TO RELEASE MAN FROM THE BONDAGE OF SIN
As the Emancipator, the Lord releases us from the bondage of sin and makes us sons of God free from death (8:32-36, 51). The Lord is the One who frees us from sin. In verse 51 He says, “If anyone keeps My word, he shall by no means see death forever.” This indicates that when we become sons of God, we shall never die. The Son of God is everlasting. The Son of God is eternal because the life of the Son of God is eternal life, which never dies. Hence, He can release us from the bondage of sin and, by imparting eternal life to us, make us sons of God free from death.
LIFTED UP ON THE CROSS AS THE SON OF MAN
In verse 28 the Lord Jesus referred to His being lifted up on the cross. According to this verse, the Lord was lifted up on the cross as the Son of Man. The Lord Jesus is the Son of the Father. As such, He is the great I Am, the eternal To Be. But when He was lifted up on the cross, He was the Son of Man. This Son of Man is also one of the elements in the divine extract.
Thus far we have seen a number of elements contained in the divine extract. The first element is the Son of the Father. The second element is the light of the world, which becomes the light of life within us. The third element is the universal I Am. Now we see a fourth element—the Son of Man. Because the life-giving Spirit is an extract containing all these elements, this extract is truly powerful and effective.
In chapter eight of the Gospel of John there is no mention of the Spirit. But there is a clear word concerning the Spirit in 7:37-39. On the last day of the feast the Lord cried out and said, “If anyone thirst, let him come to Me and drink. He who believes in Me, as the Scripture said, out of his innermost being shall flow rivers of living water” (vv. 37-38). Then verse 39 follows to say, “But this He said concerning the Spirit, whom those who believed in Him were about to receive; for the Spirit was not yet, because Jesus was not yet glorified.” In chapter eight we can see Christ glorified, for here we have the lifting up of Christ as the Son of Man. This lifting up was followed by resurrection, and in resurrection the Spirit as the Spirit of Jesus Christ came into being. In chapter seven the Spirit was “not yet.” But in chapter eight, after the lifting up of the Son of Man, the Spirit came into being. This Spirit is the extract of the Son of the Father, the light of life, the eternal I Am, and the Son of Man. In this extract we have all these elements.
HONORING THE FATHER AND NOT SEEKING HIS OWN GLORY
The One who is the great I Am and also the Son of Man honored the Father and never sought His own glory 8:49-50, 54). Here we do not have an element of the divine extract, but we do have the nature of the element of the Lord’s living as the Son of Man. The nature of this element is the Lord’s honoring the Father and not seeking His own glory. The Lord always honored the Father, and He never sought glory for Himself.
If we do not honor the Father but instead seek our own glory, in principle we commit spiritual fornication. We need to be set free from this. This means that to be set free from sin in John 8 includes to be set free from honoring ourselves and from seeking glory for ourselves. If we seek glory for ourselves, in principle we are committing fornication.
Here we have a deeper understanding of sin. Even if we seek a little glory for ourselves, we are committing sin, in principle committing fornication. For example, when you give a testimony in the meetings, you may desire to hear many “Amens.” If this is your desire, you are seeking glory for yourself, and you are not honoring the Father. This is sin. What can deal with this sin? Only the divine extract can deal with it. The nature of this extract is that it does not seek self-glory but always honors the Father.
EXPECTED WITH EXULTATION BY ABRAHAM
In 8:56 the Lord Jesus said, “Your father Abraham exulted that he should see My day, and he saw it and rejoiced.” Although Abraham expected the Lord with exultation, we are no longer expecting Him—we are enjoying Him.
SLANDERED BY RELIGIOUS PEOPLE
The Lord Jesus as the Son of the Father was slandered by religious people, who regarded Him as a Samaritan possessed by a demon (8:48, 52). According to verse 48, they said, “Are we not right in saying that you are a Samaritan and have a demon?” Here we see that they slandered the Lord by accusing Him of being impure. A Samaritan is a person of mixed blood, a person who is part Jewish and part pagan. The religious people not only accused the Lord of being a Samaritan, but accused Him of being a Samaritan possessed by a demon. What slander this is! In principle, religious people are doing the same thing today by opposing those who take the Lord’s way.
TEMPTED AND PERSECUTED BY THOSE SEEKING TO KILL HIM
The Lord Jesus also was tempted and persecuted by those who sought to kill Him (vv. 6, 20, 37, 40, 59). The Lord was slandered, tempted, and persecuted, and certain ones were looking for the opportunity to kill Him. Those in the religious world slandered this Emancipator or persecuted or sought to tempt Him. The church in the Lord’s recovery today is in a similar situation of being slandered and persecuted. But while others slander, tempt, and persecute, we enjoy the wonderful One who is our Emancipator.
(The Fulfillment of the Tabernacle and the Offerings in the Writings of John, Chapter 24, by Witness Lee)