Continue in Jesus' word for truth, freedom
Jesus once told a number of Jews who believed in 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.” Now those are two things this world desperately longs for and yet cannot seem to obtain: truth and freedom. Most of us want to know what is really true and can’t stand it when we are duped or someone pulls a fast one over on us. We are thankful for the many freedoms this country affords, and we get upset when we feel someone is trying to encroach upon our freedoms. What Jesus is telling us here is that we can know bona fide truth and obtain a freedom that no government official can ever take away from us. The obvious question is, how? How do we know truth and gain lasting freedom? Jesus’ solution seems simple, “continue in my word.” The apostle John records these words in John 8:31-32 where Jesus has been speaking to a group of Jews. Now what may startle us is what Jesus’ has said to them prior to this and this provides the all important context. He told them they would die in their sin unless they believed in Him (vs 21, 24), and later on He will tell them that those who commit sin is a slave to sin (vs 34). As you can imagine they were shocked at what Jesus said to them.
Today, these things would shock us as well since we typically don’t look at ourselves as being enslaved to sin. Maybe we do a few things wrong every now and then, but enslaved? It may not be politically correct, but Jesus never came to be popular but to speak the truth, and Jesus is speaking of people enslaved to sin. The scriptures teach us that all men are in sin (Romans 3:9-19) and are enslaved to it apart from Christ (Romans 6:16-20). Thankfully, Jesus gives us the key in John 8:31-32 for unlocking these chains of sin that have enslaved us. He tells us that continuing in His word is the key to break us free from our sin. In other words, we must ditch the buffet mentality of going through the His words and picking and choosing what we want to believe. We must consistently listen to and believe everything He says, not just the words that are pleasing to our ears. Then we will know Jesus, who is the truth, (John 14:6) and He will set us free (John 8:36). We will know the truth about His death to take away our sins (John 1:29) and remove the wrath of God that abides on us and give us eternal, abundant life (John 3:36, 10:10). We will be free to know His love (John 3:16), His grace (John 1:16), His living waters (John 4:14) and worship Him for eternity (John 4:23). This is liberating truth and true freedom. Do you have it?