Salvation is Not Hereditary
Prepared by Dr. John E. Marshall
John 8:37 (Holman) AI know you are descendants of Abraham, but you are trying to kill Me because My word is not welcome among you.@
The leaders desired to kill Jesus because they did not want to receive His words. People still reject Jesus= words, for at least two reasons.
First, people love their sins. Many are against the Bible because they know the Bible is against them. To evil people, the Bible is a weary book, a burden. Rules of virtue shackle the impenitent.
Second, God=s word is often drowned out by the words of others. We are hyperly-peer-conscious. H. G. Wells said the voice of our neighbors sounds louder in our ears than the voice of God.
Despite the world=s obstinance, the words of Christ deserve acceptance by every heart. They deserve a dwelling place there, and should be recognized and known as belonging there. They deserve a working place there; give His words room to operate; let them work out sin. They deserve a ruling place there. His words must be on the throne of our heart. All else must be subservient to them.
John 8:38 AI speak what I have seen in the presence of the Father, and therefore you do what you have heard from your father.@
Without apology Jesus traced the difference between His views and theirs to a different source of origin. Jesus was of God. The religious leaders= spiritual ancestry was easy to determine by their works.
Jesus had not mentioned the Devil yet, and did so only after His hints were brushed aside, but His meaning here was obvious. The family resemblance was unmistakable. The leaders could not have resembled the Devil more if they had consciously set themselves to achieving that very goal.
John 8:39-40 AOur father is Abraham!@ they replied. AIf you were Abraham=s children,@ Jesus told them, Ayou would do what Abraham did.@
The leaders immediately appealed to genealogy. They trusted in pedigree, proud to be Abraham=s children.
Jesus popped their bubble. When speaking of ancestry, what is historically true can be morally false. People can at the same time be blood kin and spiritual aliens.
True children are those who walk in the steps of their parents, who inherit their character, and follow their example. The real descendants of Abraham are the ones who act the way Abraham acted.
Abraham received God=s messengers. He revered Melchizedek and the three angels, but these leaders wanted to kill Jesus, God=s High Priest and most important messenger. Alienated
from God, they were a discredit to Abraham=s name.
Salvation is not hereditary. It can not be inherited. The rich man, in flames, found little comfort in Abraham calling him Ason@ (Luke 16:25). Each individual must have their own personal relationship with God.
John 8:41-43 AYou=re doing what your father does.@ AWe weren=t born of sexual immorality,@ they said, AWe have one Father B God.@ Jesus said to them, AIf God were your Father, you would love Me, because I came from God and I am here. For I didn=t come on My own, but He sent Me. Why don=t you understand what I say? Because you cannot listen to My word.@
Jesus drove home the point. They had a father other than Abraham. Rather than give any indication they knew what Jesus was hinting at,
the leaders pressed on to make an even greater claim, AWe have one Father B God.@
The reference to fornication was their way of combining two facts they felt assured them of their privileged position. They considered themselves physically and spiritually pure.
These leaders quickly asserted their Abrahamic descent was pure, uncorrupted by heathen blood. They also felt they had done nothing to jeopardize this position of honor because they had stayed free of spiritual fornication, the worship of false gods or idols. They felt very secure.
But Jesus assaulted their smugness by pointing out two facts that revealed they did not know God: they did not love Jesus, and they did not understand Him.
Anyone who knows God will recognize the Divine in Jesus. They will know He=s more than human, and will perceive He is precious to the Father, which will automatically make Him precious to them.
John 8:44 AYou are of your father the Devil, and you want to carry out your father=s desires. He was a murderer from the beginning and has not stood in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he tells a lie, he speaks from his own nature, because he is a liar and the father of liars.@
Jesus no longer hinted. The gauntlet was thrown down. There could be no mistake about what He meant. The lines of division were becoming more distinct. Somebody had to be wrong. These two claims had to have a head-on collision.
Jesus= plain-spoken frankness necessitated one of two responses: revenge or submission. The leaders chose revenge. Deciding Jesus was in total darkness, they killed Him, but God had the last word.
Jesus was blunt honest. If they were not God=s children, they had to be the Devil=s, for God and Satan divide all mankind. Unfortunately, the vast majority are children of Satan. He works in his own. They partake of his nature, bear his image, obey his commands, and follow his example.
Satan carried out his plans through these leaders. Their whole lives throbbed with Devilism. Satan was in them at every juncture. Their malice, obstinacy, and hatred of truth made them fit keepers of the family name.
Two vital traits especially marked these men as children of Satan. First, they were murderers. Their desire to kill Jesus was an attitude that perfectly resembled the Devil=s. When God had completed creation, Satan brought death on us by his intrigue. He tempted Adam and Eve to sin the sin that brought death into our world. He thereby became the murderer of all mankind.
Second, they were liars. Satan=s natural habitat is falsehood. He is perfectly at home when telling a lie.
He beguiled Eve with a lie, and still carries on temptations by lies. He calls evil good and good evil, plus promises immunity from sin=s wages.
Whenever a person speaks a lie, it is borrowed from the Devil. A liar speaks for Satan, serving as his mouthpiece.
John 8:45 AYet because I tell the truth, you do not believe Me.@
The leaders= perverse propensity for falsehood made them reject Jesus= words. The truth was to them a foreign element, a language they would not understand.
Jesus was not likely to become a popular preacher. He told people things about themselves they did not want to hear. The Jewish leaders decided to remove Him at all costs.
They hated Jesus, but He still loved them. Had any of them repented, they would have been accepted and forgiven.
Children of evil can become children of good. A member of the Devil=s family can be adopted into God=s family. Being born again is the key.