Updated: Mar 5, 2021
“You shall know the truth and the truth will set you free (John 8.32).” - Jesus
This is a famous phrase from the Bible and one that has been reworked and restated in culture and our world. Truth is freeing. But why? And, what do we need to be freed from?
In fact, we often view truth as something that traps us, gets us into trouble, and makes us face things we aren’t ready to.
If we look at the surrounding verses, Jesus is talking to a group of Jews who are trying to figure out who Jesus is and He is challenging them to obey His words. Then He shares that famous phrase - that the truth will set them free.
The truth about who God is sets us free. How does that figure?
When we know that God is Sovereign, Creator, Father, Redeemer, it also reminds us who we are because as His creation, who we are is eternally tied to Him. We are His, made in His image, redeemed.
This last word here implies a lot. We’re redeemed, meaning we are in need of redemption. God lavishes us with His grace because of the truth that we need it. We are desperate for it.
If you look in the passage, the Jews’ next question is what do we need freeing from? They insist that they are descendants of Abraham and have never been slaves.
“How can you say that we shall be set free?”
Jesus responds with a pretty sobering statement, “Everyone who sins is a slave to sin.”
This is sobering because when He says everyone He’s talking about us. What’s even more sobering for me is that I don’t wrestle with this phrase nearly enough. And when I don’t wrestle with this phrase or realize my own sin and how it can hold me captive, I don’t seek - or worse - I avoid the truth.
For a country and a people that so crave freedom, we run in the opposite direction when it comes to seeking the truth that truly frees us.
We don’t want to think about the sin that enslaves us. We feel ashamed before God after neglecting Him for so long. We feel guilty for not seeking the truth. And as much as we want freedom and change, we don’t want to change. Part of us feels like we need whatever we’re holding onto. That it will bring us peace and set us free.
But has it ever?
When we accept that truth of who God is, who we are, and the grace that comes with it, we are free.
Free from sin. Free from trying to figure out who we are because we are His. Free from the expectations of our own hearts and this world. Free from trying to figure out our purpose and plans because He gives us purpose and directs our steps. Free to worship and pursue God, with the Holy Spirit inside us, leading us away from the enslaving grip of our own idols towards the loving embrace of our Savior. Free to approach the throne of grace with confidence not because of anything we’ve done, but because of what Jesus did at the cross.
Sometimes we don’t treat God like the rescuer He is. He’s rescued us from the worst thing - our own sin and a life without Him - and offered us the best thing, knowing all too well that we’ll continue to fall short and run back to our old master. But He loves us so much, that even knowing this, He sent His only Son to die in our place. It was our sin and His love for us that held Him there on the cross. How deep the Father’s love.
Today I'm challenged to:
1. Put this freedom-giving, life-changing truth in front of myself everyday.
2. Live with immense gratitude that because of Jesus, I no longer have to be a slave to sin.
3. Worship God like the Rescuer and Redeemer that He is because He is worthy.