Son of God sets us free.
The only way in this world that we could ever be set
free from our slavery is by repenting of our sin and
trusting in Jesus Christ the Son of God to save our soul.
We have the promise from Jesus Christ, Himself, that if we
will turn to Him and place our faith in Him, He will set us
free and we will be free indeed. We will be free
permanently. But He also told the people in that crowd that
unless they would believe in Him they would die in their
sin. That same thing is true with us today. If one fails
to put his faith in Jesus Christ to save His soul, he will
die in his sin and he will suffer for his sin forever.
Here is a wonderful thing. A lost sinner, one who is in
slavery to sin can choose whether he will be set free or
whether he will remain in slavery. Those who were slaves in
that day did not have the privilege of making such a choice.
But God has given the lost sinner the opportunity to make
the choice that would set him free!
Well, even with you, somebody else has to set you free,
but you do have the privilege of making the choice. In
fact, you have the total responsibility of making the
choice. Nobody else can make it for you. If you would be
set free, then you must chose to turn to God and acknowledge
your guilt of sin to Him and call upon the Lord Jesus Christ
and ask Jesus to save your soul.
Be aware that you are a sinner, a slave to sin and you
need to be set free. Turn to God the Father and confess
your sin to Him. Repent of your sin to Him. Turn to Jesus
Christ, the Son of God and trust Him to save you from your
sin. Will you come?