Combat Training with God – John 8:31-38

Adhere To The Teachings Of Jesus Christ

31 To the Jews who had believed him, Jesus said, “If you hold to my teaching, you are really my disciples. 32 Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.”

33 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?”

34 Jesus replied, “Very truly I tell you, everyone who sins is a slave to sin. 35 Now a slave has no permanent place in the family, but a son belongs to it forever. 36 So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed. 37 I know that you are Abraham’s descendants. Yet you are looking for a way to kill me, because you have no room for my word. 38 I am telling you what I have seen in the Father’s presence, and you are doing what you have heard from your father.”

Disciples are Devoted

The term “Christian” has been used for over a thousand years to refer to people who say they believe that Jesus Christ is the Messiah. Originally, people referred to the followers of Jesus as chrestos, or “the kind ones.”  They were gentle and humble of heart.  Just after the crucifixion of Jesus, His followers did amazing things.  They would go down by the river to retrieve children that were tossed away by their parents and raise them as their own.  When plagues came to the cities, everyone fled, but the chrestos rushed in to provide relief and help, often to their own peril.

The term “Christian” was, at that time, a derogatory pejorative.  However, a more proper term for those who believe Jesus would be “disciple”.  Anyone can claim the title “Christian”, because all it means is that someone believes Jesus is the Son of God.  Even the demons believe, and shudder.  A disciple, on the other hand, would be expected to follow in their master’s footsteps, copying everything that their master did.  They were obedient to their master’s teachings, and not only professed to believe, but lived out their lives in a manner worthy of their master.  They were not merely claiming intellectual ascent to their master’s ideas and ways, they practiced them in such a way that they were indistinguishable from them, to the best of their ability.

Truth Triumphs

In a world where our leaders (and even leaders nearly two thousand years ago) would exclaim, “What is truth?“, we live in a time where culture embraces the idea that truth is relative to the person, and that there is no such thing as an absolute.  Rather, culture teaches that the end justifies the means, and whatever means necessary are not only valid but are required to ensure the desired outcome for anything that we do.

Jesus monumentally stated that when we know the truth, it will set us free.  And when we are set free by the Son, we are free indeed.  Sin keeps us in bondage to itself.  It is only by throwing off the yoke of sin and placing the yoke of Christ upon our shoulders that we are able to act freely.  This comes at a great price, as people scorn, persecute, and often execute those who do this.

Monumental Misunderstanding

The Jews that Jesus was talking to had claimed that they had never been slaves of anyone.  In their eyes, they had always been under the care and protection of the Lord God Almighty. It was He who was sovereign, and so if any difficulty came in the form of being scattered and sold as slaves, it was at the providence of God that it occurred.  Esther declared that they had been the slaves of others, but it did not bother them:

“For I and my people have been sold to be destroyed, killed and annihilated. If we had merely been sold as male and female slaves, I would have kept quiet, because no such distress would justify disturbing the king.”

Even she has admitted that they were sold into slavery, yet in their minds, they were the children of God, and merely being disciplined.

Slavery in Sin

Sin entraps those who choose it in a terrible, invisible prison of slavery.  Once we sin, we have become its slave.  Each and every time we say yes to sin, we become more inured to its effects.  Our thinking becomes clouded, and we being to justify what we are doing.  We are unaware of the hardening of our hearts, and the destruction of our souls.  King David went down this path when he raped Bathsheba.  He began a terrible string of errors to cover his sin that eventually led to the murder of Bathsheba’s husband.  Only a public rebuke by God through the prophet Nathan was able to get him to realize the extent of his sin.

Sin whispers that it is too late, and there is no recovery.  We often believe the lies and become its slave for a time.  But thanks be to God for His Son, Jesus Christ, who has overcome sin, the world, and Satan.  We have repentance through His blood and access to the throne of God to repent and again throw off the yoke of slavery that we bear in sin.

Phenomenal Freedom

Jesus Christ tells us that if the Son sets us free, we are free indeed.  The sacrifice for sin in the precious, sinless blood of the lamb of God was the final, complete, and unconditional payment for our sin in full.  In that blood, we are declared righteous by God; and once exonerated (pardoned), the crime can no longer be held against us.  When we are freed by Jesus from our sin, for all sins past, present, and future, no one can lay a charge against the elect of God – they have been declared sin-free.

We must now live out the freedom that Christ paid so dearly for with His blood in our daily lives as living sacrifices that are holy and pleasing to God.  It is through obedience to the teachings of our master that we the bondage and slavery of sin are shrugged off as we walk in the truth that sets us free.  For when we no longer walk in darkness but in the light, we are freed from the slavery that the absence of light perpetuates, for the darkness hates the light; the light has freed the captives.

A Qualifying Question

Let’s ask a question:  Is there anything in our lives that is holding us in darkness and keeping us as its slave?

A short prayer of preparation:

Father in Heaven, You have freed me from the bondage and slavery of sin, and I thank and praise You for Your sacrifice.  Thank You for showing me the light of the world, and the eternal truth that is Your Son, Jesus Christ.  Help me, Father, to walk in the light as I willingly give myself to You fully so that Your purposes may be displayed in me.  Transform me with Your word through the guidance of the Holy Spirit.  Help me to walk in truth, and to free myself from the slavery of sin.  I cannot serve two masters, and willingly choose You.  This I ask in Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Want more?  Why not try A. B. Simpson or A. W. Tozer?

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