John 8:35
And the servant stays not in the house for ever: but the Son stays ever.
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(35) And the servant abideth not.—Better, Now the bondman abideth not . . ., as in the last verse.

The Son abideth ever.—Better, for ever, as in the earlier clause. The Greek words are precisely the same. This contrast between the position of the slave, who is a chattel that may be bought or bartered or sold, and has no affinity with the members of the house, and no permanent right in it; and the son, in whose veins is the master’s blood, and who is heir of all things, is obvious and general; but here, again, the present meaning is special. They claim to be the seed of Abraham. Did they remember the history of Isaac and Ishmael? The son of the freewoman abideth in the house; the son of the bondmaid is cast out. Here, once again, too, we have the pupil of Gamaliel taking up and expanding this thought, showing that it was within the range of current exposition. Read carefully Galatians 4:19-31, remembering that the Epistle belongs to the middle of the half-century which separates the utterance of these words by Christ from their record by St. John.

The Greek word for “abideth” is the word which is rendered “continue” in John 8:31, and the Authorised version further obscures the connection by placing a paragraph division between these verses. If we read again John 8:31-32, noting the close connection between abiding, truth, and freedom; and the next verses, John 8:35-36, noting the connection between abiding, the Son, and freedom, we shall have, it is believed, a simpler clue to the meaning than any of the usual explanations.

Our version misleads by the use of the capital. The word “Son” in this verse, should be read “son.” The clause is the expression of a legal maxim holding good for all servants and for all sons, but here specially applied to the sonship in Abraham’s household. It is not before the next verse that there is the transference of thought to the Son in the household of the Divine Father. In this verse the thought is that if they were really the children of Abraham they would be of Abraham’s spiritual nature, abiding in his home, and inheriting the promises made to him. They had not continued in the spiritual freedom of sons, but had departed from the house and had become, spiritually, bondmen.

8:30-36 Such power attended our Lord's words, that many were convinced, and professed to believe in him. He encouraged them to attend his teaching, rely on his promises, and obey his commands, notwithstanding all temptations to evil. Thus doing, they would be his disciples truly; and by the teaching of his word and Spirit, they would learn where their hope and strength lay. Christ spoke of spiritual liberty; but carnal hearts feel no other grievances than those that molest the body, and distress their worldly affairs. Talk to them of their liberty and property, tell them of waste committed upon their lands, or damage done to their houses, and they understand you very well; but speak of the bondage of sin, captivity to Satan, and liberty by Christ; tell of wrong done to their precious souls, and the hazard of their eternal welfare, then you bring strange things to their ears. Jesus plainly reminded them, that the man who practised any sin, was, in fact, a slave to that sin, which was the case with most of them. Christ in the gospel offers us freedom, he has power to do this, and those whom Christ makes free are really so. But often we see persons disputing about liberty of every kind, while they are slaves to some sinful lust.The servant abideth not ... - The servant does not, of course, remain forever, or until his death. with his master. If he is disobedient and wicked, the master sells him or turns him away. He is not the heir, and may at any time be expelled from the house of his master. But a son is the heir. He cannot be in this manner cast off or sold. He is privileged with the right of remaining in the family. This takes place in common life. So said the Saviour to the Jews: "You, if you are disobedient and rebellious, may at any time be rejected from being the people of God, and be deprived of your special privileges as a nation. You are in the condition of servants, and unless you are made free by the gospel, and become entitled to the privilege of the sons of God, you will be cast off like an unfaithful slave." Compare Hebrews 3:5-6.

Abideth not - Remains not, or has not the legal right to remain. He may at any time be rejected or sold.

In the house - In the family of his master.

For ever - During the whole time of his life.

The Son - The heir. He remains, and cannot be sold or cast off.

Ever - Continually. Till the day of his death. This is the privilege of a son, to inherit and dispose of the property.

35. And the servant abideth not in the house for ever, but the Son abideth ever—that is, "And if your connection with the family of God be that of BOND-SERVANTS, ye have no natural tie to the house; your tie is essentially uncertain and precarious. But the Son's relationship to the Father is a natural and essential one; it is an indefeasible tie; His abode in it is perpetual and of right: That is My relationship, My tie: If, then, ye would have your connection with God's family made real, rightful, permanent, ye must by the Son be manumitted and adopted as sons and daughters of the Lord Almighty." In this sublime statement there is no doubt a subordinate allusion to Ge 21:10, "Cast out this bondwoman and her son, for the son of this bond-woman shall not be heir with my son, with Isaac." (Compare Ga 4:22-30). The servant of sin abideth not in the church (which is the house of God) for ever. Look as it is with slaves, and servants; they are no fixed members of families; they may be turned out, they may be sold over to others; they abide in families according as in them they behave themselves: so you, who, as you are Abraham’s seed, as you boast and glory, are now servants in the church of God; yet if you continue to be servants of sin, you shall not for ever abide in God’s house; if you be not cast out of the church militant, you shall certainly be cast out of the church triumphant; that is, you shall never come there.

But the Son; some think he speaks of himself who was the eternal Son of God, he

abideth ever; but I rather think he speaks of him that is a son by adoption, John 1:12 Romans 8:15,16. So as this text showeth us the remarkable difference betwixt a nominal professor, and one who is a true believer: the one is but as a servant in God’s house, to whom belongeth no inheritance; though while he is in the family, he enjoys some common privileges which a mere stranger hath no right to: the other is a son, and hath a right to the inheritance, and so shall never be cast out of the family, but abideth in it for ever. And the servant abideth not in the house for ever,.... The servant of God, and of Christ, does, but not the servant of sin: there may be servants of sin in the house or church of God here below; and such were these Jews Christ is speaking to; but such shall not abide there for ever: some that get into this house are quickly discerned, as Simon Magus was, and are soon removed; and others that may stay longer, are sometimes suffered to fall into some foul sin, or into some gross error and heresy, for which they are cast out of the house or church of God, according to the rules of God's word; others make parties, draw disciples after them, and separate themselves, and go out of their own accord, to serve their own purposes: and others, when persecution and tribulation arise because of the word, they are offended and gone; this is the fan with which Christ sometimes winnows his floor, and removes the chaff; and those that continue longest, even to the end of their days, or of the world, or the second coming of Christ, as the foolish virgins, will then be discerned and separated; for the ungodly shall not stand in judgment, nor sinners in the congregation of the righteous; they shall not enter into the house above, into the house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens, which is Christ's Father's house: none but sons are brought to glory; these are the only heirs of salvation; others will be bid to depart, as workers of iniquity, as the servants of sin; even such who have made a profession of religion, and have been, and have had a standing in the house of God below. The allusion is to the case of servants in common; and, in a literal sense, it is true both of good and bad servants: good servants do not always continue in their master's house; even an Hebrew servant, that loved his master, and would not go out free at the end of his servitude; and who, after having his ear bored, is said to serve him for ever, Exodus 21:6; yet that "for ever" was but until the year of jubilee, whether near or remote, as the Jewish commentators (d) in general explain it; nay, if his master died before that time, he went out free: he was not obliged to serve his son or heirs; and so say the Misnic doctors (e):

"one that is bored is obtained by boring, and he possesses himself (or becomes free) by the year of jubilee, and by the death of his master.''

And to this agrees what Maimonides (f) says;

"he that has served six years, and will not go out, lo, this is bored, and he serves until the year of jubilee, or until his master dies; and although he leaves a son, he that is bored does not serve the son; which may be learned from the letter of the words, "he shall serve him", not his son, "for ever", until the jubilee: from whence it appears, that he that is bored does not possess himself (or is free) but by the jubilee, and by the death of his master.''

And one of their writers (g) observes, that the word rendered, "shall serve him", is by Gematry, and not his son. And among the Romans, good servants were oftentimes made free, and bad ones were turned out, and put into a work house, to grind corn in mills, a sort of bridewell; and such evil servants may more especially be respected, since Christ is speaking of servants of sin:

but the Son abideth ever: the Son of God, the only begotten Son of God the Lord Jesus Christ will always continue as a Son in his own house, as the Lord and proprietor of it; and as an high priest over it, having an unchangeable priesthood; and as he that takes care of it, provides for it, and manages all the affairs thereof, the family in heaven and in earth being named of him. And as he, so all the adopted sons of God shall continue, being pillars in this house, that shall never go out: such are no more servants, nor foreigners, but fellow citizens with the saints and of the household of God; and being sons, are heirs and shall never be cast out, as the bondwoman and her son have been: but these being the children of the free, shall for ever enjoy the inheritance they are adopted to; once sons, always so; the relation ever continues; they will ever remain in the family, and being entitled to the heavenly estate, shall ever possess it.

(d) Jarchi, Aben Ezra, & ben Gersom in Exodus 21.6. (e) Misn. Kiddushin, c. 1. sect. 1.((f) Hilchot Abadim, c. 3. sect. 6, 7. (g) Baal Hatturim in Exodus 21.6.

And the servant abideth not in the house for ever: but the Son abideth ever.
John 8:35-36. But what prospect is there before the slave of sin? Exclusion from the kingdom of the Messiah! This threat Jesus clothes in the general principle of civil life, that a slave has no permanent place in the house; he must allow himself to be sold, exchanged, or cast out. Comp. Genesis 21:10; Galatians 4:30. The application intended to be made of this general principle is this: “The servant of sin does not remain eternally in the theocracy, but is cast out of the midst of the people of God at the establishment of the kingdom of Messiah.” There is nothing to indicate that ὁ δοῦλος is intended to refer to Ishmael as a type of the bastard sons of Abraham, and ὁ υἱός to Isaac as a type of Christ (Ebrard); such a view rather is out of accord with this general expression in its present tense form, which simply marks an universally existing legal relation between the different positions of the slave and the Son of the house.

εἰς τὸν αἰῶνα] for ever, an expression to be understood in harmony with the relation which has been figuratively represented. After αἰῶνα a full stop should be inserted, with Lachmann and Kling, because ἐὰν οὗν, etc., is a consequence deduced simply from ὁ υἱὸς μ. εἰς τ. αἰ., not from what precedes, and because ὁ υἱὸς, etc., begins a new section in the logical progress of the discourse. The course of thought, namely, is this: (1) Whoever commits sin is the bondsman of sin, and is excluded from the Messianic people of God. (2) Quite different from the lot of the bondsman, who must quit the house, is that of the Son (of the Master of the house); hence it is this latter who procures for you actual freedom.

ὁ υἱὸς μένει εἰς τ. αἰῶνα] namely, ἐν τῇ οἰκίᾳ,—also a general proposition or principle, but with an intentional application of the general expression ὁ υἱός to Christ, who, as the Son of God, retains for ever His position and power in the house of God, i.e. in the theocracy;[22] comp. Hebrews 3:5-6. From this μένει εἰς τ. αἰῶνα it follows (οὖν) that if He frees from the state of a bondsman, a real and not merely an apparent freedom commences, seeing that, on account of the perpetual continuance of His domestic rights in the theocracy, the emancipation effected by Him must have a real and finally valid result. This would not necessarily be the case if He remained merely for a time in the house; for as both His right and ἐξουσία would then lack certainty and permanence, so the freedom He procured would also lack the guarantee of reality. This line of argumentation presupposes, moreover, that the Father does not Himself directly actin the theocracy; He has entrusted to the Son the power and control.

The reference of ὁ δοῦλος to Moses (Euth. Zigabenus, after Chrysostom) is foreign and opposed to the text, see John 8:34. Grotius, however, aptly remarks: “tribuitur hic filio quod modo veritati, quia eam profert filius.”

ὄντως] in reality; every other freedom is mere appearance (comp. John 8:33), not corresponding to its true nature; no other is ἡ παντελὴς καὶ ἀπὸ πασῶν ἀρχῶν ἐλευθερία (Plat. Legg. iii. p. 698 A), which alone is that gained through Christ, 1 Corinthians 3:22; Romans 8:35-36; 2 Corinthians 6:4-5.

[22] If the man who is morally free be supposed to be the object of the intended application of ὁ υἱός—the man, namely, who “holds not merely an historical relation to God, but one that is essential, because ethically conditioned” (Luthardt, comp. De Wette)—we should have to take the second ὁ υἱός in the sensu eminenti (of Christ). The text, however, especially as ver. 36 is connected with ver. 35 by οἶν, offers no ground for this distinction. Hence, also, it is wrong to apply ὁ υἱός in ver. 35 to those who are liberated by Christ along with Christ (Hengstenberg). These first come under consideration in ver. 36.35. And the servant, &c.] The transition is somewhat abrupt, the mention of ‘bond-servant’ suggesting a fresh thought. Now the bond-servant (not the bond-servant of sin, but any slave) abideth not in the house for ever: the son (not the Son of God, but any son) abideth for ever. “The thought is throughout profound and instructive; and to a Jew, always ready to picture to himself the theocracy or the kingdom of heaven under the form of a household, it would be easily intelligible.” S. p. 157.John 8:35. Δοῦλος) slave, in social standing: slave-like, of illiberal [base] disposition, and so committing sin.—ἐν τῇ οἰκίᾳ) in the house of the Father.—ὁ ὑιός) The Son, the only-begotten. Comp. ver. following, “If the Son shall make you free,” etc. The article here has a greater force, than in the antithetic words, ὁ δοῦλος.—μένει, abideth) in the house. The allusion is, inasmuch as the question is concerning Abraham, to Genesis 21:10, “Sarah said to Abraham, Cast out this bondwoman and her son—Hagar and Ishmael—for the son of this bondwoman shall not be heir with my son—Isaac;” Genesis 25:5, “Abraham gave all that he had unto Isaac:” comp. Galatians 4:22, etc., “He who was of the bondwoman, was born after the flesh, but he of the free woman was by promise, which things are an allegory,” etc.Verse 35. - This being the fact as to sin and its servitude, the Lord proceeds to deal with servitude in God's house. Servitude and its spirit are manifested in the house of the Father. The bond slave abideth not in the house forever. So long as he is a bond slave and not emancipated from the fetters of mere race, so long as he is ruled by the servile spirit, there is no perpetuity about his relation to the Father. He can be sold away (Genesis 21:10; Galatians 4:30). An involuntary subject of the Law, who belongs to the theocracy as a slave merely, and because he cannot help himself, and occupies a position which a slave does in the family of sin, has lost all freedom and spontaneity in his service, and will find himself cast out at last. But the son abideth forever. Sonship is the only principle on which continuance in the house can be secured. It has been much debated whether the ὁ υἱός of the thirty-fifth verse goes beyond the idea of sonship, the generic antithesis to the idea of slave. Certainly this seems the primary reference. In the following verse, the Son, in his loftiest functions, and as identifying himself with "the truth" of ver. 32, entirely fulfils the conception of "Sonship" and eternal abiding in the Father's house, and therefore is entrusted with the power of emancipating all slaves, of adopting sons into the Father's royal house. Thus we may suppose that the first use of the term "son," though laying special emphasis on the spirit and conditions of sonship, yet points to him who entirely embodies, enshrines, and has from before all worlds realized the Divine idea of Son - the only begotten Son - in the bosom of the Father. Abideth not in the house forever

A slave has no permanent place in the house. He may be sold, exchanged, or cast out. Compare Genesis 21:10; Galatians 4:30. House. See Hebrews 3:6; John 14:2. The elder son in the parable of the prodigal (Luke 15:29), denies his sonship by the words, "These many years do I serve thee (δουλεύω)."

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