4. Bondage to Judgment
Then the fourth thing is brought to light here by the Lord Jesus, and that is they were in bondage to judgment. Because of this other threefold bondage, judgment rested upon them, the judgment of God. "Ye shall die in your sins," but that is not merely going out, ceasing to be. "... It is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgment," and there is no escaping that. In bondage to judgment; that is, judgment stands as master of the situation for every sinner. So you see, what He said about being in bondage is a very, very great thing, a thing which is true in all directions. When He said: "And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free," and the whole question of being in bondage came up, instantly they repudiated the suggestion, the insinuation. He proved His case, and showed that they were very much more in bondage than they had ever thought.
Christ - The Truth Making Free
That is how we are, but He added: "And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free ... If therefore the Son shall make you free, ye shall be free indeed." We have seen the one side, the bondage; now we look at the other side, freedom by the truth. What truth makes free? There are several sections to this gospel by John. The first section has to do with life, and the second section has to do with light. Each of these sections circles around the Person of the Lord Jesus. When he is dealing with life, the central declaration is: "I am the life," and when he is dealing with light and truth, the central declaration is: "I am the light." So all that being said focuses upon Him. "Ye shall know the truth." "I am the truth"! And it simply amounts to this: Ye shall know Me, and you will be set free. What does it mean in this respect to know Him as the truth, and be made free? It is not just knowing the fact of the existence of the Lord Jesus. It is not just believing that there is such a Person. It is knowing what He stands for, what He means.
The Law Fulfilled, God Satisfied
What is the truth in the Lord Jesus which stands over against the bondage of the law, by which we are made free from that bondage? It is this, that while God never reduced His law by one fragment, one iota, the whole law was fulfilled by the Lord Jesus for us. Everyone has been beaten by that law, but God has never said: "Well, you cannot fulfill that law; I will let you off." Never! He said: "You have to face that!" Impossible! Well, what is the way of escape? God will have His law fulfilled! The Lord Jesus came and said: "I will fulfill it, and when once it has been fulfilled, it can be taken out of the way." It could never be set aside until it was utterly fulfilled, and so He fulfilled the law to God's perfect satisfaction, on our behalf. "Lo, I am come (In the roll of the book it is written of me) to do thy will, O God." And He did it perfectly, and having fulfilled the law and made it honorable, He put it out of the way, and introduced the dispensation of grace, so that we sing now:
Free from the law, oh, happy condition!
Jesus hath bled, and there is remission
Cursed by the law, and bruised by the Fall,
Grace hath redeemed us once for all.
The truth in Jesus, by which we are made free, is that He has satisfied God in the matter of the law. But we must remember it all hangs upon Who Jesus Christ was. No ordinary man could do this universal, heaven-and-earth, time-and-eternity work. Only one who had been placed in a unique position of universal representation could affect this.
(continued with # 34 - "Sin Atoned for, Man Justified")