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  • In view of v37 -"I have known that ye are seed of Abraham...", Could "you"(v44) in the question include Abraham's spiritual descendants (Gal. 3:7-9)?

Text: John 8:44 YLT

Ye are of a father -- the devil, and the desires of your father ye will to do; he was a man-slayer from the beginning, and in the truth he hath not stood, because there is no truth in him; when one may speak the falsehood, of his own he speaketh, because he is a liar -- also his father.

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Abraham’s spiritual descendants would have rejoiced even more than Abraham who only saw a promise and not this promise fulfilled, for “prophets longed to see what you see now” (Matthew 13:17).

Thus, those who shut their eyes notwithstanding having seen miracles that no human had ever witnessed performed by any other person than the Lord Jesus Christ (John 15:24), cannot be spiritual descendants of Abraham for they deny the very Spirit through whom and in whom Abraham rejoiced. How can a kid Manuelo be in the same camp with a kid Rodrigo who rejoiced when ice cream was promised to him, if Manuelo rejects actual ice-cream presented to him?

As to the “choice” or “innate disposition” - both can be at work in an evil harmony, for one can freely and safely say that they chose not to change their wrong and sinful innate disposition.

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Notice that Christ was talking to the jews who believed on him:

John 8.31-32 (LEB)

Then Jesus said to those Jews who had believed him, “If you continue in my word you are truly my disciples, and you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.”

This upset those who believed, because the suggestion was that they were not free and needed to continue in his word in order to be free, so they say "we are Abraham's descendents and haven't been enslaved to anyone". But Jesus replies again, "everyone who sins is a slave to sin [...] You are of your father the devil".

This is interesting because it looks like he is going out of his way to offend people who believe him, or rather a modern evengelist would probably not do this. But if you look at Christ's sermons, he never tried to woo or convince a listener, and he always tried to address the core issue that was going on, not whatever the listener wanted to hear.

The point being made here is that everyone is a child of the devil, even the biological sons of Abraham, and even those who initially believe. There is a process of contuining, or abiding, required. Discipleship isn't something that happens just by belief. The word has to be accepted and then "make progress". It has to grow. This is similar to the parable of the sower.

"If you continue in my word you are truly my disciples" and in verse 37:

I know that you are descendants of Abraham. But you are seeking to kill me, because my word makes no progress among you. A better interpretation would be "my word makes no progress within you".

I don't think this passage emphasizes choice anywhere. It merely says "if you continue" then you will be free. It doesn't say who or what is the responsible agent for allowing them to continue, whether it is their own will, or the grace of God, or the will of the Father, or the power of the Son to overcome the devil. It doesn't even tell them to repent or change -- it just says they need to continue (because they already believed his previous messages). But what the passage does make clear is that even the jews who believed in Christ and were children of Abraham after the flesh, these were children of the devil in the spirit. A process of discipleship was needed to free them from their true father. (Matt 13.18-23)

See also the mount of transfiguration, where Peter tries to talk Jesus out of going to the Cross, and "But he turned and said to Peter, “Get behind me, Satan! You are a hindrance to me. For you are not setting your mind on the things of God, but on the things of man.”" (Matt 16.23 ESV). So apparently even Peter was still channeling the devil even after a long period of continuing.

I think what is relevant here is the cross -- these incidents happened before the cross, so one interpretation of continuing is that they (and Peter) needed to continue abiding until the cross, at which point Satan was defeated. But another interpretation is that cross gives the "word" the power to make progress, but that a process is still required. The nature and timeliness of the process, and how much of it is due to "choice" is outside the scope of these passages.

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Note the context. Immediately preceding this block of discourse is the block about them being slave to sin in which Jesus can free them.

See What does "free" eleutheroi mean in "you will be free indeed." John 8:36?

In the block of 8:44, Jesus was not denying that they were physical decedents of Abraham, but that they were not spiritual decedents of Abraham and previously labeled slaves to sin. It was a choice in that they were responsible for their condition and especially because Jesus was about to provide a way out of their condition.

39 They answered him, “Abraham is our father.” Jesus said to them, “If you were Abraham’s children, you would be doing the works Abraham did, 40 but now you seek to kill me, a man who has told you the truth that I heard from God. This is not what Abraham did. 41 You are doing the works your father did.” They said to him, “We were not born of sexual immorality. We have one Father—even God.” 42 Jesus said to them, “If God were your Father, you would love me, for I came from God and I am here. I came not of my own accord, but he sent me. 43 Why do you not understand what I say? It is because you cannot bear to hear my word. 44 You are of your father the devil, and your will is to do your father’s desires. He was a murderer from the beginning, and does not stand in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he lies, he speaks out of his own character, for he is a liar and the father of lies. 45 But because I tell the truth, you do not believe me. 46 Which one of you convicts me of sin? If I tell the truth, why do you not believe me? 47 Whoever is of God hears the words of God. The reason why you do not hear them is that you are not of God.” (John 8:39–47, ESV)

Following this is the "before Abraham was, I am" block. In John 9 is the healing of the man born blind. They had a choice in how they interpreted this miracle.

 And they reviled him, saying, “You are his disciple, but we are disciples of Moses. 29 We know that God has spoken to Moses, but as for this man, we do not know where he comes from.” 30 The man answered, “Why, this is an amazing thing! You do not know where he comes from, and yet he opened my eyes. 31 We know that God does not listen to sinners, but if anyone is a worshiper of God and does his will, God listens to him. 32 Never since the world began has it been heard that anyone opened the eyes of a man born blind. 33 If this man were not from God, he could do nothing.” 34 They answered him, “You were born in utter sin, and would you teach us?” And they cast him out. (John 9:28–34, ESV)

In John 11 after Lazarus was dead for four days, Jesus raised him from the dead. The had another choice.

Many of the Jews therefore, who had come with Mary and had seen what he did, believed in him, 46 but some of them went to the Pharisees and told them what Jesus had done. 47 So the chief priests and the Pharisees gathered the council and said, “What are we to do? For this man performs many signs. 48 If we let him go on like this, everyone will believe in him, and the Romans will come and take away both our place and our nation.” 49 But one of them, Caiaphas, who was high priest that year, said to them, “You know nothing at all. 50 Nor do you understand that it is better for you that one man should die for the people, not that the whole nation should perish.” 51 He did not say this of his own accord, but being high priest that year he prophesied that Jesus would die for the nation, 52 and not for the nation only, but also to gather into one the children of God who are scattered abroad. 53 So from that day on they made plans to put him to death. (John 11:45–53, ESV)

Some of the Pharisees did follow Christ (not to mention later Paul did).

Nicodemus, who had gone to him before, and who was one of them, said to them, 51 “Does our law judge a man without first giving him a hearing and learning what he does?” 52 They replied, “Are you from Galilee too? Search and see that no prophet arises from Galilee.” (John 7:50–52, ESV)

After these things Joseph of Arimathea, who was a disciple of Jesus, but secretly for fear of the Jews, asked Pilate that he might take away the body of Jesus, and Pilate gave him permission. So he came and took away his body. 39 Nicodemus also, who earlier had come to Jesus by night, came bringing a mixture of myrrh and aloes, about seventy-five pounds in weight. 40 So they took the body of Jesus and bound it in linen cloths with the spices, as is the burial custom of the Jews. (John 19:38–40, ESV)

Those who did not believe were blinded by their own will.

How is it that this man has learning, when he has never studied?” 16 So Jesus answered them, “My teaching is not mine, but his who sent me. 17 If anyone’s will is to do God’s will, he will know whether the teaching is from God or whether I am speaking on my own authority. (John 7:15–17, ESV)

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First, you need to understand we are talking *spiritually’ - because ‘physically’ they were descendants of Abraham, but as the Apostle Paul later explains, that doesn’t count for righteousness. (Romans 4).

Yes. The descendants of Abraham were all of ‘their father the devil’. As are all - until reborn ‘under another Father’. Let’s stand back and consider the Old Testament - a ‘broad view’.

Adam, had God as a father. Then made a ‘choice’ that put all under a different ‘father’. Through separation [sin], we are born ‘under Adam’ of a different ‘seed’. But under Christ, we can be reborn under a different ‘seed’.

1 COR 15:22 For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive;

But, these Jews (Pharisees) that Jesus was dialoguing with were pre cross. And pre-cross the was to ‘come under God’ was via the Law, or more specifically the sacrificial system. This Law was to keep Israel ‘separate’. That is, keep them Holy (Holy means separation) - Holy and set apart from the other nations (aka- the ‘world’).

But the Pharisees had distorted that ‘system’ (Law), and replaced it with their oral traditions - which therefore did not keep them separated and set apart ‘Gods way’. The Mosaic covenant, via the blood sacrifices, essentially ‘redeemed’ them back to God, so that God became as a Father.

But the Pharisees had taken themselves out of that ‘system’, therefore they were not redeemed.

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