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)
Notice the order of the if-then: If you hold to my teaching, then you will know the truth.
You see, later on in this discussion Jesus says, “Do you want to know why you can’t hear what I am saying? It’s because you are not listening with an ear to obey” (see vv. 43-47).
In other words, their tendency—and ours too—is to say, “If I hear truth from You, then I will obey.”
But this attitude is pragmatic—it’s like saying, “It has to ring true with what I already know.” But the problem is, Jesus’ teachings are so counter-cultural and counterintuitive that they may never ring true with what you already know.
Instead my attitude should be, “I will obey. No matter what You say to me, I will do it. Even if it sounds uncomfortable, I will do whatever You tell me.”
If you HOLD to my teaching, then you will KNOW the truth.
God will not speak a word I can hear and understand UNLESS I am committed to obeying every word He speaks. My attitude of obedience must come before His truth will be revealed. Let’s not get this mixed up with, “If You speak the truth, then I will obey.”