“So Jesus said to the Jews who had believed Him, “If you continue in My word, you really are My disciples.” (John 8:31 HCSB)
Jesus lays out here the true test of discipleship for those who had believed in him. Notice that it is not that they confessed belief in him. The true test of discipleship is: “If you continue in my word.”
That word “continue” is the Greek word μένω and it means “continue, abide, remain.” Indeed, the same word is used again twice in John 8.35: A slave does not remain in the household forever, but a son does remain forever. Why do translators use a different word in vs. 35? Search me, I didn’t translate the passage.
The point is that true disciples of Jesus demonstrate their commitment as disciples by abiding, remaining, continuing, in his word. This was, after all, the point of becoming a disciple. When one became a disciple of another person, one was in essence saying, “I think this person has the truth. I want to know the truth and become exactly like my rabbi.”
Jesus says: “Do you want me to be your rabbi? Then ‘continue in my word’ and this will be proof that I am your rabbi. Oh, and by the way, I can set you free from sin.”
Outlandish words, these. One can never accuse Jesus of not making breathtaking claims, that’s for sure.