NOT PART OF THE HOUSE
In the eighth chapter of John, the scribes and Pharisees are (as usual) all riled up. First they bring to Jesus a woman caught in adultery, hoping to trap Him into saying something they could use against Him. Then Jesus tells them He’s the light of the world, they say His testimony about Himself isn’t true, and He says His Father testifies about Him. They ask who His Father is, and Jesus says they know neither Him nor His Father. Then Jesus says He’s not of this world, He’s going away, and where He’s going they can’t go—and they don’t think much of that either.
Then in verses 31-37:
So Jesus was saying to those Jews who had believed Him, “If you continue in My word, then you are truly disciples of Mine; and you will know the truth, and the truth will make you free.”
They answered Him, “We are Abraham’s descendants and have never yet been enslaved to anyone; how is it that You say, ‘You will become free’?”
Jesus answered them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, everyone who commits sin is the slave of sin. The slave does not remain in the house forever; the son does remain forever. So if the Son makes you free, you will be free indeed. I know that you are Abraham’s descendants; yet you seek to kill Me, because My word has no place in you.”
This chapter shows why the religious leaders were so angry with Jesus, trying to trap Him and plotting to kill Him: He was saying that they, physical descendants of Abraham, leaders of the Jews, the ones most devoted to tradition, the ones who had set themselves up as interpreters and arbiters of the Jewish law, were not members of the household of God. They were outsiders, slaves. They considered themselves as sons of the house, like Isaac, but instead they were like Ishmael, Abraham’s son with his servant Hagar—not part of the house.
THE SON REMAINS FOREVER
The scribes and Pharisees at least had the claim of being descended from Abraham. But what about those of us who don’t even have the claim of the old covenant? We have no claim to God’s family at all. Trying to do good things, hoping that God will notice us, will never be sufficient. We’re still outsiders.
For we once were disobedient, deceived, enslaved to sin.
But when the kindness of God our Savior
and His love for mankind appeared,
He saved us,
not on the basis of deeds which we have done,
but according to His mercy,
which He poured out upon us richly
through Jesus Christ our Savior,
so that being justified by His grace
we would be made heirs
according to the hope of eternal life.
Made heirs, Paul says. No longer slaves, but heirs. And this is the message of the gospel: it’s for anyone who will receive it. Everyone is equally on the outside, and everyone can be welcomed to the inside. There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free man, there is neither male nor female; for you are all one in Christ Jesus. And if you belong to Christ, then you are Abraham’s descendants, heirs according to promise (Galatians 3:28-29).
This is the new covenant in Christ’s blood. The old covenant, the Old Testament system of the laws of Moses and the ongoing sacrifices for the atonement for sin, which was reserved for the Jews, is gone, and in its place is the Lamb of God who gave Himself as the ultimate sacrifice. He alone can set us free.
Our Evening of Worship is focused on this new covenant, following the progression of the passage in Titus 3 from sin to redemption to eternal hope.
We start with our need for a Redeemer. The Jews in John 8 saw no need for someone to set them free because they didn’t recognize their own bondage. But we must first acknowledge that we are indeed sinners, broken vessels before God. We’re using the words of Psalm 51 to cry out to God to restore us:
Have mercy on me, O God,
according to Your steadfast love;
according to Your abundant mercy
blot out my transgressions.
Wash me thoroughly from my iniquity,
and cleanse me from my sin.
For I know my transgressions,
and my sin is ever before me.
Against You, You only, have I sinned
and done what is evil in Your sight,
so that You may be justified in Your words
and blameless in Your judgment.
From there we follow the story of the Son: His great love, His sacrifice, His defeat of death. We’ll see Him as the Man of Sorrows and as the resurrected King. We’ll stand in awe of the One who gave it all. Finally we’ll close in celebration of our living hope:
Hallelujah! Praise the One who set me free!
Hallelujah! Death has lost its grip on me.
You have broken every chain;
There’s salvation in Your name.
Jesus Christ, my living hope!
The world offers us all kinds of false hope: the wisdom of men, the idea of “do good things and you’ll go to heaven,” the pursuit of false gods, the distraction of entertainment, the invitation to ignore the whole issue. No one holding onto these will find true freedom. All of these things will ultimately crumble.
But if the Son sets us free, we are free indeed.
Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! In His great mercy He has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead.
—1 Peter 1:3
Come join us on Saturday, July 27 at 6:30 p.m. for Free Indeed: An Evening of Worship. Come celebrate true freedom found only through the Son of the Father. Join with us to sing His praises and worship His name. Gather with us as heirs to our Father’s house!