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John 8:37-47

Having The Devil For A Father


John 8:37-47 MKJV   I know that you are Abraham's seed, but you seek to kill Me because My Word has no place in you.  (38) I speak what I have seen with My Father, and you, then, do what you have seen with your father.  (39) They answered and said to Him, Abraham is our father. Jesus answered them, If you were Abraham's children, you would do the works of Abraham.  (40) But now you seek to kill Me, a man who has told you the truth which I have heard beside God; this Abraham did not do.  (41) You do the deeds of your father. Then they said to Him, We are not born of fornication; we have one father, even God.  (42) Jesus said to them, If God were your father, you would love Me, for I went forth and came from God; for I did not come of Myself, but He sent Me.  (43) Why do you not know My speech? Because you cannot hear My Word.  (44) You are of the Devil as father, and the lusts of your father you will do. He was a murderer from the beginning, and did not abide in the truth because there is no truth in him. When he speaks a lie, he speaks of his own, for he is a liar and the father of it.  (45) And because I tell you the truth, you do not believe Me.  (46) Which of you convicts Me of sin? And if I say the truth, why do you not believe Me?  (47) He who is of God hears God's Words. Therefore you do not hear them because you are not of God.


There is hardly seeker-sensitive talk! Jesus does not appeal to His audience here but rather rebukes them in the strongest possible terms. As Paul Tournier says Jesus was “Weak with the weak but strong with the strong.”. Jesus’ direct accusations include the following:


  1. 1.    “You seek to kill Me because My Word has no place in you” (v. 37)
  2. 2.    You are of the Devil as father, and the lusts of your father you will do. (v. 44)
  3. 3.    He who is of God hears God's Words. Therefore you do not hear them because you are not of God. (v. 47)


And not so direct accusations include:

  1. 4.    They were not the true spiritual children of Abraham. (v.39,40)
  2. 5.    They were not children of God. (v. 42)
  3. 6.    They were murderers (v. 37, 40, 44)
  4. 7.    They were liars (v. 44)
  5. 8.    They were unbelievers (v. 43, 45-47)


Now this extraordinary discourse points to a not-so-hidden spiritual reality - that there are both children of God, and children of the Devil. And these two groups represent opposite spiritual principles being active in the lives of men and women in the same location at the same time.


Now there are a number of possible views here – remember Jesus was not speaking to “average” people, to seekers and the like. Jesus was speaking to hardened enemies of the gospel full of hatred and contention. It is possible that the term ”sons of the Devil;” only fully applies to those people who have completely refused the grace of God.


Murderous, envious, resentful Cain is the archetype of the sons of the Devil: 1 John 3:12 MKJV  Not as Cain who was of the evil one, and killed his brother. And for what did he kill him? Because his own works were evil, and his brother's things were righteous.


Judas is often associated with the Devil:

John 6:70-71 MKJV   Jesus answered them, Have I not chosen you, the Twelve? And one of you is a devil?  (71) But he spoke of Judas Iscariot, the son of Simon; for it was he who was about to betray Him, being one of the Twelve.


John 13:2 MKJV   And when supper had ended, the Devil now having put into the heart of Judas Iscariot the son of Simon to betray Him,


John 13:27 MKJV   And after the morsel, then Satan entered into him. Then Jesus said to him, What you do, do quickly.


And Paul calls Elyamas the sorcerer a ‘son of the Devil;” for opposing the gospel:
Acts 13:10 MKJV   and said, O son of the Devil, full of all deceit and all craftiness, enemy of all righteousness, will you not stop perverting the right ways of the Lord?


Ananias comes close for his greed: Acts 5:3 MKJV   But Peter said, Ananias, why has Satan filled your heart for you to lie to the Holy Spirit, and to keep back part of the price of the land?


And the false apostles certainly fall into this category: 2 Corinthians 11:13-15 MKJV  (13) For such ones are false apostles, deceitful workers, transforming themselves into the apostles of Christ.  (14) Did not even Satan marvelously transform himself into an angel of light?  (15) Therefore it is no great thing if his ministers also transform themselves as ministers of righteousness, whose end shall be according to their works.


Ordinary non-Christians are ensnared by the Devil and held captive by Satan (Ephesians 2;1-3, Hebrews 2;14,15, 2 Timothy 2;26)  they are not necessarily  in the same category as the more hardened Cain, Judas, the sorcerer Elyamas or the false apostles.


However at the end of the Age it is going to be either / or – you will either be a Son of God or a beast-worshipping ‘son of the Devil” and this is reflected in the parable of the tares/weeds:


Matthew 13:36-43 CEV   After Jesus left the crowd and went inside, his disciples came to him and said, "Explain to us the story about the weeds in the wheat field."  (37) Jesus answered: The one who scattered the good seed is the Son of Man.  (38) The field is the world, and the good seeds are the people who belong to the kingdom. The weed seeds are those who belong to the evil one,  (39) and the one who scattered them is the devil. The harvest is the end of time, and angels are the ones who bring in the harvest.  (40) Weeds are gathered and burned. That's how it will be at the end of time.  (41) The Son of Man will send out his angels, and they will gather from his kingdom everyone who does wrong or causes others to sin.  (42) Then he will throw them into a flaming furnace, where people will cry and grit their teeth in pain.  (43) But everyone who has done right will shine like the sun in their Father's kingdom. If you have ears, pay attention!


How do people end up in such a terrible spiritual state and end up totally belonging to the Devil? A number of main causes are suggested:


  1. 1.    Sexual immorality – such as certain widows were indulging in: 1 Timothy 5:15 MKJV   For some have already turned aside after Satan.

  2. 2.    Unrighteousness – especially hatred: 1 John 3:10 MKJV   In this the children of God are revealed, and the children of the Devil: everyone not practicing righteousness is not of God, also he who does not love his brother.

  3. 3.    The continual practice of sin: 1 John 3:8 MKJV   He who practices sin is of the Devil, for the Devil sins from the beginning. For this purpose the Son of God was revealed, that He might undo the works of the Devil.

  4. 4.    Anger, Resentment and Unforgiveness: Ephesians 4:26-27 MKJV   Be angry, and do not sin. Do not let the sun go down upon your wrath,  (27) neither give place to the Devil.

  5. 5.    The love of wealth (the undoing of Judas & Ananias): 1 Timothy 6:9-10 CEV   People who want to be rich fall into all sorts of temptations and traps. They are caught by foolish and harmful desires that drag them down and destroy them.  (10) The love of money causes all kinds of trouble. Some people want money so much that they have given up their faith and caused themselves a lot of pain.


Perhaps it works like this: Person X becomes offended and unforgiving in some way and starts rejecting God, they decide to pursue worldly pursuits instead of church, and run after wealth, as rebellion sets in they indulge in some immorality and to justify it they start denying the faith. The pleasures of sin take hold and soon they are enslaved by it. The truth becomes threatening to their now chosen lifestyle of sin and they start to rail against it, eventually reaching the murderous rage of Cain and of those who crucified Christ.


This is a dire warning to keep us from resentment, anger and from all forms of sin. But Jesus does give us an encouragement: “He who is of God hears God's Words.” If we are listening to God and obeying Him we can be assured that we are “of God”


1 John 2:5 MKJV   But whoever keeps His Word, truly in this one the love of God is perfected. By this we know that we are in Him.


1 John 4:6 MKJV   We are of God. He who knows God hears us. The one who is not of God does not hear us. From this we know the spirit of truth and the spirit of error.

Blessings in Jesus,

John Edmiston