If any man will do His will, he shall know of the doctrine, whether it be of God, or whether I speak of myself (John 7:17).
The apostle Paul, in his last epistle, wrote about certain philosophers who would be ever learning, and never able to come to the knowledge of the truth (II Timothy 3:7). In the next verse, Paul makes it clear why such people, no matter how scholarly or well educated they seem to be, are still incapable of accepting real truth. So do these also resist the truth, he says (v.8). They could not learn the truth because they were not willing to believe or obey the truth when they learned it. For example, a very vexing controversy among modern Christians is whether or not the Genesis account of six-day creation can be so interpreted as to accommodate the billion-year, geological-age system of earth history.
Perhaps the difficulty, in this as well as in other such doctrinal controversies, is a basic unwillingness to believe doctrines plainly revealed in Gods word when they conflict with doctrines based solely on human reasoning. When the Lord Jesus spoke the words of our text, He was speaking to arrogant religionists who regarded Him as nothing but an itinerant preacher, rejecting His teachings, even though they knew these teachings were fully Biblical.
His rebuke of these hypocrites is truly a timeless criterion for recognizing Gods truth and knowing His will. Knowledge of Gods truth depends, first of all, on a heart genuinely willing to believe Gods truth and to do His will. Such a heart does not try to twist Gods word to accommodate a human philosophy, nor does it try to accommodate ones personal will, by persuading himself that it is Gods will. Gods will is always consistent with Gods word, which is written to be easily understood by anyone who is willing to believe His word and do His will. HMM