As He spoke these words, many believed in Him. Then Jesus said to those Jews who believed Him, If you abide in My word, you are My disciples indeed. And you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free. Most assuredly, I say to you, whoever commits sin is a slave of sin. And a slave does not abide in the house forever, but a son abides forever. Therefore if the Son makes you free, you shall be free indeed.
The Apostle John in these verses outlines the basic steps of genuine saving faith in Jesus. Which makes this section of scripture pivotal to our understanding of what it means to follow Christ. Spiritual maturity expresses itself in full commitment to Jesus and the truth of scripture. The first step along the road is salvation by believing in Him whom God has sent, which is to believe and accept Jesus as our Lord and Savior. Jesus is the eternal God of heaven who stepped out of eternity and took on humanity in order that He could pay the price for us at the Cross of Calvary. And that through our faith in Him we could have eternal life. Moreover, through our faith in Christ, we become children of God and joint-heirs with Jesus in the kingdom of God. Through faith we are adopted into the family of God and the faithful remnant of Israel. The second step is to abide in Jesus, we do that through the power of the Holy Spirit who helps us to abide in His word with regular Bible study and fellowship with other believers.
Doing this shows genuine faith, as we build ourselves up in the truth of God’s word. However, we must remember this is not something we do under our own power. With our salvation comes the indwelling of the Holy Spirit and God’s process of spiritual growth inside of us. This process of spiritual growth is called “Sanctification.” And it starts the moment we accept Jesus as our Lord and Savior. With salvation, our spirits are made new in Christ and the Holy Spirit indwells us and begins the process of sanctification which changes us from the inside out. This in turn sets us free, because it is through Jesus that we have true freedom from sin and freedom from the penalty of sin which is death. Finally, with God’s gift of salvation through Christ, we are released from the bondage of sin, so we are no longer slaves to sin; but now children of God, delighting in the things of God. This means sin no longer has control over our hearts, our desires or our minds. Instead, we have been made free by Jesus and the blood He shed for us at the Cross.