Christian Security · Doctrinal · OSAS · Security of the Believer

Conditional Security – John 8:31,32, 51

Conditional Security - if-150x150 - Red with Splash

So Jesus said to the Jews who had believed him, “If you abide in my word, you are truly my disciples, and you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.” Truly, truly, I say to you, if anyone keeps my word, he will never see death.” – John 8:31,32, 51 ESV

Many of the passages that I will be looking at during these posts are dependent on the “if” clause that introduces conditionality on the recipient. Therefore it may be interesting to review the greek for the term(s) translated “if” in the New Testament

The following information was found here and is helpful.

A. A CONDITIONAL SENTENCE is one that contains one or more conditional clauses. This grammatical structure aids interpretation because it provides the conditions, reasons or causes why the action of the main verb does or does not occur. There were four types of conditional sentences. They move from that which was assumed to be true from the author’s perspective or for his purpose to that which was only a wish.
B. The FIRST CLASS CONDITIONAL SENTENCE expressed action or being which was assumed to be true from the writer’s perspective or for his purposes even though it was expressed with an “if.” In several contexts it could be translated “since” (cf. Matt. 4:3; Rom. 8:31). However, this does not mean to imply that all FIRST CLASSES are true to reality. Often they were used to make a point in an argument or to highlight a fallacy (cf. Matt. 12:27).
C. The SECOND CLASS CONDITIONAL SENTENCE is often called “contrary to fact.” It states something that was untrue to reality to make a point. Examples:1. “If He were really a prophet, which He is not, He would know who and of what character the woman is who is clinging to Him, but He does not” (Luke 7:39).2. “If you really believed Moses, which you do not, you would believe me, which you do not” (John 5:46).3. “If I were still trying to be pleasing to men, which I am not, I would not be a slave of Christ at all, which I am” (Gal. 1:10).
D. The THIRD CLASS speaks of possible future action. It often assumes the probability of that action. It usually implies a contingency. The action of the main verb is contingent on the action in the “it” clause. Examples from I John: 1:6-10; 2:4,6,9,15,20,21,24,29; 3:21; 4:20; 5:14,16.
E. The FOURTH CLASS is the farthest removed from possibility. It is rare in the NT. As a matter of fact, there is no complete FOURTH CLASS CONDITIONAL SENTENCE in which both parts of the condition fit the definition. An example of a partial FOURTH CLASS is the opening clause in I Pet. 3:14. An example of a partial FOURTH CLASS in the concluding clause is Acts 8:31.

I am no greek freak, so I am very open to teaching and reproof if I make some statements that reveal my ignorance.  With that said, it will be important to define which “IF” is used in John 8:31-32.

From my research, I have found that this particular instance of “IF” is the third class conditional, which, according to Daniel Wallace, (table below) makes “fulfillment uncertain, but still likely”, or in other words, according to Dr. Bob Utley, (text above),” implies a contingency. The action of the main verb is contingent on the action in the “if” clause”

Many of the “IFs” in John are in this class. It is so with the verse below also.

John 8:51 Verily, verily, I say unto you, If a man keep my saying, he shall never see death.

This is no small task to understand the message Jesus is trying to communicate. Obviously, He cannot be referring to physical death, since He kept His word and saw that type of death.

I have read that the verb “see” could be the key to this passage, since He may be referring to “beholding” or “intensively acknowledging” something (See below for Strongs definition)  As one who follows Christ, that person will not behold death in the same way an unbeliever will, that is, he will have a fleeting experience with death, whereas the unbeliever will “live” the experience(?)

Whatever this verse is teaching me, one thing is certain.  The promise is conditional!

G2334 θεωρέω theoreo (theh-o-reh’-o) v.
1. to be a spectator of, i.e. discern
{literally, figuratively (experience) or intensively (acknowledge)}
[from a derivative of G2300 (perhaps by addition of G3708)]
KJV: behold, consider, look on, perceive, see
Root(s): G2300, G3708
Compare: G3700, G1492

Greek Consitional IF s.

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7 thoughts on “Conditional Security – John 8:31,32, 51

  1. I’m trying to share your post on my Facebook page. Is there a way to do that?Sent from my Verizon, Samsung Galaxy smartphone


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