We've heard that God is a loving God, and God is. We've heard that God loves us just as we are, and God does. However the qualified source has to be a speaker of the truth, and yes that means the whole truth - nothing but the truth; that is to say, in so much as God loves us - just as we are, there is an expectation for us to change. Otherwise there would be no need for divine intervention. That change is something that happens in agreement, in cooperation with - in partnership with the empowerment of God for our lives. To clarify: God does God's part, and expects, or requires humanity to do humanity's part.
In the book of John 8:31-32, Jesus communicated to the Jews that believed, that if they continued in the Word (that is the study and practice of it) that they would be his disciples indeed; that they would know the truth, and the truth would make them free. This scripture, and so many others, paints the picture of the required process of our journey toward proximity to and relationship with the sacred God that we long to love and be loved by. Like many gift giving activities, there are two parties and two acceptable actions: The giver who gives, and the recipient who receives. Both parties play a part in this transaction. In fact the transaction is not complete unless both fulfill their roles in this action. First, there would be no belief if God had not initiated the process of engagement through God's divine revelation of Godself. Our response of receiving that revelation is believing that revelation. To deny or refuse it is to reject the gift! These Jews received the revelation of God.
Thus the writer communicating that Jesus is speaking to the Jews that believed, is to further clarify to us that they had fulfilled an integral part of laying hold of what God had for them. They had already believed - which they could not do in and of themselves, as the very act of believing requires divine intervention along with our receiving of that help. Additionally, they also had to continue in the Word. Jesus elucidates for them and us even further that it is not enough that the gift is offered, it must be received. After the gift is received, it must be opened, further examined to understand its purpose - its use, and put in to practice continually. This ongoing work of continuing in the Word again is not something that we can do in and of ourselves. It requires us to continually seek God as we unwrap and unpackage, and apply such an awesome gift to our lives by faith!
To know the Truth that makes us free is the task, and it is the privilege; it is the work, and it is the result of the work, the very state of being, that makes us ready for lift-off! My prayer for us today, is that we would be continually surrendered to this awesome task and privilege of continuing in the Word; and as we do so, may we too more and more each day, know and be known by the Truth who makes us free.
For His Glory,
Until next time, may the Lord God bless you real good!