This post was first shared as issue 9 of These Sacred Words
My year-long Bible reading plan is taking me through the Gospels and I just love it. I’ve been able to see Jesus’ character as I read the accounts from the disciples who spent so much time with him. Recently I read this verse and I slowed down a bit.
“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.””
The word “abide” is often used in Christian spheres, but its meaning can sometimes be ambiguous, so I decided to dive a little deeper into the word and into this verse specifically.
To abide means to continue, to remain, to tarry, to persist, to endure.
Jesus remarks that when you abide in the Word, you will know the truth, and the truth will then set you free. It’s clear that this knowledge that leads to freedom only comes from abiding in the Word.
Jesus challenges his hearers (and us, those who say they believe) to continue believing, to continue abiding by seeking the Lord through his Word and his Son. The beautiful and paradoxical thing is that this act (continuing in the faith) that Christ calls his followers to is one that can only be accomplished through the steadfast and sustaining power of the Lord.
It is this faith, this continuing and abiding belief in the Word, that leads to knowledge of the truth. This knowledge is a conviction, an assurance, a confidence in the truths and promises of God based on the Word of God.
And, incredibly, this knowledge of the Word of God leads to freedom – freedom from sin, from pride, from fear, from lust, from oneself. These things no longer have a legitimate hold on you because from the point of salvation on you are not a slave to your self or your sin, you are a slave to Christ.
The freedom that Christ gives is eternal; when you are set free you are set free forever. His command to abide in his Word is therefore seen as the most beautiful and loving command ever heard.
Believe in God. Commit yourself to him and then keep committing and keep believing.
Abide in Christ, and there find abundant joy and freedom.
May you find joy in the fact that the Word of God, which leads to knowledge of truth and freedom, is freely available to you. May you cling to that Word; may you eat and breathe and seek it for all it’s worth, because it is there that you will find more of God.
May you abide in the truth of the Word deeply, with the assurance that the Spirit of God will sustain you in your faith and pursuit of him. May you confidently walk in the freedom Christ has purchased for you. May you dwell in the truth of the Word and allow it to gently weed out the pride, fear, and sin in your life.
Finally, may you remember that the God you serve is eternally existing, exceedingly gracious, and with you always.