“If you abide in my word, you are truly my disciples, and you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.” John 8:31b-32
St Paul tells the baptized in Christ, “We were buried therefore with him by baptism into death, in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, we too might walk in newness of life.” (Romans 6:4) Jesus has set you free from sin and death in order that you may live your new life in Him as His disciple, learning to observe all that He commanded (Matthew 28:16). To keep you free and to instruct you as His disciple, Jesus comes to you through His Word. So, it is in His Word where His disciples abide (remain, continue). Others may reject, avoid, neglect, or may not even know Christ’s Word. Disciples of Jesus gladly receive it, embrace it, consider it, learn it, speak it, trust it, obey it, and submit to it.
Disciples of Jesus are called to sacrifice and submit to the will of God. As Paul states, “I appeal to you therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship. Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.” (Romans 12:1-2)
Disciples of Jesus are at odds with the world. As John said, “Do not be surprised, brothers, that the world hates you.” (1 John 3:13) The Word of Christ is the Word of the cross, which is “folly to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God…For since, in the wisdom of God, the world did not know God through wisdom, it pleased God through the folly of what we preach to save those who believe… Christ crucified, a stumbling block to Jews and folly to Gentiles, but to those who are called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God.” (1 Corinthians 1:18, 21, 23-24)
Rather than return to slavery by following the weak and worthless elementary principles of the world, disciples of Jesus abide in His Word. As Paul warns, “Formerly, when you did not know God, you were enslaved to those that by nature are not gods. But now that you have come to know God, or rather to be known by God, how can you turn back again to the weak and worthless elementary principles of the world, whose slaves you want to be once more?... For freedom Christ has set us free; stand firm therefore, and do not submit again to a yoke of slavery.” (Galatians 4:8-9, 5:1)
Abiding in the Word of God is not a casual or painless endeavor, But if you abide in His Word, you will know the Truth, and the Truth will set you free.