Thank you for your good question. I believe that to do this verse justice, we must look at the context. By way of background, the Lord Jesus was in Jerusalem, teaching in the temple; and as always was the case, people flocked around Him to hear His words. There were certainly some who said they believed on Him, but the Lord Jesus knew their hearts, and He knew those who did and those who did not truly believe. Then, there were also some Pharisees who clearly did not believe and were looking for an occasion to accuse Him. In verses 12-13, we read, “Then spake Jesus again unto them, saying, I am the light of the world: he that followeth Me shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life. The Pharisees therefore said unto Him, Thou bearest record of Thyself; Thy record is not true”. So, what was the Lord Jesus referring to when He said, I am the light of the world? I believe He was telling those who listened with an open heart that He came from God, bringing the light of God’s Word to this dark world. In the dark, no one can see clearly; to see clearly, we must have light, and the Lord Jesus was that light in the world.  John 1:4 says, “In Him was life; and the life was the light of men”. In so many of the verses of this chapter, the Lord Jesus spoke of spiritual things that would point out to those who had open hearts that indeed, he was the Son of God, the Christ long foretold in the Old Testament Scriptures. Many had seen His mighty works or at least had heard of them, and certainly they all could hear His words, like none other spoke. And to be honest, while the Pharisees could not point to a specific sin in His life, and given that they themselves had also heard about these works and His Words, they could not bring themselves to own Jesus as the Christ.  But to hear from Jesus’ lips that they themselves were sinners, Pharisees that they were, and they being in their minds at the very pinnacle of Jewish society, this must have been an affront to their national and personal pride. But the Lord Jesus spells out the truth in verses 23-24: “And He said unto them, Ye are from beneath; I am from above: ye are of this world; I am not of this world. I said therefore unto you, that ye shall die in your sins: for if ye believe not that I am He, ye shall die in your sins”. Just think about that—the Lord Jesus was saying truthfully that these Pharisees were sinners; and they must truly believe He was the Son of God, otherwise they would die in their sins. The same would be true for all of us. He was thus declaring Himself to be the Messiah of God, and that God was in fact His Father.  Jesus spells it out clearly in verse 58: “Jesus said unto them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Before Abraham was, I am.” “I am” is the very name of God from the Old Testament, meaning that He Himself was God. Only the sinless Son of God could purchase our pardon on the cross.  But it was for this very reason that the Jews took up stones to kill Him—they did not believe he was the Son of God, but felt He had blasphemed.

Now, as we continue in verse 31, we see, “Then said Jesus to those Jews which believed on him, If ye continue in My word, then are ye My disciples indeed; And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free”. What did the Lord Jesus mean with these words? “If you continue in My word” refers to them taking His Word into their hearts, believing, and being obedient to His teaching. If they truly did this, then they would be “disciples indeed,” or true disciples—true believers.  Now, being believers and keeping His word would make them free. Remember, it is through faith in Christ Jesus that we are saved (Ephesians 2:8-9). But, free from what?  The answer is free from bondage to sin, that to which each and every one of us were in bondage before we were saved, before we believed on the Lord Jesus Christ as our personal Savior. Anyone who is a “disciple indeed,” is a true believer, a Christian, – there is no longer bondage to sin for the true believer on Christ.

But now, the Pharisees who resisted the Lord Jesus in this chapter  were not thinking of spiritual things, but were taking Jesus literally—they complained that they were not in bondage to anyone, though in fact they had been in bondage to other nations for many years.  But this was not the bondage that Jesus spoke of. So, the Pharisees resisted in verse 33, “They answered him, We be Abraham’s seed, and were never in bondage to any man: how sayest thou, Ye shall be made free?”  To this, the Lord responded with the verse you asked about, “Jesus answered them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Whosoever committeth sin is the servant of sin. And the servant abideth not in the house for ever: but the Son abideth ever. If the Son therefore shall make you free, ye shall be free indeed,” (verses 34-36).

The Lord Jesus was, of course, not at all speaking of bondage to the Roman or any other government, though no doubt the Jews may have been thinking purely along such earthly lines.  But He was in fact speaking of breaking our bondage to sin through the blood of His cross, making us who believe on Him to be truly free. Christians are free from the power of sin, and free from wrath, “But God commendeth His love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. Much more then, being now justified by His blood, we shall be saved from wrath through Him,” (Romans 8,9).

My dear friend, I am wondering if verse 34 is troubling to you.  It could be that you have in fact trusted in the Lord Jesus as your personal Savior, and yet, you have noticed that you do still sin. You may wonder if you would then be considered the servant of sin, or in other words “not saved”? But, my friend, if you have truly believed on the finished work at Calvary on your behalf by our Lord Jesus, I believe you are saved. We do have a new nature which cannot sin which we receive through the Holy Spirit’s work in our hearts the moment we believe; and yet while on this earth,  we do still have the flesh which can cause us much difficulty as described by Paul in Romans 7. Now, the following verses are for Christians: 1 John 1:8-9, “If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us.

If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness”. Again in 1 John 2:1-2, we read, “My little children, these things write I unto you, that ye sin not. And if any man sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous: And He is the propitiation for our sins: and not for ours only, but also for the sins of the whole world. So, if you have believed on the Lord Jesus Christ, you are saved from wrath, and freed from bondage to sin.  You’ll notice in the last verses these words: “if any man sin….”  It is not expected that Christians will sin, but if we do, we confess our sins, and He is faithful and just to forgive us.  Sins are a very serious matter in a Christian, but the Lord gives us the power through His Spirit and the Word of God to live Godly lives. But, if we do sin, we must repent and confess, and we are indeed forgiven—we do not lose our salvation, but our fellowship with God is re-established. When verse 34 of John 8 says “Whosoever committeth sin …” the idea is one who continues in sin, having no real conscience about it.  Those who live in that way make a practice of sinning, and again, there is no conscience, no repentance, and no real concern over their sinning.  These would not be true believers on Christ Jesus.

And now, my dear friend, if you have not yet believed on the Lord Jesus as your personal Savior, it is my prayer for you that you will see in the Scriptures that He is calling you just now. The words of John 1:12-13 will show you the way, “But as many as received Him (the Lord Jesus), to them gave He power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on His name: Which were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God”.  (415.5)  (SF)