As He spoke these things, many came to believe in Him. 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. “I speak the things which I have seen with My Father; therefore you also do the things which you heard from your father.” They answered and said to Him, “Abraham is our father.” Jesus *said to them, “If you are Abraham’s children, do the deeds of Abraham. “But as it is, you are seeking to kill Me, a man who has told you the truth, which I heard from God; this Abraham did not do. “You are doing the deeds of your father.” They said to Him, “We were not born of fornication; we have one Father: God.” Jesus said to them, “If God were your Father, you would love Me, for I proceeded forth and have come from God, for I have not even come on My own initiative, but He sent Me. “Why do you not understand what I am saying? It is because you cannot hear My word. “You are of your father the devil, and you want to do the desires of your father. He was a murderer from the beginning, and does not stand in the truth because there is no truth in him. Whenever he speaks a lie, he speaks from his own nature, for he is a liar and the father of lies. “But because I speak the truth, you do not believe Me. (John 8:30-45)
Following the attempt to trap Jesus with the adulterous woman, the Pharisees challenged the witness of the Lord as being untrue. Jesus always deferred to the will of His Father and the Pharisees asked Him to declare who His father was. Throughout His teaching, He would speak of the relationship He shared with the heavenly Father causing anger among the Jewish leaders. They could not see the works He did as evidence of His Sonship with the Father. Their hearts were filled with the pride of the ancestral Jewish heritage rooted in being children of Abraham. It is interesting they told Jesus they had never been in bondage to anyone. Somehow they forgot the captivities of Assyria, Babylon, Persia, Greeks and now the Romans.
Jesus acknowledges the Jews were the descendants of Abraham from the physical seed but they failed to see the importance of being the seed of Abraham in the spiritual sense. If they were the children of Abraham by faith, they would see that Jesus was the Son of God. Instead, they sought to kill Jesus. Their hearts were not guided by the word of truth but the word of their heritage. They boldly proclaimed that Abraham was their father and Jesus turned their argument against them saying Abraham would have accepted Jesus as the Son of God. The Jews respond by saying that God was their father and they had only one father. Playing on the use of ‘father,’ Jesus again tells them they are acting like another father – the devil. The end of this conversation angered the Jews so much they took up stones to throw at Jesus but He hid Himself and passed by.
The Jews prided themselves in being the children of Abraham more than being the children of God. They boldly proclaimed God was their father but their hearts told a different story. If they were children of Abraham, they would only be children of God. Abraham was never intended to be worshipped as a replacement for the one true Father. Physical heritage does not save a man. Being a child of Abraham did not save a person. Having the faith of Abraham would save a man. In the end, the unbelieving Jews were children of Satan because they built their hope on a heritage of man’s pride.
Salvation will only come to those who seek the one true Father – Jehovah God. Being born to a ‘Christian family’ does not save a person. The blessings of being raised in a home where God is the center will not bring about salvation simply because of a physical heritage. True faith comes from a heart that believes, accepts and embraces the love of the one true Father on a personal basis. Going to church services every week does not make a Christian. Doing all the right things in the right way does not make a Christian. Claiming a father’s heritage of the flesh will not save. Obedience comes from a heart devoted to the Heavenly Father. When we follow any other father – we really serve Satan.
Faith, like the whole Christian life, is an encounter in which God takes and keeps the initiative. (Eugene Joly, What is Faith, 1958)