Sin Atoned for, Man Justified
The next point is sin. It is the truth in Jesus over against bondage to sin. "Him who knew no sin he made to be sin on our behalf ..." His soul was made an offering for sin. "A full atonement he hath made." "But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes we are healed." The truth in Jesus, by which we are set free from sin, is that He has dealt with the whole sin question on our behalf, and that deliverance from the bondage of sin is a full deliverance in the Lord Jesus, as the Sin-bearer.
satan Overthrown, Man Delivered
The same thing is true in relation to the bondage of satan. "Now", said He, as He went to the Cross, "shall the prince of this world be cast out." "... The prince of this world hath been judged." And, reflecting, with Divine illumination, upon what took place in the unseen at Calvary, the Apostle says: "He stripped off from himself principalities and powers, and made a show of them openly, triumphing over then in his Cross." And as the outcome of that the Apostle says: "But thanks be to God, who leads me on from place to place in the train of his triumph, to celebrate his victory over the enemies of Christ". Calvary was Christ's victory over the devil on our behalf, and because of what He did there, we are set free from the bondage of satan.
Judgment Suffered, Man at Rest
Then the bondage to judgment. If He, of His own free will, without being personally involved by birth or nature, took our place in regard to sin, and as under the law, and under the power of satan, and then destroyed them all, He has destroyed the consequences which follow them - judgment. In His Cross He received our judgment, and the judgment due to us was exhausted upon Him. The Psalmist, prophesying of that, put prophetically these words into His mouth: "All thy waves and thy billows are gone over me." That was the judgment of God going over His soul as He represented us. Blessed be God, you and I in Christ are not to face judgment. It is past for us, but all these things remain for those outside of Christ.
The Family of the Free
There is one other thing which must be noted. "If therefore the Son shall make you free, ye shall be free indeed." "If the So ..." It is very impressive how often that title is used in John. And, alongside of it, "the Father." The name "Father" occurs one hundred and eleven times in John's gospel. "The Father," and "The Son," are familiar terms. Then it is impressive, recognizing those familiar terms, that you have at the beginning of John so much about being born again. "But as many as received him,to them that believe on his name, which were born, not of blood, nor of the flesh ...," and to Nicodemus: "Ye must be born again." That is a family thought. There is the Father; thee is the Son; but to be in that family, you have to be born into it; and "if the Son shall make you free," that means you are in the family. He said: "The bondservant abideth not in the house...the son abideth .." If you are in bondage to the law, you have no place in this family. This is a family of the free ones, of the free born. How are we to be set free from the bondage of sin, to satan, to judgment? By being born again. The Son makes free. It is given to the Son to give eternal life to as many as He will, and we receive eternal life when we are born again. It is the gift which Christ, the Son, gives us. It is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord. How are we set free? By being born again and brought into the family. We become members of a family of those who are free from all these things which speak of bondage.
If we are rejoicing in that great liberty which is ours in Christ, our great desire is that should be the joy of all. If you do not understand those terms, we will put it this way: You should know the Lord Jesus in a saving way, and then you will be set free from the law, free from sin, free from satan, free from judgment.
A Curious Feature
We have noted in chapter 7 that the general character of this gospel take a turn, and a new aspect of the Person and work of Christ is introduced. With that chapter the matter of light is brought in, but when we reach the section which is marked by chapter 8, this "light" assumes definite form, and that form runs through to the end of chapter 9. The first eleven verses of chapter 8, as it will be noticed, are something in the nature of a parenthesis. They seem almost like a curiosity. This will be recognized by the absence of any sense of continuity between verses 11 and 12. Verse 12 seems to throw back to verse 52 of chapter 7. Why is this? What is the explanation of this curious feature? Whether John himself knew who or not, there is here one more remarkable instance of a progressive spiritual history being followed. We shall see this as we proceed.
(continued with # 35 - "The Person of Christ Before the Doctrine")