“Continue in My Word”

“If ye continue in My Word, then are ye My disciples indeed; and ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.” —John 8:31,32

THE ‘WORD’ OF Jesus here referred to, in reality, is the Word of God, for Jesus spoke only those things which were given to him to speak by his Heavenly Father. It was through Jesus that the meaning of the Old Testament Scriptures was revealed, and the apostles of Jesus were the inspired instruments used by God to further unfold the divine plan and pass the message of the Word of God on to the church. In a general sense we may properly think of ‘the Word of Jesus’ as being the embodiment of the entire Bible, the Holy Scriptures given to the church by inspiration.

We should especially appreciate the emphasis the theme text places on the thought of ‘continuing’ in the Word. The Bible is the great foundation of the truth movement. We use the name Bible Students because we thoroughly believe that the Bible alone should be considered the sole inspired authority over our beliefs and practices. Our text suggests that we continue to recognize the authority and importance of the inspired Word of God as its meaning was brought to light by Jesus at his First Advent, and also at his Second Advent when he girded himself and came forth to serve the household with “meat in due season.”—Matt. 24:45


Jesus said that those who continued in his Word would be his ‘disciples indeed’. Millions have professed to be disciples of Christ, but they have been guided by the “traditions of men.” Jesus prayed on behalf of his disciples, “Sanctify them through thy truth: Thy Word is Truth.” (John 17:17) There is no way of being a disciple ‘indeed’ except through the sanctifying power of the Word. And it is essential to continue in the Word if its full powers of sanctification are to accomplish the will of God in the lives of those who have dedicated themselves to follow in the footsteps of Jesus.

Throughout the ages Satan has endeavored to substitute the traditions of men for the glorious truths of the Word of God. In the closing centuries of the Jewish Age, the Talmud came into existence, and found a more prominent place in the minds and hearts of the Israelites than the inspired Word of God. Even to this day, the teachings of the Talmud are placed virtually on a par with the Old Testament Scriptures so far as the Jewish people are concerned. This not only detracts from the authority of God’s Word, but to this day, is a factor in blinding the minds of the Jewish people to the real plan of God which their Bible, the “Torah,” as they call it, sets forth.

Soon after the apostles fell asleep in death, the traditions of men again began to rise in importance among the professed followers of the Master. The Bible was not entirely set aside, although it was kept hidden under the sackcloth of dead languages for many centuries, and only certain favored ones among the clergy were permitted to read it. The teachings of the church were claimed to be of equal importance to those of the Bible. In fact, where there was any difference of meaning, the truth of the Bible was set aside in favor of the traditions of men.

As Bible Students we have learned that this is wrong. We have learned that the Bible alone should be permitted to speak with divine authority, and we want to ‘continue’ in this conviction. At the same time, we want also to recognize that the Lord uses his people in helping one another to understand the truth as set forth in the inspired Word. Paul explains that the Lord has provided “pastors,” “teachers,” and “evangelists” (Eph. 4:11), to help his people understand his Word.

We recognize one of these ‘pastors’ as “that servant” (Matt. 24:45) who was especially used at this end of the age in dispensing ‘meat in due season’. One of the things which helps us to a recognition of the position of ‘that servant’ was his insistence that what he said and wrote should not be accepted as truth unless it was in harmony with, and supported by, the inspired Word of God.


Jesus also promised that those who continued in the ‘Word’ would ‘know the truth’. In John 7:16,17 Jesus is quoted as saying, “My doctrine is not mine, but his that sent me. If any man will do his will, he shall know of the doctrine, whether it be of God, or whether I speak of myself.” Dedication of one’s self to the knowing and doing of God’s will is essential in order to know the truth. It is God’s will that we follow in the footsteps of Jesus, continuing to be guided by his teachings and example. On this basis only, may we expect to know the truth.

In Psalm 89:15 we read, “Blessed is the people that know the joyful sound: they shall walk, O Lord, in the light of thy countenance.” The ‘joyful sound’ is the truth of the divine plan; the truth of redemption through Christ; the truth of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus; and the truth concerning the coming “times of restitution of all things, which God hath spoken by the mouth of all his holy prophets since the world began.”—Acts 3:19-21; I Tim. 2:3-6

To know this “joyful sound” is one of the evidences of God’s favor, and assurance that we are enjoying the light of our Heavenly Father’s ‘countenance’, that he is smiling upon us with his love. The reverse of this is also true. If we are walking in the light of his countenance we will know the truth, and there is no way to do this except to continue in the Word, which means continuing to be humbly obedient to all its precepts, and thus to be sanctified by its hallowed influence in our hearts and lives.

How precious are the doctrines of the truth to those who are walking in the light of the Lord’s countenance! How thankful we are to have been able, by God’s grace, to cast off the traditions of men, and to know the mysteries of the kingdom of heaven! How blessed is the mystery of “Christ in you, the hope of glory”! (Col. 1:27) How thankful we are to know that we are living in the harvest which is the end of the age, and that Christ is present as the Lord of the harvest! (Matt. 9:38) Truly, the Lord is good in permitting us to know the truth.


Jesus further explained that those who know the truth are made free by the truth. (John 8:32,36) To the Jewish disciples of Jesus’ day this meant freedom from the yoke of the Law, and from the burdensome traditions of the elders. Jesus said, “Come unto me, all ye that labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly of heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.”—Matt. 11:28-30

Freedom from the bondage of sin and death is also one of the precious rewards of the truth. The truth does not give us perfection of the flesh, but it does give us assurance that our unwilling imperfections are covered by the robe of Christ’s righteousness and that we are no longer under condemnation to death. True, as the world views us we are dying just as everyone else. The psalmist foretold this when he wrote, “Ye shall die like men.” But while this is true so far as the outward appearance is concerned, from God’s standpoint we are falling in death “like one of the princes. (Ps. 82:6,7) Yes, we are being planted together in the likeness of Jesus’ death, not as sinners condemned to death.—Rom. 6:3-5

Having been made free from the bondage of sin and death, we have voluntarily become bondslaves of Jesus Christ. We cannot use our freedom to please self, but only to serve the Lord. We have dedicated ourselves to accept his direction in our lives, and he leads us in the way of sacrifice. We follow the “Lamb” whithersoever he goeth (Rev. 14:4), knowing that the Holy Spirit led him into death. So, freely and willingly, we walk in his footsteps of sacrifice knowing that they will lead us into death.

But just as the joy which was set before Jesus enabled him to endure the cross and to despise the shame (Heb. 12:2), so we, too, are strengthened by the “exceeding great and precious promises” by which we are made “partakers of the divine nature.” (II Pet. 1:4) Such a glorious prospect causes all things else to fade into insignificance.

In this, we share the sentiments of Paul, who wrote, “I count all things but loss for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord: for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and do count them but dung, that I may win Christ, and be found in him, not having mine own righteousness, which is of the Law, but that which is through the faith of Christ, the righteousness which is of God by faith: that I may know him, and the power of his resurrection, and the fellowship of his sufferings, being made conformable unto his death; if by any means I might attain unto the resurrection of the dead.”—Phil. 3:8-11

Dawn Bible Students Association
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