“As He spake these words, many believed on Him. Then said Jesus to those Jews which believed on Him, ‘If ye continue in My word, then are ye My disciples indeed; And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free’” (John 8:30-32). We love to quote that last phrase, but we need to make sure we keep it in the context that Jesus said it. Of course, the phrase, “ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free” is accurate all alone, but there is a depth that comes when you see it with the verses before it. Jesus made a statement to those who were in front of Him, but it is a statement that reaches all the way to where we are today.
Jesus was telling us that it is not enough to simply believe what He is saying. “Many believed on Him,” but not all would be committed to “continue” in His word. The word, “continue” here has the idea of remaining in, or living in something. In essence, Jesus was telling those who want to be His disciples that it will involve more than a lunch where 5,000 are fed … or getting your friend healed … or water turning into wine. It will mean that you stay, and stay, and stay in His Word.
One of the reasons I began these devotionals in 2010 was because I wanted to encourage our children to be in the Word of God every day. I don’t want them simply visiting their Bible on Sunday morning, and possibly Sunday night, and once-in-awhile on a Wednesday night. I wanted to encourage them to be in the Word every day of their lives. I know what a difference the discipline of reading the Bible has meant to me. I cannot imagine trying to go through a day without some guidance from the words in my Bible. I make a mess of things even when doing this; I would hate to see what would happen if I didn’t have its influence in my life daily.
As I said earlier in this study, we often hear verse 32 quoted … but let’s not miss the connection with verse 31. I think we are in desperate need of truth in our world today. I think we are in desperate need of clear truth in our churches and individual lives today. I also think that it is not enough to know the truth (to “believe” as many did in verse 30). I think we need to take those truths we see and learn from our Bible and put them into our daily lives and in our behavior! Today determine that you will put flesh to the truths you read in your Bible. Decide to show your family, your neighbors, your friends the Word of God in your actions. Belief is not enough. We need to continue in the Word that Jesus gave us. Live in those truths and allow them to live in us. That’s where true freedom comes from!