by Mike Ratliff
διὰ τί τὴν λαλιὰν τὴν ἐμὴν οὐ γινώσκετε; ὅτι οὐ δύνασθε ἀκούειν τὸν λόγον τὸν ἐμόν. ὑμεῖς ἐκ τοῦ πατρὸς τοῦ διαβόλου ἐστὲ καὶ τὰς ἐπιθυμίας τοῦ πατρὸς ὑμῶν θέλετε ποιεῖν. ἐκεῖνος ἀνθρωποκτόνος ἦν ἀπ᾽ ἀρχῆς καὶ ἐν τῇ ἀληθείᾳ οὐκ ἔστηκεν, ὅτι οὐκ ἔστιν ἀλήθεια ἐν αὐτῷ. ὅταν λαλῇ τὸ ψεῦδος, ἐκ τῶν ἰδίων λαλεῖ, ὅτι ψεύστης ἐστὶν καὶ ὁ πατὴρ αὐτοῦ. (John 8:43-44 NA27)
“Why do you not understand what I say? Because you are not able to hear my words. You are of your father the devil, and your will is to do the desires of your father. He was a murderer from the beginning and the truth is not in him. When he speaks a lie it is from his own character, because he is a liar and the father of lies.” (a personal translation of John 8:43-44 from the NA27 Greek text)
Christianity, true Christianity, is not about feelings or experiences as “proof” of its veracity. No, read the accounts given to us in the book of Acts and in the rest of the New Testament. It is all about real events that happened that were witnessed by real people. Jesus was a real person who walked and ministered. He was illegally arrested, tried, and executed. However, He was resurrected after three days and nights in the tomb. Real people witnessed all of these things. No one has ever been able to provide evidence to refute any of it. Paul said that Jesus’ resurrection is the key to our hope and if it is not true then our religion is false. The reason we can know that it was true is that we have the proof of eyewitness accounts of it in the Word of God. Therefore, when so called “christian leaders” in our time write books or give interviews or whatever in which they attempt to refute the Gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ, His deity, or the fact of the His resurrection or even they try to simply cast doubt on any of it, we must understand that those we are listening to have a different spiritual father than genuine Christians.
In Genesis 3:1 when the serpent says to the woman, “Did God actually say…?” we must understand that this is the enemy of our souls talking here and what he is doing is attempting to muddy the waters, to cast doubt on what God has actually said. Remember, the liberals like Rob Bell and those who emulate him elevate to honor those who doubt or those who are skeptical. These people want God’s truth to be fuzzy and undefined so that our fallen human reasoning which is poisoned by the world can fill in the blanks. When this very type of religious reasoning comes up against God’s truth sparks fly. Jesus would not back down and we must follow His lead. In this post we will look at John 8:39-59 which is a continuation of the same discussion from last night’s post from John 8:12-38.
ἀπεκρίθησαν καὶ εἶπαν αὐτῷ· ὁ πατὴρ ἡμῶν Ἀβραάμ ἐστιν. λέγει αὐτοῖς ὁ Ἰησοῦς· εἰ τέκνα τοῦ Ἀβραάμ ἐστε, τὰ ἔργα τοῦ Ἀβραὰμ ἐποιεῖτε· νῦν δὲ ζητεῖτέ με ἀποκτεῖναι ἄνθρωπον ὃς τὴν ἀλήθειαν ὑμῖν λελάληκα ἣν ἤκουσα παρὰ τοῦ θεοῦ· τοῦτο Ἀβραὰμ οὐκ ἐποίησεν. ὑμεῖς ποιεῖτε τὰ ἔργα τοῦ πατρὸς ὑμῶν. εἶπαν [οὖν] αὐτῷ· ἡμεῖς ἐκ πορνείας οὐ γεγεννήμεθα, ἕνα πατέρα ἔχομεν τὸν θεόν. εἶπεν αὐτοῖς ὁ Ἰησοῦς· εἰ ὁ θεὸς πατὴρ ὑμῶν ἦν ἠγαπᾶτε ἂν ἐμέ, ἐγὼ γὰρ ἐκ τοῦ θεοῦ ἐξῆλθον καὶ ἥκω· οὐδὲ γὰρ ἀπ᾽ ἐμαυτοῦ ἐλήλυθα, ἀλλ᾽ ἐκεῖνός με ἀπέστειλεν. διὰ τί τὴν λαλιὰν τὴν ἐμὴν οὐ γινώσκετε; ὅτι οὐ δύνασθε ἀκούειν τὸν λόγον τὸν ἐμόν. ὑμεῖς ἐκ τοῦ πατρὸς τοῦ διαβόλου ἐστὲ καὶ τὰς ἐπιθυμίας τοῦ πατρὸς ὑμῶν θέλετε ποιεῖν. ἐκεῖνος ἀνθρωποκτόνος ἦν ἀπ᾽ ἀρχῆς καὶ ἐν τῇ ἀληθείᾳ οὐκ ἔστηκεν, ὅτι οὐκ ἔστιν ἀλήθεια ἐν αὐτῷ. ὅταν λαλῇ τὸ ψεῦδος, ἐκ τῶν ἰδίων λαλεῖ, ὅτι ψεύστης ἐστὶν καὶ ὁ πατὴρ αὐτοῦ. ἐγὼ δὲ ὅτι τὴν ἀλήθειαν λέγω, οὐ πιστεύετέ μοι. τίς ἐξ ὑμῶν ἐλέγχει με περὶ ἁμαρτίας; εἰ ἀλήθειαν λέγω, διὰ τί ὑμεῖς οὐ πιστεύετέ μοι; ὁ ὢν ἐκ τοῦ θεοῦ τὰ ῥήματα τοῦ θεοῦ ἀκούει· διὰ τοῦτο ὑμεῖς οὐκ ἀκούετε, ὅτι ἐκ τοῦ θεοῦ οὐκ ἐστέ. (John 8:39-47 NA27)
They answered and said to Him, “Our father is Abraham.” Jesus said to them, “If you are children of Abraham, you would have been doing the works of Abraham, but now 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 works of the your father.” Therefore, they said to him, “We have not been born of fornication. We have one Father, God.” Jesus said to them, “If God is your Father, you would have loved Me for I came from God and am here not on my on accord, He sent Me. Why do you not understand what I say? Because you are not able to hear my words. You are of your father the devil, and your will is to do the desires of your father. He was a murderer from the beginning and the truth is not in him. When he speaks a lie it is from his own character, because he is a liar and the father of lies. But because I speak the truth, you do not believe me. Who among you convicts me of sin? If I tell the truth you do not believe me. Whoever is from God hears the words of God. Therefore, you do not hear because you are not of God.” (a personal translation of John 8:39-47 from the NA27 Greek text)
As I said above, Jesus did not back down. If he encountered the “christian” liberals in our time, he would be just as dogmatic with them as He was with these men. Notice all through this that the criterion for belief is not one’s will power or one’s education or upbringing or as some preachers say, “What kind of soil are you?” referring back to the parable of the soils, getting it wrong…sigh. In any case, there is only one criterion for belief and it is that those whose father is God hear the words of God and believe them, but no one else does. No one can make himself or herself a child of God. No, God does that.
Ἀπεκρίθησαν οἱ Ἰουδαῖοι καὶ εἶπαν αὐτῷ· οὐ καλῶς λέγομεν ἡμεῖς ὅτι Σαμαρίτης εἶ σὺ καὶ δαιμόνιον ἔχεις; ἀπεκρίθη Ἰησοῦς· ἐγὼ δαιμόνιον οὐκ ἔχω, ἀλλὰ τιμῶ τὸν πατέρα μου, καὶ ὑμεῖς ἀτιμάζετέ με. ἐγὼ δὲ οὐ ζητῶ τὴν δόξαν μου· ἔστιν ὁ ζητῶν καὶ κρίνων. ἀμὴν ἀμὴν λέγω ὑμῖν, ἐάν τις τὸν ἐμὸν λόγον τηρήσῃ, θάνατον οὐ μὴ θεωρήσῃ εἰς τὸν αἰῶνα. εἶπον [οὖν] αὐτῷ οἱ Ἰουδαῖοι· νῦν ἐγνώκαμεν ὅτι δαιμόνιον ἔχεις. Ἀβραὰμ ἀπέθανεν καὶ οἱ προφῆται, καὶ σὺ λέγεις· ἐάν τις τὸν λόγον μου τηρήσῃ, οὐ μὴ γεύσηται θανάτου εἰς τὸν αἰῶνα. μὴ σὺ μείζων εἶ τοῦ πατρὸς ἡμῶν Ἀβραάμ, ὅστις ἀπέθανεν; καὶ οἱ προφῆται ἀπέθανον. τίνα σεαυτὸν ποιεῖς; ἀπεκρίθη Ἰησοῦς· ἐὰν ἐγὼ δοξάσω ἐμαυτόν, ἡ δόξα μου οὐδέν ἐστιν· ἔστιν ὁ πατήρ μου ὁ δοξάζων με, ὃν ὑμεῖς λέγετε ὅτι θεὸς ἡμῶν ἐστιν, καὶ οὐκ ἐγνώκατε αὐτόν, ἐγὼ δὲ οἶδα αὐτόν. κἂν εἴπω ὅτι οὐκ οἶδα αὐτόν, ἔσομαι ὅμοιος ὑμῖν ψεύστης· ἀλλὰ οἶδα αὐτὸν καὶ τὸν λόγον αὐτοῦ τηρῶ. Ἀβραὰμ ὁ πατὴρ ὑμῶν ἠγαλλιάσατο ἵνα ἴδῃ τὴν ἡμέραν τὴν ἐμήν, καὶ εἶδεν καὶ ἐχάρη. εἶπον οὖν οἱ Ἰουδαῖοι πρὸς αὐτόν· πεντήκοντα ἔτη οὔπω ἔχεις καὶ Ἀβραὰμ ἑώρακας; εἶπεν αὐτοῖς Ἰησοῦς· ἀμὴν ἀμὴν λέγω ὑμῖν, πρὶν Ἀβραὰμ γενέσθαι ἐγὼ εἰμί. ἦραν οὖν λίθους ἵνα βάλωσιν ἐπ᾽ αὐτόν. Ἰησοῦς δὲ ἐκρύβη καὶ ἐξῆλθεν ἐκ τοῦ ἱεροῦ. (John 8:48-59 NA27)
The Jews answered and said to Him, “Did we not rightly say that you are a Samaritan and you have demon?” Jesus answered, “I do not have a demon, but I honor my Father, and you dishonor me, but I do not seek my glory. There is one seeking and judging. Amen, amen I say to you, if any anyone keeps my word into the age, he will never see death.” The Jews therefore said to Him, “Now we know that you have a demon. Abraham died and the prophets, and you say, ‘If any keeps my Word into the age, he will never taste death.’ Surely you are not greater than our father Abraham and the prophets who died? Whom do you make yourself to be?” Jesus answered, “If I glorify myself, my glory is nothing; My Father is the one glorifying me, of whom you say, ‘He is our God.’ And you have not known Him, but I have known Him. If I say that I have not known Him, I will be like you, a liar. But I know Him and His Word I keep. Abraham your father was glad to see my day, and when he saw it, he rejoiced.” The Jews, therefore, said to Him, “You are not yet fifty years old and you have seen Abraham?” Jesus said to them, “Amen, amen I say to you, before Abraham came into being I am.” Then they took up stones that they might throw at Him, but Jesus was hidden and departed out of the Temple. (a personal translation of John 8:48-59 from the NA27 Greek text)
Once again we have our Lord proclaiming His deity very clearly even proclaiming Himself plainly as “I Am” in v 58, which is a translation of ἐγὼ εἰμί. The personal pronoun ἐγὼ or egō, “A primary pronoun of the first person, ‘I’.” The word “am” translates the first person, verb εἰμί or eimi, “First person singular present indicative; a prolonged form of a primary and defective verb; I exist (used only when emphatic): – am, have been, X it is I, was.” Jesus did not misspeak here. He did not make a grammar mistake. The words “I am” in Greek use the same expression found in the Septuagint in the first of God’s self-identification in Exodus 3:14, “I AM Who I AM.” Jesus was making it very clear to these people that he was not only eternal but also the God who appeared to Moses at the burning bush. These opponents of our Lord understood His meaning succinctly and picked up stones in order to kill Him for blasphemy.
Also, in our day, those who oppose God’s truth do the very same song and dance around it like these people did. They point to their religious heritage or their good works. They point to all sorts of things, but they do not listen or hear the truth and do not obey God’s Word. They go out of their way to be lined up with the world and its ways and then accuse those of us who hold the line as being fundamentalist, legalistic, or worse. They insist that God’s greatest gift to man was the ability to say no and to make up our own minds. That includes this idea of elevating doubt and even going so far as saying it is “right” and “far better” to never take God’s word literally. That sounds just like what the serpent said to Eve…
My brethren, those who are children of God hear His voice. They hear His Word and understand it. They obey it. Those who are children of the Devil cannot hear the voice of God. They cannot understand the Word of God. Many of them claim to be Christians, but refuse to take the Word of God literally. Which are you?
Soli Deo Gloria!