17 If anyone wills to do His will, he shall know concerning the doctrine, whether it is from God or whether I speak on My own authority.
Now the debate shifts to doctrine.
17 If anyone wills [desires] to do His will,
If someone wishes to do the will of the Father, then there is a condition for that. His whole will must be bent in the direction of openness to God’s will. Positive volition toward what God says is at the heart of learning from God. Doing “His will” is to live within the principles of Scripture. In the gospel of John, the Father’s will is for us to believe on Jesus as His Son.
God’s will is objective and what “anyone wills to do” is subjective. We accept by our will what God reveals about Himself. We take this by faith. Readiness of heart is a prerequisite to discovering God’s truth.
Truth is finally self-authenticating. An infinite God cannot appeal to any authority higher than Himself. Nothing external to God can give us a proper perspective on eternal truth.
he shall know concerning the doctrine,
The condition is to know the source of the doctrine. The issue in this section is not to do the will of God morally but to have positive volition toward God’s revelation.
whether it is from God or whether I speak on My own authority.
Correct judgment stems from awe of God. If Christ’s opponents were oriented to reverence for God, they would have seen whether His teaching was true or not.
Verse 17 is not an encouragement to follow the moral will of God. The point is openness to discover who Jesus is. The issue is having the will open to believe in Jesus as the one sent by the Father.
Doing God’s will ratifies the truth of God’s Word.
People reject the truth because of negative volition. The hardness of hearts forbids people to be receptive to truth. A heart’s desire to do the will of God conditions the person to learn the Word of God (1 Chr 28:9; Ps 119:2).
A willing obedience is necessary to know truth. This does not imply that obeying the will of God will reveal truth or solve problems not found in Scripture. The idea is that a willing heart clears the spiritual insight necessary to recognize God’s truth. Unbelief originates in negative volition to do God’s will.
Jer 29: 13 And you will seek Me and find Me, when you search for Me with all your heart.
There is no way to test God’s claim other than to be open to God’s will. We cannot test an ultimate authority independently from revelation because we are finite. God’s truth is infinite. We can understand infinite truth only by submitting to God with complete willingness to do His will.
Skeptics show public contempt for God where God clearly reveals Himself. Fear of God is not prevalent in our culture today.