ATP Blog #58
Are you proud of your ancestors, those you are related to by blood? There seem to be three types of people: those who tell everyone who they are related to, those who aren’t ashamed but don’t talk about it much, and those who try to hide who they are related to. The Jews and the Arabs are all proud to be related to Abraham, the great man of faith. It may be for varying reasons, but in all, a good man to be related to. In today’s passage, Jesus challenges the religious authorities of Israel in what it really means to be related to Abraham!
Blood or Covenant? ‘They answered Him, ‘We are Abraham’s descendants, and have never been in bondage to anyone. How can you say, ‘You will be made free’?’ Were they not right in saying that they were Abraham’s descendants? The truth of the matter is, that Israel was descended from Abraham in both blood and covenant. They were born of the chosen son, Isaac, whereas the Arabs came from Ishmael and the sons of Keturah. To be born of blood, you cannot control, nor do anything about, but to be born into a covenant, you must keep the covenant.
Slave or Free? It is interesting that the leaders would say that they had ‘never been in bondage to anyone.’ Had they forgotten Egypt ... or the times of the Judges ... or the exile in Babylon and Persia? They had an arrogant view, that since they were born into the covenant, that they were ‘technically’ never a slave. Jesus righted that wrong by saying, ‘Whoever commits sin is a slave to sin.’ The truth is, that these leaders were living in sin (sin of pride perhaps?), and Jesus had to point out many times when they taught the law of the covenant, but did not keep it themselves. So, what right did they have to say they were children of Abraham?
Servant or Son? ‘A slave does not abide in the house forever, but a son abides forever. Therefore, if the Son makes you free, you will be free indeed.’ Thus, the big question is, if I am in sin (a slave to sin), then how do I become free? The answer was in the verses previous, ‘You will know the truth, and the truth will make you free.’ So then, the Son (Jesus Christ) sets a person free by way of the truth (which comes from God), making the believer a son or daughter of God by adoption, giving the person the privileges of a child, which a slave would never have. One of those privileges is ‘forever’ living in ‘the house.’
In or Out? To be free, then, means life forever in ‘the house’, which is the Kingdom of God. Where is this kingdom? Jesus would later specify that it is in our hearts, and would expand to a physical kingdom when He physically returns to earth. A slave is not a child (so being a slave to sin, the leaders had forfeited the right to be called children of Abraham!), and thus does not get to live in the house forever. It is a temporary arrangement, until the contract is up. So, are you in or out? Are you a slave, or are you free? Only the Son, Jesus Christ, can make you free, and this only if you believe ... truly believe, with your whole being (heart, mind, soul), and allow Him to change you into the person you were meant to be. You cannot do it on your own. Make the choice today! There are so many privileges to being free, and being a child of God.