Then Jesus said to those Jews who had believed him, “If you continue in my word you are truly my disciples,” (John 8:31, LEB)

Jesus’ teaching to those Jews who had believed in him.

  1. If you.  There was no guarantee that once someone believed in Jesus that they would continue to believe.  We never see Jesus saying, “once you believe in me, you always believe in me.”  He sets a condition on believing in him when he says, “If you.”
  2. Continue. The word is variously translated as “continue, abide, remain, hold.”  The condition for being truly Jesus’ disciples, is to continue in Jesus’ word.  As a rabbi, Jesus had a set of instruction and teaching that he passed on to his disciples.  He is telling them that they are not truly his disciples unless they follow that body of teaching.  As Messiah, what makes his teaching different is that it is authoritative.  He is not just another rabbi, he is the light of the world!
  3. My word.  Jesus doesn’t just tell his disciples to continue to be his disciples, he tells them to “continue in my word.”  His word was his teaching and instruction that he gave to those who believed in him, for them to follow.  A true follower of Jesus will follow his teaching.

We need to resist the easy-believism that seems to run rampant in our evangelical culture.  The true disciple of Jesus, now as then, will continue obeying his teaching and imitating his life.