One of the things I love about Scripture memorization is the practice time, when I can meditate deeply on the meaning of the passage I’m practicing. One such passage is:
To the Jews who had believed him, Jesus said, “If you hold to my teaching, you are really my disciples. Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.” John 8:31-32
During a recent time when I was practicing this passage, something struck me that I’d never considered before. If you pay close attention to this passage, Jesus is communicating a profound sequence that takes place with his followers:
- Faith – to the Jews who had believed in Him. This is not just a generic “gotta have faith” pep talk. This is belief in the Son of the Living God!
- Obedience – “If you hold to My teaching”. Holding to His teaching rather than ignoring His teaching is obedience. Jesus wants obedience. He says “Why do you call me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ and do not do what I say?” (Luke 6:46). Likewise, the half-brother of the Lord says “Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says.” (James 1:22)
- Discipleship – “you are really My disciples.” True disciples follow and obey.
- Knowledge – “Then you will know the truth”. Obedience to Jesus and His teaching result in the disciple knowing it is true.
- Freedom – “the truth will set you free”. Following and obeying Jesus does not result in bondage, but rather in freedom. Jesus said “He has sent me to proclaim liberty to the captives and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty those who are oppressed” (Luke 4:18b). That is freedom from bondage to sin. Romans 6:14 says “For sin shall not be your master, because you are not under law, but under grace”.
It is a journey that begins with faith, continues in obedience and the end result is freedom! Praise God!