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Bible Commentaries

Commentary by J.C.Philpot on select texts of the Bible
John 8

 

 

Verse 31

John 8:31

John 8:31 Then said Jesus to those Jews which believed on him, If ye continue in my word, then are ye my disciples indeed;

The truth is not known at first in all its sweetness, liberty, and power. We have "to continue in the word;" it may be at times in very great darkness, distress, exercise, temptation, and trouble; and yet, such has been the power of the word upon the heart, it cannot, will not let us go. We see and feel the misery of departing from the truth, the wretchedness of getting back into the world, and being entangled in the spirit of it; and what must be the consequence if we leave those things we profess to know and believe, and embrace error or fall into the arms of sin!

There Isaiah , therefore, a continuance in the word, it may be often, as I have said, in much darkness, much exercise, many trials, many temptations—but still we are brought to this point, never to give up the word which has been made life and spirit to the soul. And though the Lord sometimes may very much hide his face, and we seem to be very poor, dull scholars, and to be much condemned for our unfruitfulness, to know so little of the spirit of the Master, and walk so little in his blessed ways; yet there is a looking unto him, a longing after him, a cleaving to him; and this manifests genuine discipleship.

Now, as we still cling, cleave, hang, trust, and hope, we begin to know the truth; it is opened up to the mind, it is made exactly suitable to our state and case; and the wonderful way in which it addresses and adapts itself to our various and pressing needs and necessities becomes more and more manifest.


Verse 32

John 8:32

"You shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free." John 8:32

"The earth, from which food comes,

is transformed below as by fire;

sapphires come from its rocks,

and its dust contains nuggets of gold.

No bird of prey knows that hidden path,

no vulture"s eye has seen it.

Proud beasts do not set foot on it,

and no lion prowls there." Job 28:5-8

The truths of the gospel, though to an enlightened eye they shine as with a ray of light all through the word, yet are they, for the most part, laid up as in deep veins—"Surely there is a vein for the silver, and a place where gold is refined." "The earth, from which food comes, is transformed below as by fire; sapphires come from its rocks, and its dust contains nuggets of gold." ( Job 28:5-6).

But where is "the place of sapphires?" and where these "nuggets of gold?" "In the path which no bird of prey," no unclean professor, "knows, and which the vulture"s eye," keen though it be after this world"s carrion, "has not seen."

But to a spiritual mind sweet and self-rewarding is the task, if task it can be called, of searching the word as for hidden treasure. No sweeter, no better employment can engage heart and hands than, in the spirit of prayer and meditation, of separation from the world, of holy fear, of a desire to know the will of God and do it, of humility, simplicity, and godly sincerity, to seek to enter into those heavenly mysteries which are stored up in the Scriptures; and this, not to furnish the head with notions, but to feed the soul with the bread of life.

Truth, received in the love and power of it, informs and establishes the judgment, softens and melts the heart, warms and draws upward the affections, makes and keeps the conscience alive and tender, is the food of faith, the strength of hope, and the mainspring of love.

To know the truth is to be "a disciple indeed," and to be made blessedly free; free from error, and the vile heresies which everywhere abound; free from presumption and self-righteousness; free from the curse and bondage of the law and the condemnation of a guilty conscience; free from a slavish fear of the opinion of men and the contempt and scorn of the world and worldly professors; free from following a multitude to do evil; free from companionship with those who have a name to live but are dead. But free to love the Lord and his dear people; free to speak well of his name; free to glorify him with our body and soul, which are his; free to a throne of grace and to a blood-besprinkled mercy-seat; free to every good word and work; free to "whatever things are good, whatever things are honest, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report."


Verse 35

John 8:35

"And the servant abides not in the house forever—but the son abides forever." John 8:35

It is the irreversible blessing of a Song of Solomon , that he is never to be turned out of the house, that the union between the Parent and the child can never be broken, but that he is to reign with Christ through the ages of one everlasting day. This is a sweet consolation to God"s family that "the son abides forever." How often is a child of God exercised, whether he shall abide forever, whether he may not draw back to perdition, whether some temptation may not overtake him whereby it shall be made manifest that he is nothing but a deceiver and deceived! But the Lord himself says, "the son abides forever;" let him be but a babe, let him have but the first beginning of spiritual life in his soul, he "abides forever;" he has the same interest in the affections of the Father, is a fellow-heir with Christ, and has a title to the same inheritance as those who are of longer standing, and those who are his elders in age.

But sometimes the son may get tired of the restraint of his Father"s house. God is a wise Parent as well as a kind one. He will treat his children with the most tender kindness and intimacy, but he will never allow them to be guilty of disrespect towards him. Sometimes, then, the sons get weary of their Father"s house; they are like the younger son in the parable, when he asked his father to give him his portion, and when he had gotten it, he went away into a far country, away from his father"s house, from under his father"s roof, and wasted it in riotous living. This is where many of God"s children get. There is a restraint in God"s house, where the soul is not really blessed with the personal and present enjoyment of gospel truth, and restraint being ever irksome, the vain, idolatrous heart thinks it can derive some pleasure from the world which is not to be found under the roof of the Father. And, therefore, he gradually withdraws his steps from his Father"s house, seeks to derive some pleasure from the things of time and sense, erects some idol, and falls down to worship it.

But notwithstanding all this, "the son abides forever." The Father of all his people in Christ does not disinherit his dear children; and though earthly parents may disinherit theirs, God"s family are never cast out of the inheritance. The true-born Israelite who had waxed poor and sold himself unto the stranger was to obtain his freedom in the year of jubilee ( Leviticus 25:47 ,54), and to return to his own house and his own estate. So the son who has departed from his Father"s house, and sold himself under sin, and become a slave to that cruel taskmaster, when the year of jubilee comes, the year of restoration, and the silver trumpet is blown, shakes off his shackles and fetters, casts aside the livery of servitude, returns to his Father"s house, and is received with joy beneath his Father"s roof. O what a meeting! The forgiving Parent, and the disobedient child! The Father dissolved in tears of affection; the child dissolved in tears of contrition!

Whatever, then, be our wanderings of heart, alienation of affection, and backsliding of soul; however we may depart from God, so far as we are sons, we shall "abide in the house forever," and possess an "inheritance incorruptible and undefiled, and that fades not away, reserved in heaven for those that are kept by the power of God through faith unto salvation." And it will be our mercy to abide in the house below as members of the family, without departing from it, until reunited to the family above, "the general assembly and church of the firstborn, whose names are written in heaven."

 


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Bibliography Information
Philpot, Joseph Charles. "Commentary on John 8:4". Commentary by J.C.Philpot on select texts of the Bible. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/jcp/john-8.html.

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