CHILDREN OF THE DEVIL
As slaves of sin, we are children of the Devil born of fornication (8:44, 41). In this chapter the Jews claimed that God was their Father. They said to the Lord Jesus, “We were not born of fornication; we have one Father, even God” (v. 41). But the Lord Jesus told them, “You are of your father the Devil” (v. 44). As sons of the Devil, they were born of fornication.
In the Bible fornication signifies a relationship that is illegal in the sight of God. The children of Israel had an illegal relationship with the Devil, and God regarded that relationship as fornication. Those who were born of that illegal relationship were children of the Devil. The principle is the same with us. As fallen human beings, we all are children of the Devil and in this sense were born of fornication. Therefore, we possess a devilish nature, and for this reason we are slaves of sin.
Because we were born of the Devil, we have his evil nature. The sins we commit are the outward expression of this nature. Sin is an act that expresses the devilish nature. It is an issue of the devilish nature within us.
Let us use fruit trees as an illustration. A peach tree brings forth peaches, and an apple tree produces apples. The bearing of such fruit is the expression of the inward nature of the trees. It is impossible for a peach tree to produce apples, or for an apple tree to produce peaches. A peach tree bears peaches according to its nature, and an apple tree bears apples according to its nature. The principle is the same with our committing sin. Why do we lie, and why do we hate? We lie and hate because we have the nature of the Devil, Satan, within us.
Chapter eight of John speaks of murder, lying, and hatred. All these things are related to Satan. Satan is a murderer and a liar, even the father of liars. Satan is also the one who hates.
These sins are prohibited by the Ten Commandments. The first four of these commandments are related to God, and the last six are related to humanity. According to the Ten Commandments, we are forbidden to murder and to lie by bearing false witness. However, who among us can say that he has never lied or never hated someone?
When the scribes and Pharisees brought to the Lord the woman caught in adultery, they said to Him, “Now in the law, Moses commanded us to stone such persons. What then do you say?” (v. 5). Their intention was to challenge the Lord. But the Lord said to them, “He who is without sin among you, let him be the first to throw a stone at her” (v. 7). The Lord’s word touched their conscience. “When they heard that, they went out one by one, beginning with the older ones until the last” (v. 9).
This sign indicates that, no matter what kind of person we may be, we are all slaves of sin because we have the nature of sin. We have a devilish nature, the nature of the Devil. Because we have a devilish nature, we hate and lie. Because we have a sinful nature, we commit sin.
CONDEMNED BY THE LAW
As those who commit sin, we are condemned by the law, and we are also under God’s condemnation (v. 11). In this chapter the law is represented by Moses. According to the law, we should be stoned to death for our sins. The law, therefore, condemns us to death. Furthermore, as those under God’s condemnation, our destiny as fallen people was to die in our sins (8:21, 24).
(The Fulfillment of the Tabernacle and the Offerings in the Writings of John, Chapter 23, by Witness Lee)