John 8:31-36 and Being a Disciple

jesus1There are a lot of references in the New Testament to being a disciple of Jesus, of being one of his followers.  This one in John gets to the heart of all the rest.

 Jesus said to the Jews who believed in him, “You are truly my disciples if you remain faithful to my teaching.  Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.” They responded, “We are Abraham’s children; we’ve never been anyone’s slaves. How can you say that we will be set free?” Jesus answered, “I assure you that everyone who sins is a slave to sin.  A slave isn’t a permanent member of the household, but a son is.  Therefore, if the Son makes you free, you really will be free.”

If we are faithful to Jesus’ teaching, then we are his disciples.  Being a disciple is not made up of simply attending a church service or reading a Bible.  It takes the commitment to actually put into practice in our lives what Jesus teaches about how to live.  Then we will be disciples.

And through that kind of living, we will be set free.  We will be free from the power of sin in our lives.  This does not mean that we will be free from the effects of sin in the world–others’ sins or our own that we have committed before this.  It means that we will no longer be trapped in a cycle of sinning that seems to have no way of escape for us.  Those sinful actions that were so easy to ensnare us will become increasingly less powerful in our lives as we faithfully follow Jesus.

As we try to follow Jesus’ life and teachings to the best of our ability, he will give us his grace and power through the Holy Spirit to follow him even more fully.  This becomes a never-ending cycle of becoming more and more like Christ–loving all those around us, praying for all, serving all.

For that is what this freedom in Christ really is.  It is a freedom to obey God.  It is a freedom to serve others.  It is a freedom to share God’s love with those around us.  It is also a freedom to see the Church grow and a freedom to be persecuted for the sake of the Gospel.

All of this rests on our faithfully obeying Jesus’ teachings, though.  It is impossible to be a disciple of Jesus in word only.  Faith requires action.  It is likewise impossible to experience freedom in Christ if we only honor Jesus with our words and not our lives.

May we all be truly free in Christ!

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