True Confessing Faith

As Jesus continues to teach from the temple during the Feast of Tabernacle, He interacts with religious unbelief. We learn from John 8:30-31 that some have proclaimed faith in Jesus. The life of a true believer will bear forth the fruit of repentance. While some profess faith in Christ, others confess faith in Him. This passage in John helps us discern between profession and confession. Earlier in this book, we read how some professed faith in Jesus as King, trying to forcibly crown Him. However, these people did not confess Him as Savior and Lord. John writes his gospel with the purpose of proving that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, so that we might believe, and in believing, that we might have life through His name, not just professing but confessing Him as Lord.

Confessing Christ, being born-again, requires believing that Jesus’s death on the cross is sufficient for all of one’s sin, and therefore turning from one’s sin and surrendering one’s will to Jesus Christ as Lord. Unbelief is described by Jesus as slavery to sin (v. 34), an indifference to His words and teaching (v. 37), children of the devil (v. 41), liars (v. 55), and murderers (v. 59). The text says there were people who believed, but Jesus distinguishes for us true belief. Genuine saving faith, who a follower of Christ is and how one lives, can be determined by three tests of true discipleship.

The Test of Fatherhood

The theme of fatherhood dominates this passage from verses 30-59. For the Jewish leaders, their father is Abraham (v. 33, 39) which Jesus confirms (v. 37), challenging them to do the deeds of Abraham (v. 39). The Jews question Jesus’s paternity (v. 53) to which Jesus responds that He is from above and does the will of His Father (v. 38, 40, 42).

Jesus’s response in John 8:42 encapsulates His eternal generation, incarnation, and mission. Born to die for the sins of mankind, Jesus’s mission is to glorify the Father (v. 54, John 17). There are two distinct uses of the word ‘know’ in v. 55. The grammar indicates that Jesus knows His Father by His very nature and also by personal experience. The final statement of what Jesus knows to be true about His Father (v. 58) compels the Jewish leaders to find stones with which to stone Him (v. 59).

Religious unbelief makes shocking, condemning claims about Jesus’s Father. They question how Jesus could know Him considering Jesus’s age (v. 53). They clarify how they were not born of fornication, insinuating Jesus is illegitimate, conceived in sin since His mother was with child before she was married, questioning who Jesus’s biological father could be (v. 41). They accuse Jesus of being a half breed, not a true Jew, and therefore, culturally and ceremonially unclean, ending with the accusation of Him being demon possessed (v. 48).

Religious unbelief also claims God as their father (v.41, Ex. 4:22, Jer 31:9, Deut. 14:1-2). This is the religious Jews’ proud claim and ultimate defense of their paternity. Jesus admits they are descendants of Abraham, and yet, they seek to kill Him which Abraham would never do (v. 37, 40). In fact, Abraham by faith rejoiced to see Jesus’s day and was glad (v. 56). Jesus pronounces that their deeds evidence their father, the devil (v. 38, 41, 44). The devil is a murderer, the distorter of truth, and a liar by nature (v. 44). In these statements, Jesus is confronting their abuse of the Mosaic moral code. These religious leaders and Jesus do not serve the same God.

The Final Tests

Unless we are convicted of our sin, we cannot be born again. Being born-again is not merely placing our faith in Jesus but requires acknowledging what we are before Him, why we need Him, and what He did for us on the cross. Jesus asks, ‘Which one of you convicts me of sin (v. 46)?’ The word ‘convict’ in this verse means to charge and prove the charge. The only accusation the Jews have against Jesus is blasphemy as Jesus claims His own deity which they can neither prove nor disprove because of their own sin.

Jesus’s Father is eternal and so is He. The Father is true and has sought to glorify Himself in the person of Jesus Christ. The Son has enjoyed eternal fellowship with the Father, having known the Father since eternity past. His origin is from the Father, and His mission is given by the Father. With gladness, Jesus humbled Himself to do the will of His Father, bringing light and life to men.

We need to recognize whose will we are obeying and why. The will of the Father is unto eternal purpose, and the will of the wicked one is unto death. If the God of heaven is our Father, then we will have surrendered our lives to the Lord Jesus Christ, and these last two tests of discipleship will prove true about us: we no longer live a life of sin, and the new life we live in Christ is saturated by God’s Word, the Bible.

True spiritual paternity is proven in the way we live and by what we enjoy.

Application Points

  • Do you profess Christ? Are you a confessing Christian? Genuine saving faith will be evidenced in a changed life, one yielded to Christ and His ways.
  • Is how you are living aligned with who you say you serve? Does your life demonstrate a growing love for God’s Word while practicing a lifestyle of sinning less and less?

Tools for Further Study

Cross References to Explore
  • Christian Growth – Phil. 1:9-11; Phil. 3:15-16; 1 Thes. 4:1; 2 Thes. 1:3; 2 Peter 1:5-8