John 8:31, “To the Jews who had believed him, Jesus said, ‘If you hold to my teaching, you are really my disciples.’”
To be a disciple of Christ it is essential that you hold to His teachings. To claim that you know Jesus and then not do what He teaches makes you a liar according to John. He wrote, “Whoever says, ‘I know him,’ but does not do what he commands is a liar, and the truth is not in that person” (1 John 2:4).
In today’s verse Jesus was speaking to Jews that had come to believe in Him as the Messiah. Jesus went on to teach them that their “belief” must be followed by their “obedience.” Jesus did not only want “believers,” He wanted “disciples.” Sadly, they chose to get offended because they didn’t want to admit they needed freedom from their sins. They thought they were good people, since they were religious Jews, and that they only needed to add a “belief” in Jesus to their already righteous lives. However, Jesus wanted them, along with all of His disciples, to be transformed from the inside out by His teachings.
The revelation of following Jesus’ teachings, being what separates a casual believer from a dedicated disciple, is seen all throughout the New Testament. James, the half-brother of Jesus declared, “Faith by itself, if it is not accompanied by action, is dead” (James 2:17). And Paul wrote that we were saved to do good works. The good works bear witness to our salvation. In Ephesians 2:10 it reads, “For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.” There is no way around it; true disciples believe and follow all of Jesus’ teachings. The ole’ timers used to say, “If you work the Word, it will work for you!”
Jesus is calling all believers to be followers of all His teachings. He commands everyone to not only “believe” what He teaches, but to “do” what He teaches.
The idea of “holding” onto Jesus’ teachings gives the impression that we must never let go of what He says. Think about holding on to Jesus’ teachings like you would hold on to a life preserver in the middle of the ocean. At anytime you could let go, but because you value your life you hold on to it with all your strength. As born again believers, Jesus expects us to hold on to His teachings by the power of the Holy Spirit. Make a decision today to hold to Jesus’ teachings and never let go!
- Learn all of Jesus’ teachings by reading the Bible.
- Hold onto Jesus’ teachings by obeying them.
- Never let go of Jesus’ teachings in disobedience; if you do, be quick to obey His command to repent.