“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
Often people quote the last part of this verse to emphasize the importance of truth. But in its proper context, this verse is not saying truth is important per se, or that it is important because it will set us free. Instead, Jesus is emphasizing the importance of following Jesus, trusting in His word or teachings. This will actually show that we are indeed His disciples. The result of that kind of trust is knowing truth by actual experience. This means that we can start obeying Jesus by faith, even though we don’t have experience yet. But by doing so, according to Jesus, we will be rewarded. We will know the truth and the truth will set us free. This is the blessing of obedience by faith, we gain experiential knowledge of the truth, and this knowledge will help us to trust God more. Eventually, we will experience more and more freedom. Freedom, of course, is synonymous with salvation.
So, when you hear a teaching from Jesus, and you have no experience whatsoever that it is true, you will be faced with a decision. Will you obey or will you disobey? My suggestion is that you should obey by faith, even though you may have some doubts. Don’t worry about it. God can handle your doubts. Just trust Him even with your little faith. Once you do that, you will see that what Jesus says is actually true. No one who puts their trust in Jesus, no matter how small, will be put to shame. Knowledge of the truth will be your reward. Not just simple head knowledge but actual verifiable experiential knowledge. This is the exciting promise of this verse. Shalom! (PB)