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.” (John 8:31-32)
Genuine salvation and true discipleship is proven by abiding in the Word of God. It’s that simple and at the same time, that complex.
What does it mean to abide? The New Testament word for abide is μένω (meno) meaning to stay, remain and to continue. Within the context of today’s text, what those who believe in Jesus are to “abide in” is the Word of God. If we believers do this, we demonstrate that we truly are Jesus’ disciples. This then is a pivotal passage for believers to understand genuine salvation and true discipleship.
The result of abiding in the Word of God is that the true disciple of Jesus will know or understand the truth of God’s Word. We will have an understanding of reality or the way things really are. This is where abiding in the truth of God’s Word may become complex or difficult. For you see, there are truth’s contained in the Scriptures which we may not initially like or understand: election and predestination, for example. These are hard truths given to us by a holy God. He will not compromise His truth, and neither should His disciples.
When we seek to understand and receive God’s Word, that exposure to truth will bring us a liberty, or a freedom, to do what we ought to do before God and other people. This freedom is a growing and developing liberty which is not stagnant but vibrant and alive because of our relationship to Christ as Savior and Lord.
It is a freedom which prompts the husband to truly sacrificially love his wife. It is a freedom which prompts a wife to truly submit to her husband. It is a freedom which prompts a child to truly obey their parents and for parents to not frustrate their children. It is a freedom which prompts the employee, and employer, to dedicate their work to God and His glory and not for their own advancement whoever it may hurt. It is a freedom which prompts the citizen to be responsible in obeying the law, to be praying for their leaders and to be living as good neighbors within their community.
Are you truly free in Christ? May we live lives of liberty which is grounded in the person and work of Jesus Christ alone.
Soli deo Gloria!