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John 7:17, 8:44

John 7:17, 8:44
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John 7:17, “If anyone’s will is to do God’s will, he will know whether the teaching is from God…”

John 8:44, “Your will is to do your father’s desires.”


Short Thoughts:

The root desire (will) of our hearts determines whether or not we are able to receive Christ as truth…and apart from the Spirit, our root desires obscure rather than illuminate Him who is our life (2 Cor.4:4).


Longer Thoughts:

It is important to remember that in verse 44, Jesus is expounding his question and answer from verse 43.  Why are they unable to understand what Jesus is saying? It is because they cannot bear to hear it, they cannot stand to receive it, they cannot bring themselves to embrace it….and why is this? That is where verse 44 comes in, because they (and all outside of Christ) are “of their father, the devil, and”—and this is the key—“and your will is to do your father’s desire.”

They cannot bear to hear His word because their will is to do the will of Satan. Note how this is a sort of reverse version of what Jesus said back in John 7:17, “If anyone’s will is to do God’s will, he will know whether the teaching is from God.” In other words, if one’s will is to do God’s will, they will recognize Christ’s teaching (which is centrally teaching about Himself as the Son and revealer of God), they will recognize His teaching as the teaching of God. However, if one’s will is to do Satan’s will, then they will be unable to bear Christ’s words about Himself as Son and Revealer and Savior.

Our will determines our ability to apprehend the truth about God. Isn’t that interesting. It is not, finally, an issue of reason—though that cannot be jettisoned—but it is finally and at root an issue of the will, that is to say, of the heart. What do we want? What is our deepest desire? What do we believe is the path of true happiness? The answers to these questions more than any other will reveal whether or not we can receive the truth about God in Christ.

And, by nature, we are all opposed to Him. By nature we all seek to do the will of our father the devil. By nature, we all reject the light and embrace the darkness (is not this precisely what Adam and Eve did when they hid from the Lord with the serpent in the bushes?). We cannot do otherwise because we cannot will to change our root will. There is no deeper impetus to action in the human being than their root will….from this will comes all that we do and choose etc. We cannot will to change our most fundamental will since it is by this most fundamental will that all choices flow. Only by the sovereign, heart-regenerating grace of God mediated by His Spirit can our root will be transformed. And only after this transformation can we receive the words of Christ about Himself as true and good and beautiful.