• Tony Birkhead


Born to be Wild!


When a person follows Christ, they receive eternal life, justification, and freedom: freedom from legalism and freedom in Christ.


John 8:31-38

To the Jews who had believed him, Jesus said, “If you hold to my teaching, you are really my disciples. 32 Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.” 33 They answered him, “We are Abraham’s descendants and have never been slaves of anyone. How can you say that we shall be set free?” 34 Jesus replied, “Very truly I tell you, everyone who sins is a slave to sin. 35 Now a slave has no permanent place in the family, but a son belongs to it forever. 36 So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed. 37 I know that you are Abraham’s descendants. Yet you are looking for a way to kill me, because you have no room for my word. 38 I am telling you what I have seen in the Father’s presence, and you are doing what you have heard from your father.


If you were free to do whatever you wanted for one day, what would you do?

How do you define freedom? How does our culture define freedom?

How does the truth Jesus speaks of set someone free?

In addition to the illusion of salvation through ancestry, what else does the truth Jesus speaks of free one from (v. 34-36)?

What relationship does Jesus have with the Father, and what impact does that have on His authority to proclaim truth?

What are the false teachings about freedom that you run into most in your everyday life?

What rules and laws do you unnecessarily enforce on yourself in an attempt to earn God’s approval? What are the greatest obstacles in your life to freedom in grace?


Praise God for the redemptive work of Jesus Christ that brings you freedom. The wisdom and love that God has shown in Christ’s death is transformative for us. Ask that it would continue to transform.


  • How does your understanding of truth and grace give you freedom?

  • What are some ways your group can invite others into the freedom we experience in Jesus?


John 8:31-38

8:31. The primary obligation of a believer is noted in Jesus’ call to “abide in My word.” Abiding in Christ’s word is the mark of a true disciple. The verse demonstrates that the test of a person who is truly a disciple is a continuing trust in Christ.

8:32. There is a strong theme for believers to know the truth, the revelation of God in Christ. Revelation is intrinsically tied to the redemptive plan executed in Christ. Thus the knowledge of the truth is both intellectual and effectual. The knowledge of this truth, knowing the Redeemer, carries with it freedom; the concept is tied to the Exodus where a first redeemer led God’s people out of slavery, now the true Redeemer brings freedom for all people.

8:33. The reply to Jesus’ call of freedom is strange because the descendants of Abraham have been imprisoned more than once. The Lord brought His people out of slavery in Egypt, God’s people were exiled into captivity to Assyria and Babylon, and even at this time the Jews were subjects of Rome.

8:34 Jesus then explains the statement of verse 32. All people, even descendants of Abraham, are slaves to sin. This slavery is internal, not external, meaning that no one can flee. This type of slave can only be freed by a Redeemer.

8:35-36 The discussion then looks at two types of people in a household—a slave and a son. The slave is not a permanent member of a household but a son inherits the household, thus a son will be given power. In this instance it is a proclamation that Jesus as the only Son of the Father can offer a new truth that slaves will be freed and receive the inheritance of the household.

8:37-38. Jesus takes on the claim in verse 33, “We are Abraham’s descendants,” by telling them He knows. But these descendants are trying to kill Him and refuse the revelation that Christ brings. Receptivity of Christ is not based on the power or eloquence of His message but on the hearts of the hearer. In this case, the Pharisees were so assured of their lineage they could not hear the truth that Christ offered.


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