If the Son therefore shall make you free, you shall be free indeed.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)If the Son therefore shall make you free.—Now the thought of John 8:31-32 is repeated in special reference to the position they had claimed for themselves. There is need for the emancipation of which He has spoken, and His mission in the world is to proclaim it. If they will enter into spiritual union with Him, and abide in this new spiritual relation, it will make them new creatures, freed from sin by the power of truth. In the language of St. Paul, as quoted above, “Christ will be formed in them.” They will become “members of Christ” and “children of God.” The Son of the divine household will make them free, and in Him they will become members of the great family of God Himself. (Comp. the same thought of the divine household as addressed by St. Paul specially to Gentiles, in Ephesians 2:11-22. See also in this Gospel, John 14:2-3.)
Ye shall be free indeed.—Or, ye shall be free in reality.—The word is not the same as that rendered “indeed,” in John 8:31. They claimed political freedom, but they were in reality the subjects of Rome. They claimed religious freedom, but they were in reality the slaves to the letter. They claimed moral freedom, but they were in reality the bondmen of sin. The freedom which the Son proclaimed was in reality freedom, for it was the freedom of their true life delivered from the thraldom of sin and brought into union with God. For the spirit of man, that in knowledge of the truth revealed through the Son can contemplate the Father and the eternal home, there is a real freedom that no power can restrain. All through this context the thoughts pass unbidden to the teaching of St. Paul, the great apostle of freedom. There could be no fuller illustration of the words than is furnished in his life. He, like St. Peter and St. John (Romans 1:1, e.g.; 2Peter 1:1; Revelation 1:1), had learnt to regard himself as a “bondservant,” but it was of Christ, “whose service is perfect freedom.” We feel, as we think of him in bonds before Agrippa, or a prisoner at Rome, that he is more truly free than governor or Cæsar before whom he stands, and more truly free than he himself was when he was armed with authority to bind men and women because they were Christians. The chains that bind the body cannot bind the spirit, whose chains have been loosed. He is free indeed, for the Son has made him free.
Shall make you free - Shall deliver you from the bondage and dominion of sin.the Son in this verse be the same with the Son mentioned in the former verse, they must both be understood of Christ: for it is most certain, that here the Son can signify no more than Christ, to whom alone it belongeth to make souls free from the slavery of the law, sin, death, hell, &c. Now, saith our Saviour, this is the true freedom. Alas! What is the freedom you boast of and glory in? It is not the freedom of your inward man, if you were in the fullest actual possession of it; many a one in that sense free, hath a base, servile, slavish mind, and is a servant to corruption and lusts. It is only the freedom which I give unto souls, that is a true and perfect liberty, and is alone worthy the name of it.
"a man having a son or a daughter by his maidservant, that which is born of her, since of a servant, is without doubt a servant: wherefore if he (the son) should say, this is my natural brother or my natural sister; for since my father had children by his maidservant, "whom he did not make free"; and he dying the law has made me lord of these, , "I have made these free", because of their natural kindred.''
This is allowed to be a just and good reason of manumission. Now this answers very much to the case in hand. Men are home born slaves; the chosen people of God are such by nature; they are born in sin, and are the servants of it; Christ the Son makes them free; and then they are no more foreigners and strangers, but fellow citizens with the saints, and of the household of God. This suggests, that true freedom is by Jesus Christ, the Son of God; see Galatians 5:1. He it is that makes the saints free from sin; not from the being of it in this life, but from the bondage and servitude of it, from its power and dominion, and from its guilt and liableness to punishment for it, by procuring the pardon of their sins through his blood, and justifying their persons by his righteousness: he also makes them free, or delivers them from the captivity of Satan, by ransoming them out of his hands, taking the prey from the mighty, binding the strong man armed, and delivering them from him, and from the power of darkness, and putting them into his own kingdom; he does not indeed free them altogether from his temptations, but he preserves them by his power from being hurt and destroyed by him: he likewise makes his people free from the law, not only the ceremonial law, which is abolished by him, but from the moral law; not from obedience to it, as it is in his hands, and a rule of walk and conversation to them, but as in the hands of Moses, and as a covenant of works, and from the rigorous exaction of it, and from seeking justification and life by it, and from its curse and condemnation: and he gives them freedom of access to God, as their Father, through his blood and by his Spirit; and admits them to all the privileges and immunities of the church below; and gives them a right to, faith in, and an expectation of the glorious liberty of the children of God hereafter; and such are truly Christ's freemen:
ye shall be free indeed; this is true freedom; what the Jews boasted of, supposing what they said was right, was but a shadow of freedom in comparison of this; and that liberty which sinful men promise themselves in sin, is all deceit; there is no true, solid, substantial freedom but what is by Christ, the Son of God. Even that freedom which the children of God had under the legal dispensation, was a servitude, in comparison of that which the saints enjoy by Christ under the Gospel dispensation; though they were sons and heirs, yet being in bondage, differed nothing from servants, being under tutors and governors, in bondage under the elements of the world, and under the influence of a spirit of bondage unto fear; see Galatians 4:1; but such that have received the spirit of adoption from Christ, they are really free: they have not only the name of children, and of freemen, but they are truly such, and wholly so; perhaps there may be some reference had to such sort of persons among the Jews, who were partly servants, and partly free: so it is said (i),
, "he who is half a servant", or partly a servant, and partly free, shall serve his master one day, and himself another.''
And such an one, as the commentators (k) say, is one who is a servant of two partners, and is made free by one of them; or who has paid half his price to his master (for his freedom), but the other half is still due: and of one in such circumstances it is said (l), that
"he that is partly a servant, and partly free, may not eat of his master's (lamb at the passover):''
but now those who are made free by Christ the Son of God, they are not in part only, but are wholly free, and have a right to all the privileges of his house, to the supper of the Lord, and to every other immunity.
(h) Theophili Antecensor. Institut. Imperat. Justinian. l. 1. tit. 6. sect. 5. p. 38. (i) Misn. Gittin, c. 4. sect. 5. & Ediot, c. 1. sect. 13. (k) Maimonides, Jarchi, & Bartenora in ib. (l) Misn. Pesachim, c. 8. sect. 1.If the Son therefore shall make you free, ye shall be free indeed.
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)36. If the Son therefore, &c.] As before, any son is meant. ‘If the son emancipates you, your freedom is secured; for he is always on the spot to see that his emancipation is carried out.’ The statement is general, but of course with special reference to the Son of God. If they will abide in His word (John 8:31), He will abide in them (John 6:56), and will take care that the bondage from which His word has freed them is not thrust upon them again.
shall be free indeed] Not the same word as is translated ‘indeed’ in John 8:31. ‘Indeed’ or ‘in reality’ may do here; ‘in truth’ or ‘truly’ in John 8:31. Both words are opposed to mere appearance.John 8:36. Ὁ ὑιός) the Son, the only-begotten.Verse 36. - Therefore if the Son - who abideth ever in the Father's bosom, and fills the house with his glory, and is the Heir of all things - make you free, ye shall be free indeed (ὄντως, "essentially," only here used by St. John, who elsewhere uses the word ἀληθῶς, ver. 31; John 1:48; John 4:42; John 7:40; John 6:14). The Son is he who gives power to become the sons of God. "The law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus frees from the law of sin and death" (Romans 8:2). Only by acquiring the true spirit and regenerated life of a son can any man be delivered from the bondage induced by ignorance of the actual truth about God, about man, and about the relation between God and man. This knowledge is produced by the Son of God, who is the Truth. A full and believing apprehension of the Son of God, a realization of what he is, confers a new life and reveals the wonderful possibilities and relations of human nature. The incarnation of the Son of God as a veritable Son of man emancipates the soul fettered by the tyranny of nature and baffled by the mastery of time and sense, inasmuch as it discloses the august majesty of its own origin. Essential freedom accrues to him who knows that sin is pardoned, that death is vanquished, that the prince of this world is cast out. The eager Jew might look through the battered walls of Zion and the charred fragments of its gorgeous temple, and still see the adamantine structure and its agelong triumph. But the disciples of Jesus, with John as their leader, when these words were recorded by him as they fell from the Lord in their true connection, saw the new Jerusalem coming down out of heaven as a bride adorned for her husband, with its open gates, its crystal stream, and the Lord God Almighty and the Lamb as the Light of it. The freedom of a perfect service and the glorious liberty of the sons of God was theirs, in proportion as they accepted their emancipation from the Son himself (1 Corinthians 7:22; Romans 8:35, 36; 2 Corinthians 3:18). The sons are "free indeed," whatever the world, or the Hebrew Christians, or the philosophers might think or say.
Used by John only here. It means essentially.
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