In John 8:31-32, Jesus gave a simple statement (or I would also call it a requirement), “If you abide in my word, you are truly my disciples, and you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.” Jesus was issuing a challenge in this statement: If you want to be my disciple, and if you want to be free, you will have to abide in my word. Now this statement seems simple and straight forward, but there are many who will agree with this verse on the surface and yet reject the challenge contained therein.
Not everyone is going to accept the truth. We can issue the most passionate plea, the most logical argument from the word, and do so with the greatest outpouring of love, and there will still be many that will reject the truth. That is the painful truth about loving our neighbor as ourself. We genuinely seek their salvation — but they have to seek it, too!
In addition to the lost soul that may not be ready and willing to accept and obey the truth, there are also those that claim to desire salvation but will not accept all of the truth. One might confess a belief in Christ, claim a wholehearted commitment to Him, and yet still reject part of the word. You might hear someone make the statement: “I just can’t accept….” In other words, confronted with plain teaching from the word, and even though they claim belief and commitment, they will not yield themselves to some part of it.
Consider again Jesus’ statement, “if you abide in my word, you are truly my disciples.” Whether we accept the truth determines whether we really are a disciple of Christ! Remember that the definition of disciple is one who not only learns from the teacher but puts that knowledge into action. It’s not just an intellectual exercise. We have to live it from then on.
Next time you open your New Testament and start reading, think on these verses. Are you willing to accept and abide in the word? That means all of it — there’s no discipleship in picking and choosing! Our motivation in seeking truth must be to seek it all. We can’t say we seek the truth but avoid the more challenging teachings from it.
“Examine yourselves, to see whether you are in the faith. Test yourselves.” (2 Corinthians 13:5)