I am reading in John 8, beginning with verse 12. Much of it I will summarize, for it is a lengthy passage of Scripture.
“Again Jesus spoke to them, saying, ‘I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will not walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.’” John 8:12 ESV
The Pharisees challenged Jesus’ words, questioning the validity of his testimony. Jesus responded to them by accusing them of judging him by human standards. And then he validated his own testimony by stating that he stood with God the Father who had sent him (vv. 13-18).
So, the Pharisees inquired of Jesus as to the whereabouts of his father. And Jesus replied, “You do not know me or my Father.” For, he said, “If you knew me, you would know my Father also” (v. 19).
Jesus then told them that he was going away, and they would look for him, but they would die in their sin, for where he was going they could not go. And then there was more discussion back and forth between him and the Pharisees. And as Jesus spoke, many believed in him (vv. 21-30).
“So Jesus said to the Jews who had believed him, ‘If you abide in my word, you are truly my disciples, and you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.’” John 8:31-32 ESV
The Jews who “believed him” were insulted at Jesus’ words to them (v. 33-34). They didn’t think they needed to be set free from anything. Jesus answered them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, everyone who practices sin is a slave to sin.” Paul taught the same thing (Rom 6:1-23; Rom 8:1-17).
Jesus went on to tell those who “believed him” that his word had no place in them, that they were of their father, the devil, and that their will was to do their father’s desires. For, they sought to kill Jesus who said that if God was their Father that they would love Jesus (vv. 35-47). And to love Jesus is to obey him (Jn 8:51; Jn 14:15-24; 1 Jn 2:3-6; 1 Jn 3:24; 1 Jn 5:3).
So, even though these Jews indicated some belief in Jesus, Jesus indicated that they had to continue in his word to be his disciples, and that they would know the truth and the truth would set them free. But if they practiced sin, they were slaves to sin, and their father was the devil, not God.
Paul taught the same thing, that the righteous requirement of the law is fulfilled in us who walk (in practice) according to the Spirit and not according to the flesh, and if we walk (in practice) according to the flesh, we will die in our sins, not have eternal life (Rom 8:1-17; Gal 5:16-21; Gal 6:7-8).
Belief in Jesus
So, this brings up the question: What did it mean that they believed (in or on) him? It was obviously not the kind of belief that saves, because Jesus said their father was the devil and that their will was to do their father’s desires. So, was it an emotional or intellectual belief?
This reminds me of the Parable of the Sower. There were four types of soil or receptive (or unreceptive) hearts. The first heard the gospel but didn’t respond. The second one heard the message and received it with joy, but it didn’t take root, it only lasted a short time. The third one heard the word, but the things of this world choked it out so it became unfruitful.
There was only one kind of soil (receptive heart) that was considered good, and that was one that heard the word, understood it, and produced a crop, yielding a hundred, sixty or thirty times what was sown.
So, this goes back to what Jesus said to those who “believed in him” or who “believed him.” “If you abide in my word, you are truly my disciples, and you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.”
The kind of belief or faith that saves is lasting belief that takes root and that bears fruit for God’s eternal kingdom. It abides (continues) in the word, not just in reading it, but in doing what it says. And it is this kind of faith which sets the sinner free from his slavery to sin and which assures him of eternal life with God in heaven (Jn 15:1-17; Jas 1:22-25; Col 1:21-23).
For, Jesus said, “Everyone who practices sin is a slave to sin,” and he taught and Paul taught that would end in death, not in life eternal with God. And that takes me back to verse 12 where Jesus said that whoever follows (obeys) him will not walk in darkness but will have the light of life.
For, Jesus said that if anyone would come after him, he must deny self and take up his cross daily (die daily to sin) and follow (obey) Jesus. For, he said, if we hold on to our old lives (of living for sin and self), we will lose them for eternity. But if we lose our lives for his sake (if we die with him to sin), then we will have eternal life with God (Lu 9:23-26; Rom 8:1-17).
So, a profession or a confession of faith in Jesus Christ is not enough to save you from your sins and secure you heaven as your eternal destiny. Jesus taught and Paul taught that we must walk according to the Spirit and not according to the flesh if we want to have eternal life with God.
And they both taught that if we continue living in sin, in slavery to sin, we will lose our lives for eternity. We will not have eternal life with God. For, we are all going to be judged by what we do, by our deeds (or works). If we sow to please the flesh, it will end in death. But if we sow to please the Spirit, it will end in eternal life with God. So, take this to heart.
[Lu 9:23-26; Rom 6:1-23; Rom 8:1-17; Eph 4:17-24; 1 Jn 1:5-9; 1 Jn 2:3-6; Gal 5:16-21; Eph 5:3-6; Gal 6:7-8; Rom 2:6-8; 1 Co 6:9-10; 2 Co 5:10]
He Lifted Our Burdens
An Original Work / February 15, 2014
Based off Isaiah 9:2-7
People walk in darkness.
They abide in their sin.
It has power o’er them.
True belief escapes them.
Jesus Christ came to save them.
He gave His life up for them;
Crucified; died for our sin,
So we might be forgiven,
And have life up in heaven.
Many come to know Him.
God’s love now o’erflows them.
They rejoice in vict’ry.
Their sin is but hist’ry.
We were once bound in slav’ry.
Jesus lifted our burdens;
Set us now free from Satan,
So we now walk in freedom.
Sin has no more dominion.
Praise be to our Savior!
He showed us His favor.
He took all our burdens;
Cast them all upon Him.
He is our mediator;
The Light which shines in darkness.
Counselor in our troubles;
He gives peace now in our hearts;
Joy which is everlasting.