Main point summary
God, the Son offers real freedom from the slavery to sin as we constantly cling to his word, in belief.
John 8:30-36 ESV
30 As he was saying these things, b many believed in him. The Truth Will Set You Free 31 So Jesus said to the Jews who had believed him, c “If you abide in my word, you are truly my disciples, 32 and you will d know the truth, and the truth e will set you free.” 33 They answered him, f “We are offspring of Abraham and have never been enslaved to anyone. How is it that you say, ‘You will become free’?” 34 Jesus answered them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, g everyone who practices sin is a slave 1 to sin. 35 h The slave does not remain in the house forever; i the son remains forever. 36 So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed.
Context and References
Purpose: John 20:30-31 Real Belief? Cf. John 2:23-25; 6:60-61 Abiding in the word as real belief; cf. John 15:1-11; 20:30-31; 2 John 9; Hebrews 3:14; Revelation 2:26 What does it mean to be a true disciple? Cf. Luke 9:57-62; 14:25-33 Liberation from the slavery of sin: Romans 6:1-14
Do I really believe in Christ Jesus? How is that evident? What place do my good works and lineage and church play? How am I abiding in Christ's word? Do I know the truth? What do I want to do most of all? Am I truly free?
30 Jesus has just explained who he is and who his audience was - in terms of where they come from and where they are headed. As he did, many among his audience - many Jews believed in him. John, in his narration, continues with So Jesus said... 31-32 Why So ? It almost seems, just like in John 2:23-25, that Jesus perceived exactly what was in the hearts of the Jews who had believed in him . So, Jesus said to the Jews who had believed in him, a condition (and cost) for true discipleship with consequences that are far greater than ‘mere’ discipleship (indicated by the progressive ‘then’ clause): If you abide in my word, (then) you are truly my disciples and you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free. It is beautiful to see, that instead of running after numbers, Jesus pursued the genuineness – truth – of belief. This genuineness is marked by abiding in – persevering, holding tightly and remaining in Christ’s word – all his teaching, and nothing less. o In other words, Jesus seems to have sensed a belief that was not, and so Jesus issues the ‘cost of discipleship’ to settle the matter, also proclaiming the amazing benefits of this cost – true discipleship, a knowing of the truth and a real freedom as a result of knowing the truth. o In many ways, the word and the truth were personified in Jesus himself (cf. John 1:1-14; 14:6), and so abiding in the word and knowing the truth, in a sense, implied an intimate relationship with Christ Jesus, himself. 33 Jesus, now, by bringing up the idea of freedom, forces the question – freedom from what? Where is my slavery in the first place? The Jews (almost insulted) ask him that very question: We are offspring of Abraham and have never been enslaved to anyone. How is it that you say, ‘You will become free’? o In asking the question, the Jews first and foremost, deny their slavery and emphasise their existing ‘freedom’. § The basis for their freedom, it must be noted, was based on the physical lineage to Abraham (cf. Romans 9:6-13). § It cannot mean a mere physical freedom, though, because the Jews were acutely aware of their being under the rule of several other countries – from Egypt then, to Rome, now. § Their lineage, to them, implied a spiritual privilege – a freedom of being God’s chosen race. o And so, the Jews first and foremost, proclaim their slavery and emphasise their existing ‘freedom’., How on earth can you say, ‘You will become free?’ 34-36 Jesus now explains the meaning of slavery and therefore, what he offers in terms of freedom: o Truly, truly, I say to you… § It is in truth that I speak, and nothing less, implying that you might then know the truth and be free. o …everyone who practices sin is a slave to sin. § The slave to sin is the one who does sin, implying that everyone is, in fact, a slave to sin. § The act of sin is symptomatic of the slavery, not just the cause. § Sin is not a mere action, but a deep-seated nature – a master that enslaves. § Sin is falling short of the glory of God – a falling short of the standard, a desiring of anything less than God – not just the equal-opposite of good. Slavery to sin, therefore, allows us only that one desire – sin, cf. James 1:14-15. o The slave does not remain in the house forever; § John is not describing slavery to sin here, but slavery in general. § The slave is not free – he will never stay permanently in a home but will have to go where the master wishes – he is bought and sold and given away and has no control over this. o the son remains forever. § The son (who is Christ) is a permanent resident as well as one with authority to buy and redeem any slave he sees. o Therefore, if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed. § Jesus has the right to permanently reside as well as the authority (of the Father, as seen in John 3:35, 8:21-30) to liberate slaves. § Not only will the slaves be liberated, but they will be liberated in every sense of the word – truly, really and incredibly free. § This is a work that only the Son can do, and not the slave. This is something not dependent on lineage, ability or good work that the slave has or does. § But this setting free is seen in our abiding in Christ’s word, not merely a statement of assent – it begins with us wanting to be free, and not thinking we are free already. A good means to understand freedom would be to define what it is – when you want to do something and have the power to do it with no (negative) consequence, you are free. What Christ offers, therefore, is total freedom - one can do whatever one wants with no negative consequence; what changes is what one wants to do , in abiding in Christ's word .
As He spoke these things,
As Jesus was speaking these things,
As he was saying these things, b many believed in him.
a many came to believe in Him.
many, not all, believed in him.
So Jesus was saying to those Jews who had believed Him,
Therefore, Jesus said to these Jews who had believed Him:
So Jesus said to the Jews who had believed him, c “If you abide in my word, you are truly my disciples,
“ a If you continue in My word ,
"If you remain, stay in and hold tightly to my word,
then you are truly b disciples of Mine;
only then are you really my disciples;
and a you will know the truth ,
not only that, you will know the truth
and you will d know the truth, and the truth e will set you free.”
and b the truth will make you free .”
and the truth will make you free ."
They answered Him, “ a We are Abraham’s descendants
The Jews responded, "Free? We are children of Abraham
They answered him, f “We are offspring of Abraham and have never been enslaved to anyone. How is it that you say, ‘You will become free’?”
and have never yet been enslaved to anyone;
and have never been not-free, i.e. spiritually enslaved , to anyone.
how is it that You say, ‘You will become free ’?”
On what basis are you saying that we will become free , if we are not slaves?
Jesus answered them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, a everyone who commits sin
Jesus answered them, "What I say to you is true and nothing but the truth: Every single person who does sin
Jesus answered them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, g everyone who practices sin is a slave 1 to sin.
is the slave of sin.
reflects that he is really a bond-slave, and that slavery is to sin.
a The slave does not remain in the house forever;
The slave is not someone who is free to stay in a house forever - he can be bought and sold and given away at the whim of his master,
h The slave does not remain in the house forever; i the son remains forever.
b the son does remain forever.
unlike a son of a house, who is a permanent member (and who also has the authority of the master of the household - the authority to redeem slaves).
So if the Son a makes you free ,
Therefore, if the Son of Man does set you free ,
So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed.
you will be free indeed.
you will be truly, totally free from your slavery."