Truth and Freedom

John 8: 31 – 32

So Jesus was saying to those Jews who had believed Him, “If you continue in My word, then you are truly disciples of Mine; and you will know the truth, and the truth will make you free.”

This is an oft quoted passage but misquoted in a sense. The truth will not set you free. It is knowing the truth that sets people free. Truth is all around us, but it is only when we get a revelation of the truths that are pertinent to us that they can affect our lives for the good. Once we have that revelation, then the truths have a transformative effect, which means, they can change your life.

The anchor of this verse as well as ideal held within is the part that is overlooked. This quote is from Jesus. He said the way to knowing the truth that will set you free is in “continuing in My word.” Whoops! What was that? Well, really, no big surprise here when we think about it. Where else would we turn for truth? Further, Jesus set he came to set us free. It is reasonable that if we want the freedom he came to give us then we should make ourselves his disciples. The way to freedom, then, is continuing in his word.

So, we quote this saying, “the truth shall set you free” but we only cite a part of it. We are forgetting the foundation upon which the whole concept is built, abiding in Jesus’ word. Faced with the reality of how we live in his truth and hence his freedom, how many of us want it badly enough to do something about it? We act like all of these things will drop out of the sky on us but that isn’t the way. Abiding in him, is the way. Remember Monday’s verse, “Teach me more about you, how you work and how you move, so that I can walk onward in your truth.” Walking in truth, and hence in freedom, comes through abiding with him and learning his ways. The simple truth of it is that spending time in our Bible and in prayer is how we come to live in the shining place of his glory. I don’t always get all the Bible time I need. We are all leading busy lives but I want victory and freedom for us all so I am motivated to find the secrets and share them with you. I wish there was a magic wand but the closest we get to it is a magic book. We can’t just wave it around though. We’ve got to spend time with it and allow it to speak to us. It was for freedom that Jesus set us free and he whom Jesus has set free is free indeed. Let your discipleship in the Word free you to victory in Jesus.

Abiding Freedom

John 8: 31 – 32

Jesus therefore was saying to those Jews who had believed Him, “If you abide in My word, then you are truly disciples of Mine; and you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.”

I wish to draw your attention to the two statements Jesus makes in this one sentence. Although there are two thoughts, he tied them together in one sentence. That is because He wanted us to understand that the two ideas are tied together.

First, if you want truly to be a disciple of Christ, then you must abide in his word. Now abiding is not a casual once in a while visit to his word. To abide in his word means to take residence in, to remain. Another definition is to submit to. If you want to be his disciple, then you are going to have to take up his word and live in it.

Secondly, if you are his disciple, then you will know the truth. Now, how do you suppose you are going to come to know the truth? Through his word, of course. The Lord will lead you to the truth and wisdom you need through his word. Then you will be set free because you will have the truth as it relates to your particular situation.

So, since these are causal statements let us look at this backwards going from the effect backwards to the cause. The end effect is that you will be free. Do you want to be free? Free from the burdens that have tormented you? Freedom comes from knowing the truth. Truth comes by being his disciple. You are his disciple if you abide in his word. Therefore, the beginning of your freedom is HIS WORD. It all begins and ends there because he is the living word.

Disciples of Truth

John 8: 31 – 32

Jesus therefore was saying to those Jews who had believed Him, “If you abide in My word, then you are truly disciples of Mine; and you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.”

The most telling part of these verses may be the first phrase. Jesus was saying to those who believed in him that there was more to follow. Just hearing him speak was not the answer. He told them that they must abide in his word. Some translations say to continue in his word. I believe what Jesus is saying is that it is not enough just to hear Jesus word once. Instead we must learn to live in his word. Those who stay in his word will have truth and that truth will set them free of every sort of hindrance.

Let’s close the circle on this and see how it works. From the first chapter of John we know that Jesus is the word, the incarnate word. The word was with God since the beginning but then came alive in the form of a person and dwelt among mankind. We also know that Jesus is the truth (John 14: 6). Jesus is the word and he is the truth. We also know from John 14: 6 that Jesus is the life. Therefore, if we want life we must dwell in the word and we must dwell in truth. Let’s go one step further though. In John 6: 63  Jesus tells us that the words that he spoke are spirit and life. So, life is in the word, spirit is in the word, truth is in the word and freedom is in the word. If we want to live a life worth living, really if we want any life at all then we must abide in the word of Jesus and lest we deceive ourselves, the entire Bible is the word of Jesus. Remember he was with God in the beginning so all the word of God is Jesus.

Further, if we want to be disciples of Jesus then we must abide in his word. To abide does not mean a casual glance at the scriptures now and then. It probably implies a daily residence. If you abide in your house, then doesn’t that mean that is where you live? It is the place we call home and to which we always return. While travelling we even think of that place which we call home. This is the place of habitation and rest. Jesus is trying to get us to think of his word the same way we think of our homes. His word should be the place to which we always return. It is the place of comfort and rest. It is our secure haven and only when we have learned or decided to take up residence in his word can we be his disciples.  

There are so many pieces of church life these days and it is easy to get bogged down in all of the things we feel we must do but there are only a few things that Jesus calls needful. So, when you cannot do it all do those things which are most important. Chief among them is attendance to the word. There is no truth, there is no life, there is no discipleship or freedom apart from a habitual abiding presence in the word. There is a reason why ministers beyond me send out daily devotionals. We all know that liberty and life are contained in the daily consumption of the word. The word, Jesus, is our shelter and our daily bread. It is the presence of God in our lives to bring his truth alive within us. There is no life apart from the word. It is just that simple. And do not let anyone mislead you. There is no doctrine, no 7 step program, no teaching series that can replace the Word of God. They are all complimentary, meaning that they are intended to illuminate the Word for you but it is the Word which has the power to change lives. Abide in that almighty presence of the Word of God. Receive life, truth and freedom.