Under the kingdom program, you could only be one of His disciples “if” you continued in His Word. What was His word? He uses that phrase “my word” in John 5:24, speaking of the gospel. Since the gospel then was “Jesus is the Christ,” that was the word they had to continue to believe to be saved. We see this phrase again when the Lord warned Tribulation saints to keep his word and not deny His name (Rev.3:8). In the Tribulation, Antichrist will claim that he is Christ, and to believe that he’s Christ you’d have to deny Jesus is Christ. If the dispensation of grace hadn’t interrupted the prophetic program, the “believ-ers” in John 8:30 would have entered the Tribulation, so the Lord tells them they must continue in His Word, not us.
Everyone quotes John 8:32, but no one bothers to learn what truth the Lord was saying would set you free! John the Baptist “bare witness unto the truth” (John 5:33), so we know “the truth” is Jesus is the Christ. That’s the truth that set men free. But from what? Most people who tell you that their truth will set you free can’t tell you from what!
The Pharisees thought He meant political freedom, so they claimed they were never in bondage (John 8:33). Seems they forgot about the seven times in the Book of Judges they were in bondage, the 70 years in Babylon, and how they were currently in bondage to Rome! Why would they say something so dumb? Racial pride. The Law stipulated if they were really bad, God would let them be taken captive. So to admit they were often in bondage would be to admit they were often really bad! The Lord responded to this lie by saying “Verily, verily” (8:34), or truly, truly, but doesn’t really call them on their lie. That’s because He wasn’t out to humiliate them, He was out to save them.
In saying that “whosoever committeth sin is the servant of sin,” He was telling us the kind of bondage of which He spoke, and this also tells us the kind of freedom He spoke of earlier. Slavery to sin was a recurring theme in the Bible. Ahab sold himself to do evil (only slaves are bought and sold). Notice Ahab sold himself to sin. Too many people blame the devil for their wickedness! Then there was Simon, who was in “the bond of iniquity” (Acts 8:23).
The Lord knew the Jews wouldn’t agree they were slaves to sin, after all, they were the seed of Abraham! So the Lord said that “whosoever” commits sin is the servant of sin (John 8:34). Some say that only those who practice sin are the servants of sin, but the Lord said that whoever commits sin is the slave of sin. That includes all unbelievers.
So what’s the solution to being in bondage to sin? Well, if you are a slave to sin today in the age of grace, you need to believe that form of doctrine that Paul delivered (Romans 6:17). Of course, his doctrine was “Christ died for our sins,” which was different than the form of doctrine you had to believe to be set free from sin in the Lord’s day.
In any house, servants come and go as they are bought and sold and occasionally run away. But all during the time that a master’s servants come and go, his son remains (John 8:35). Ishmael thought he should be Abraham’s heir since he was the firstborn, but God had other ideas (Gen. 21:9-12). The Pharisees were Abraham’s seed (John 8:33), but so was Ishmael! But God said Ishmael had to leave because he was born of a servant, and the time had come for the servant to leave the house! Only Isaac remained, the only son God recognized, and that’s what the Lord was saying to the Pharisees. They may have been Abraham’s seed, but so was Ishmael, and he had to leave. Isaac was the son, so he got to say, and he represented Christ. Only sons could stay in the house.
But what house? Moses was faithful in his house (Heb. 3:5), “the house of Israel,” a phrased used 152 times in Scripture. But that wasn’t his house, he was just a servant. Christ was the son over His own house (Heb.3:6). Christ is the son who gets to stay in the house, and all who believed in Him. As the writer adds, “whose house are we, if we hold fast.” In other words, if they continued in His word. But none of this has anything to do with us. We are not the house of Israel, and we do not have to hold fast or continue in His Word to be saved. Glory!