John 8:31, 32 Then Jesus said to those Jews who believed Him, “If you abide in My word, you are My disciples indeed. “And you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.”
How many times have you heard the phrase, “the truth will set you free”? Does the truth really set people free or is it contingent upon something else? I think in order to understand how the truth sets a person free you must go back to the verse prior to John 8:32 and put into practice what it says:
John 8:31 Then Jesus said to those Jews who believed Him, “If you abide in My word, you are My disciples indeed.
The conjunction “And” at the beginning of verse 32 ties that verse to verse 31 making it a by-product of what verse 31 says to do. Jesus said those who believed Him would be His disciples and something would be evident in their lives as they believed…..they would know the truth and the truth would set them free.
What does it mean to “believe Him”? We sometimes think it means to “believe in Him”, but that is different than “believing Him”. To believe “in Him” is to put our trust in Him, but to “believe Him” is not only to put our trust in Him, but to act upon what He has said.
Jesus said “If you abide in My word, you are My disciples indeed.”
Let’s take this one phrase at a time and dissect it to where we understand what He really is saying.
If – a conjunction meaning that the end result is dependent upon something that you do. In order to be His disciples you must abide in His word.
What is a disciple? According to Strong’s concordance the Greek word for “disciple” is mathetes and it means “one who follows one’s teaching”. A “disciple” was not only a pupil, but an adherent; hence they are spoken of as imitators of their teacher.
So, what Jesus is saying is that if you abide, or live in His word, and follow His teaching, you will be one who imitates Him. And when you are becoming as Him in following and imitating Him you will know the truth and the truth will set you free. You see, Jesus said that He didn’t do anything He didn’t see His Father doing and He didn’t say anything He didn’t hear from His Father. He was an imitator of His Father, God, just like He is saying we should be an imitator of Him.
John 5:19 Then Jesus answered and said to them, “Most assuredly, I say to you, the Son can do nothing of Himself, but what He sees the Father do; for whatever He does, the Son also does in like manner.
John 5:30 “I can of Myself do nothing. As I hear, I judge; and My judgment is righteous, because I do not seek My own will but the will of the Father who sent Me.
It is as we see, hear and do what the Word of God says, imitating Jesus, that we become imitators and followers of Him. It is then that we will know the truth and that truth that we know will set us free.
Know – Greek word “ginosko” according to Strong’s concordance it means to perceive, understand, recognize, gain knowledge, realize, come to know. It is the knowledge that has an inception, a progress, and an attainment. It is the recognition of truth by personal experience.
So as we spend time in God’s word and see, hear, and do what Jesus did we will come to perceive and understand through a progressive knowledge of the truth and what we then are coming to know will set us free.
Jesus talks about the truth being what sets us free. Let’s look into that word “truth” and see what He is trying to tell us about knowing it.
Truth – Greek word aletheia – according to Strong’s concordance it means “the reality lying at the basis of an appearance; the manifested, veritable essence of a matter”.
Truth, the reality lying at the basis of an appearance. Now, let’s look at John 8:32 from a little different angle. The Amplified Bible capitalizes truth in John 8:32 signifying that the “Truth” is not just the conformity to fact or reality, but it is the reality of that fact! Jesus said in John 14:6 “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.” And in John 8:36 He says, “Therefore if the Son makes you free, you shall be free indeed,” which leads me to believe that the truth that He is talking about in Romans 8:31, 32 is really Him. You can come to know Him through the word, through prayer and through the revelation of the Holy Spirit. All three persons of the God-head are involved in you coming to know the Truth and being set free by what you know.
All of these scriptures when put together seem to say that Jesus is the Truth that we come to know as we see, hear and do God’s Word and as we are progressively growing in our knowledge of Him we will be set free from sin, and live a lifestyle of imitating the Father, just as Jesus did.
Hebrews 4:12 For the word of God is living and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the division of soul and spirit, and of joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.
God’s word is living and when you read a scripture one time it may speak to you one way and then another time that you read it you may get something totally different from it. That’s because it addresses the need in your heart at that very moment. God knows exactly what you need to hear and because the word is living and powerful it goes into your heart and does supernatural surgery where it is needed. I have shown you two different ways the scripture of John 8:31, 32 can be seen this morning. That’s how the word works. Two different people can read the same verse and it will speak to both of them differently. It has a powerful effect on each one of them at their point of need.
This blog may seem a little deep and challenging, but it is food for thought this morning and, as always, I welcome your interaction, comments and questions! We grow through being stretched, so maybe this blog will get you to thinking and praying!
Father, I thank You for Your Word! I thank You for the written Word, the Living Word, Jesus, and the spoken Word as the Holy Spirit reveals it to me. I long to get to know You in all Your fullness through whichever means You desire to teach me. I ask You, Father, to help us to know the Truth and to be set free as we grow in our knowledge of that reality! You, Lord, know how to reach each one of us and reveal Yourself to us in ways that we will understand. I pray for my friends this morning that they may seek You with their whole hearts, live their lives as imitators of Jesus and walk in freedom from sin and all it’s effects. Father, keep them from the evil one and protect them from the wiles that he uses to deceive people. Show them the way to freedom today, Lord! In Jesus’ name I pray. Amen.