37 I know you are Abraham’s descendants. But you want to kill me, because you don’t want to accept my teaching. 38 I am telling you what my Father has shown me. But you do what your father has told you.”
39 They said, “Our father is Abraham.”
Jesus said, “If you were really Abraham’s descendants, you would do what Abraham did. 40 I am someone who has told you the truth I heard from God. But you are trying to kill me. Abraham did nothing like that. 41 So you are doing what your own father did.”
But they said, “We are not like children who never knew who their father was. God is our Father. He is the only Father we have.”
42 Jesus said to them, “If God were really your Father, you would love me. I came from God, and now I am here. I did not come by my own authority. God sent me. 43 You don’t understand the things I say, because you cannot accept my teaching. 44 Your father is the devil. You belong to him. You want to do what he wants. He was a murderer from the beginning. He was always against the truth. There is no truth in him. He is like the lies he tells. Yes, the devil is a liar. He is the father of lies.
45 “I am telling you the truth, and that’s why you don’t believe me. 46 Can any of you prove that I am guilty of sin? If I tell the truth, why don’t you believe me? 47 Whoever belongs to God accepts what he says. But you don’t accept what God says, because you don’t belong to God.”
“Just pray for them. They believe that Satan is the best, but he is not the best. God is the best.” Miranda, 9
“They think they Bible is just made-up.” Addison, 5
“They are missing out on something good.” Jamie, 8
“They don’t believe. They don’t know. That’s why there’s a devil. The devil tries to trick you. Just like the snake tricked Adam and Eve. That’s why they don’t believe.” Kezia, 8
“Some people don’t believe in God. Some people think God is a myth. People don’t read the Bible because they are not believers. Some people are haters, some are not believers.” Maryn, 8
“I know you are Abraham’s descendants. But you want to kill me, because you don’t want to accept my teaching. I am telling you what my Father has shown me. But you do what your father has told you,” (John 8:37-38).
Jesus agreed with Jewish religious leaders that they were related to Abraham physically or outwardly. Abraham is the father of the Jewish race and the father of all who believe in God (Romans 4). However, these Jews with whom Jesus spoke were not related to Abraham spiritually or inwardly. They did not believe in Jesus as God’s only son.
An outward Jew is one who is born into a Jewish family. By trying to keep the Ten Commandments, he or she may even be a religious Jew. A spiritual or inward Jew is born again spiritually (Romans 2:28-29). Abraham lived about 2,000 years before Jesus was born. He believed everything God showed him about the future messiah and savior.
By believing Jesus is both God and man, a Jew becomes like Abraham in a spiritual sense. Today, Jews who believe Jesus died on the cross for their sins and rose again are often called messianic Jews. Messiah is the Hebrew word for Christ.
They said, “Our father is Abraham.” Jesus said, “If you were really Abraham’s descendants, you would do what Abraham did,” (John 8:39).
It’s wonderful to have spiritual history. If your parents, grandparents or cousins are Christians who love the love the Lord, consider yourself blessed. The Jews are a special people. Starting with Abraham, God decided that the salvation of all people would come through the Jews. God chose them to bring the Lord Jesus Christ into the world.
Salvation is a spiritual birth. Physical birth has nothing to do with it. It does not matter who your parents are. What matters forever is having God as your spiritual father. Believing in Jesus Christ is the only way for God to adopt you into his forever family.
John the Baptist warned the Jews about being proud of their spiritual heritage: “I know what you are about to say—‘but Abraham is our father!’ That means nothing. I tell you that God can make children for Abraham from these rocks!” (Luke 3:8).
Spiritual pride can make you spiritually blind. The Jews failed many times to believe God, but their biggest failure was rejecting Jesus as God’s only son.
“I am someone who has told you the truth I heard from God. But you are trying to kill me. Abraham did nothing like that. So you are doing what your own father did.” But they said, “We are not like children who never knew who their father was. God is our Father. He is the only Father we have,” (John 8:40-41).
Spiritual pride and prejudice can make you unable to hear the truth. God always resists the proud, but gives more grace to the humble (James 4:6). These unbelieving Jews now tell Jesus that God is their father.
When the religious Jews said they are not like children “who never knew who their father was,” they were probably hinting that they knew Jesus did not have a human father. Jesus came into this world through a miracle. God the Holy Spirit caused Mary to be pregnant with Jesus, but these religious Jews didn’t believe in Jesus, his miracle birth or that he came from heaven as God’s only son. They bragged that God was their father, but they said Jesus didn’t know his human father.
Jesus said to them, “If God were really your Father, you would love me. I came from God, and now I am here. I did not come by my own authority. God sent me. You don’t understand the things I say, because you cannot accept my teaching. Your father is the devil. You belong to him. You want to do what he wants. He was a murderer from the beginning. He was always against the truth. There is no truth in him. He is like the lies he tells. Yes, the devil is a liar. He is the father of lies,” (John 8:42-44).
Bible scholar Warren Wiersbe says there are four kinds of spiritual children. First, we are born children of wrath (Ephesians 2:3). We inherit Adam’s sin. We are born into this world spiritually separated from God. We need a savior.
Second, when we reach that age when we know we are sinning, we become children of disobedience (Ephesians 2:2).
Third, when we place our faith in Christ, we become children of God (John 1:12).
Fourth, when a person rejects the righteousness that God wants to give us as a gift and prefers self-righteousness, that person becomes a child of the devil (John 8:44). Many religious people choose self-righteousness.
Most people think of a thief, drunkard, drug addict or even a murderer as a child of the devil. Please notice who Jesus calls children of the devil. These are moral, religious Jews who prided themselves on being God’s chosen people. We have the same thing happening today. There are many fake Christians.
These phony Christians think they become Christians by doing good things and obeying religious rules. These are people who trust in their own goodness instead of the perfect standing that God wants to give them. A perfect standing before a perfect God means that your sins have been forgiven because Jesus Christ paid for them all when he died on the cross. Jesus’ resurrection proved that God the Father was satisfied with his sacrifice for our sins.
Furthermore, when you trust Christ as your savior, you are now “in Christ.” You will see this phrase “in Christ” many times in the New Testament books written by the Apostle Paul. If you are “in Christ,” you have the righteousness you need to live with God forever.
The person who promotes their own goodness, some religious rules or self improvement as the way to heaven is a child of the devil. They are doing the work of the devil. Many people are fooled by the devil’s evangelists. The devil has many evangelists. Like their father, the devil, they tell many lies.
“I am telling you the truth, and that’s why you don’t believe me. Can any of you prove that I am guilty of sin? If I tell the truth, why don’t you believe me? Whoever belongs to God accepts what he says. But you don’t accept what God says, because you don’t belong to God,” (John 8:45-47).
Some people hate the truth. They will hate anyone who tells them the truth. Don’t be surprised if some people hate you when you tell them that Jesus is the only way to heaven. They may even say that this is hate speech because it condemns all the people who don’t believe in Jesus.
Because someone is sincere in their beliefs does not mean that they are right. What if I sincerely believe that I can fly? If I jump from a tall building with the sincere belief that I can fly, does this mean that gravity will stop working so that I can fly? I will die when I hit the ground even though I sincerely believed I could fly. I was wrong.
People who don’t believe Jesus Christ is the only way to God are wrong. Most people don’t like to be told that they are wrong. That is the challenge of the gospel. Some people will change their minds (repent) when they hear the good news of the gospel, but others will hate the gospel and those who proclaim it. The gospel of grace divides people. Sometimes it even divides people in the same family.
Think About This: Bible scholar Warren Wiersbe says there are seven ways to spot a child of the devil:
A. They will not give place to the Word of God (v. 37).
B. They trust in the flesh—human birth, works (v. 39).
C. They hate Christ and seek to kill Him (vv. 40, 44). Satan is a murderer and his children imitate him.
D. They do not love Christ or the things of Christ (v. 42).
E. They do not understand the Word—blinded by Satan (v. 43).
F. They are liars and love lies more than the truth (v. 44).
G. They will not hear the Word of God; they hate it (v. 47).
Memorize This Truth: ”Whoever belongs to God accepts what he says. But you don’t accept what God says, because you don’t belong to God,” (John 8:47).
Ask These Questions: If you have been trusting in religion or good works to impress God, can you humble yourself by admitting you’ve been wrong? Can you trust in the work of Jesus Christ on the cross when he took the punishment for your sins?