In John 8:31-33 Jesus was quoted as saying to an audience of Jews: “If you abide in My word [continually obeying My teachings and living in accordance with them then] you are truly My disciples. And you will know the truth [regarding salvation], and the truth will set you free [from the penalty of sin].” They answered Him, “We are Abraham’s descendants and have never been enslaved to anyone. What do You mean by saying, ‘You will be set free’?”
Our Need to Abide
All around us are illustrations that would have been props in Jesus’ parables. For example, just as a cell phone is not capable of powering itself and needs to be connected to a charger which needs to be connected to a power source (outlet), so we are not capable of producing the fruit which honours God apart from Himself. According to Genesis 2:7 after man was formed God “…breathed into his nostrils the breath of life and the man became a living being.” Using the illustration again: there is a cell phone with power and all the capabilities of functioning except a software system downloaded onto it. Here was Adam, physically formed with strength and intellectual powers yet without a software system (beliefs, knowledge, etc.) as of yet. As we continue in the same chapter of Genesis we learn that God’s presence sustained Adam’s deepest need. Adam began learning (downloading the Divine software) from God and was invested in the work of reflecting his maker through trusted acts (tilling the ground, naming animals, enjoying God’s company, etc.). Separation from our Creator is the worst occurrence we can experience and is the consequence of choosing not to trust His leading. Isaiah 59:2 tells us: “…your iniquities have separated you from your God your sins have hidden his face from you, so that he will not hear.” Free to choose whether to remain connected is a choice of life or death and maybe why Jesus made it plain “If” we abide in Him.
Our Need to know the Truth
I have heard the heart-breaking cries of people who have lost loved ones to suicide and murder request answers they didn’t have access to. Their reason was always the same: for closure. What is it about truth that brings us to a place of closure? Jesus declared about Himself that He is “The way, the truth and the life.” John 14:6. Therefore, uniting with Jesus heals us from the brokenness caused by believing lies because truth creates healing. This is the infection that caused separation in the beginning and its affect still haunt us today. The “If” in John 8:31 makes it plain that we can choose to abide in another: the devil. Verse 44 describes this sinister character as such “…He was a murderer from the beginning, not holding to the truth, for there is no truth in him. When he lies, he speaks his native language, for he is a liar and the father of lies.” Our need to know the truth about ourselves, the world around us, sin and God is key to us being healed from the disease of sin. We oftentimes sin against God because of misbeliefs about ourselves, sin and/or God. Revealing the truth is an act of compassion towards us because it is what we need to make a conscious choice to abide in Jesus and establish closure within us regarding the war between light and darkness.
Our Need to be Healed
Our condition has been diagnosed and according to Isaiah 1:5 our “whole head is injured” and our “whole heart afflicted.” And Romans 5:17 explains the cause: “by the trespass of the one man, death reigned through that one man…” The Jews in our opening verse seemed to be blinded because they ascribed their birth line (Abraham’s seed) to excluding them from being infected by Adam’s choice. The tendency to accept our spiritual and moral condition is something we all lack. Adam and Eve covered themselves with leaves (Genesis 3:8), the nation of Israel hid behind sacrifices (1 Samuel 15:22) and we hide behind church attendance, education, good works, etc. The root to producing Holy fruit is accepting Jesus as Lord of our lives! According to Matthew 3:17, at His baptism, a voice from heaven said, “This is my Son, whom I love; with him I am well pleased.” On a different occasion with the presence of the prophets (Elijah) and old testament law (Moses) surrounding Him the voice from heaven declared: “This is my Son, whom I love; with him I am well pleased. Listen to him!” Matthew 17:5. Jesus is the vine that branches which produce good fruit are connected to. He is Lord, He is Saviour and He is our lifeline!