Lesson 8:
The Need of Those under the Bondage of Sin—Life’s Setting Free

Bible reading
You may find it helpful to also read the entire case found in John 8:1-59.

John 8:3, 7, 12, 36
3 And the scribes and Pharisees brought a woman caught in adultery, and having set her in the midst.
7 But when they persisted in questioning Him, He stood up and said to them, He who is without sin among you, let him be the first to throw a stone at her.
12 Again therefore Jesus spoke to them, saying, I am the light of the world; he who follows Me shall by no means walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life.
36 If therefore the Son sets you free, you shall be free indeed.


The seventh case presents a guilty, sinful woman who was caught in adultery. However, the Lord turned the situation to expose how the self-righteous scribes and Pharisees were equally sinful in the sight of God. When man fell in the garden of Eden, all humanity was injected with the serpent’s poisonous element (John 8:44) to be constituted as sinners with a corrupted, sinful nature. All men are now slaves to this indwelling sin (John 8:34). Only Jesus is qualified to condemn us, but He would not. Rather, Jesus came to save man and set him free from the slavery of sin by shining within us as the light of life.

Bible study reading
Please prayerfully read through the following portions of ministry related to this lesson.

The religionists were trying their best to find fault with the Lord Jesus…They caught a sinful woman and brought her to the Lord Jesus. According to the law, such a sinful woman had to be stoned to death, but the religionists did not do it. They brought her to the Lord in an attempt to trap Him. They said, “Teacher, this woman has been caught committing adultery. Moses commanded us to stone such a person. What do You say?”…The Lord stood up and said, “He who is without sin among you, let him be the first to throw a stone at her” (John 8:7). The Lord seemed to be saying, “You may stone her to death, but someone must take the lead. No one is qualified to take the lead in this except the one who is without sin.”…This word pierced their conscience…Who is without sin? No one. Do not condemn others, for while you condemn others you are the same as they are…This incident manifests the Lord’s wisdom. The people came to condemn the sinful woman, but the Lord’s question convicted them of their own sinfulness. (Life-study of John, msg. 19, section 2)

The devil is the source of sin (8:44)…Whoever commits sin is a slave of sin (8:34). A slave is always under a certain bondage. Satan, the devil, has brought all humankind under the bondage of sin by imparting himself into man as the sinful nature that compels man to sin. It is impossible for anyone to free himself from such a slavery.

The Lord is qualified to forgive man’s sin and able to set him free from the slavery of sin (8:32-34). The Lord not only gives us life, but He also enters into us as our life. Satan’s subtlety was not only to cause us to do something wrong; it was to inject himself into us. Thus, sin is no longer merely objective, an outward wrongdoing. Sin is in the very subjective nature of our being. It is no longer outside of us; it is inside of us. It has even become our very self…Therefore, anything that is outside of our nature cannot help us in dealing with the sin that is in our nature. We need another life to come into us…We need another life, a stronger, richer, higher life, to set us free from this slavery. Only the Lord can be such a life, and He truly is such a life because He is the divine life. The divine life is higher than the human life. It is also higher than the satanic life. When this divine life comes into us it defeats the serpentine life and nature. (Life-study of John, msg. 19, section 3)

How does the Lord Jesus set us free from sin? He does it by coming into us as the light of life…When we received the Lord, He entered into us as our life. This indwelling life now shines within us. That is light. Gradually and spontaneously, this shining of the indwelling life sets us free. (Life-study of John, msg. 20, section 1)

Lesson help

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Going deeper
Please read or listen to these materials for an in-depth study of this lesson.

Further reading:
Life-study of John, msg. 19

Radio broadcast link:
Broadcast 25, The Need of Those under the Bondage of Sin—Life’s Setting Free (1) & (2)
(Click the link above and select Broadcast 25) 

Footnotes from Recovery Version of the New Testament:
John 8:3, footnote 1
John 8:28, footnote 1
John 8:44, footnotes 1 and 3
Romans 7:18, footnote 2

Questions for personal or corporate study:
References in parentheses indicate readings or broadcasts that may be helpful in answering the questions.
  • What are the source, nature, and issue of sin? What is the solution to the problem of sin? (John 8:44, footnote 3; John 8:3, footnote 1)
  • What is the significance of Jesus being the Son of Man? (Life-study of John, msg. 19, section 2)
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Next week

The Need of the Blind in Religion—Life’s Sight and Life’s Shepherding

Regardless of whether we are honorable, ethical, or pious persons in society or exhibit openly immoral behavior, our diagnosis is the same. John chapter 8 unveils that the problem of sin is not what we do, but rather what we are in our sinful nature. Christ functions in us to nourish us and simultaneously remove the negative elements within us. Next week we will see that accompanying sin is darkness, and therefore man is not only born sinful but is also born blind inwardly. The Lord’s way of healing is highly unusual to our natural concept, but it is a sign that conveys a wonderful principle of how to receive sight and light.

We highly recommend using the printed Life-study messages as a tool to explore this lesson. There are over 1,900 Life-study messages in total, and this amazing resource expands and develops this lesson in greater detail.

View Life-study of the Bible resources on our website
Works Cited

Lee, Witness. Life-study of John. Anaheim: Living Stream Ministry, 1985.

All verses and excerpts © 2021 Living Stream Ministry.
Used by permission. Reproduction is prohibited. 
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