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 NIV)
In this passage, Jesus addressed some Jews who had believed him but were not yet his disciples. It is not clear what they believed, but his words sparked something that drew them to Jesus. They may have believed that he was a good teacher, a miracle worker, or even sent from God. But, whatever they believed, they had not chosen to follow him.
But Jesus is not satisfied with people just believing in him. He wants us to move from simple belief to discipleship. And that requires that we “hold” to his teaching. To hold can be translated as remain, abide, or dwell and is used 38 times in the gospel of John. To be a disciple of Jesus, we need to dwell in his teachings. Camp out on them, learn what he is teaching us, and make them a part of our lives. Not just periodically, but as a way of life.
And if we will do that, we will know the truth. More than just an intellectual knowing. When we dwell in Jesus’ teaching, we will experience the truth. The truth that will set us free. Free from the deception of Satan, the father of lies. Free to live as children of God. And free to truly know Jesus, who is the truth (Jn. 14:6).