Got back last night from a much needed couple of days back in the homeland filling the tank with grandkids time (I think their parents were there too). But though the reserves were being replenished, the routine was unsurprisingly dismantled. Morning quiet time replaced with morning play time. Wouldn’t have it any other way. But not gonna lie, either — feels good to be hovering over my bible again this morning.
But something Jesus says reminds me that it’s not just because I’m a guy who likes routine. Less a reflection of what I might think is my commitment to spending time in His Word, but more a reminder that it is actually evidence of the gracious work He has undertaken in me.
So Jesus said to the Jews who had believed in 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.” ~ Jesus
(John 8:31-32 ESV)
Apparently, Jesus recognized that there were those who were disciples, and there were those who were truly disciples. Those who professed to be followers and those who really were following. Those who said they were learners and those who were committed to learning. Or as the NKJV puts it, those who were disciples and those who were disciples indeed.
And the test? The distinguishing factor? The objective reality? Disciples indeed exhibit this characteristic — they abide in His word. That’s where you’ll find them hanging out.
Disciples indeed, like sheep who having come to know the Shepherd’s voice, long to hear it again and again. They, like students who have had their minds enlightened and their hearts made alive with understanding, continue in wanting to hear afresh the Teacher’s teaching. They, like servants who have experienced the joy of laboring for a good Master, persist in wanting to know His will so that they might, by His continued enabling, do His will.
Disciples indeed are not saved by abiding in His word. But they abide in His word because they are saved. It’s not a test to pass in order to be worthy of bearing the title, “Disciple Indeed.”
Rather, it’s a trait present because of the work of regeneration that takes those dead in trespass and sin and gives them new life. Takes those who once served in the kingdom of darkness and translates them into His kingdom of light. That takes blind men and gives them sight. That allows deaf people to hear a call and then gives them ears to hear what the Savior says. That takes people who once cared little for the word of God and now compels them to want to abide in it.
Abiding in His word is not a discipline to boast in. It is a gift of grace to rejoice in. A glorious reminder that through the finished work of the cross, the glorious hope of the empty tomb, and the life-energizing ministry of the Holy Spirit, we are disciples indeed.
By His grace. For His glory.