John 7:17 Illustrated

John 7:17 reads “If any man will do his will, he shall know of the doctrine, whether it be of God, or whether I speak of myself.” That text teaches God guarantees those who want to do His will, those who are doing His will, will know God’s true doctrine. It is very much like Matt 5:6 (“Blessed are they which do hunger and thirst after righteousness: for they shall be filled”) and Matt 7:7 (“seek, and ye shall find”) in that regard.

Let me illustrate how John 7:17 is so true. Suppose for example a person is in a physically pleasing … but adulterous marriage per Matt 19:9 and similar passages. And staying in that marriage is really more important to him that serving the Lord. That being the case, he will invent ways to twist the scriptures so he can ignore passages like Rev 21:8 that teach the sexually immoral will be lost, and so he can ignore illustrations like Mark 6:17-18 where John told Herod his marriage was “not lawful.” He will also try to finagle passages that require more than just belief to be saved so he can say “I believe in Christ so I am going to be saved; it doesn’t matter how I live.” He will therefore have to find a way to get around the plain meaning of passages like Luke 13:3 that absolutely require repentance for salvation, and passages like Heb 5:9 that clearly require one to obey in order to be saved. Bluntly put, he will find a way to get around the plain meaning of hundreds of scriptures that require more than just belief to be saved, or that condemn his ungodly living.

The negative of John 7:17 describes this person well, because that person will never know the doctrine of God, the truth, because he is bent on trying to force all passages to fit his predetermined desire to stay with his unscriptural wife and/or his worldly lifestyle. Continuing in God’s truth (John 8:31-32) is not of utmost importance to him; living how he wants to live is. He will conform the Bible to his life instead of the other way around. Since he is not intent on doing God’s will, he will not know the doctrine of Christ (II John 9).  II Thess 2:10-12 describes this person – “And with all deceivableness of unrighteousness in them that perish; because they received not the love of the truth, that they might be saved.  And for this cause God shall send them strong delusion, that they should believe a lie:  That they all might be d-a-m-n-e-d who believed not the truth, but had pleasure in unrighteousness.”

Patrick Donahue