This is a scripture of the Bible that is often quoted. So many, many times I have heard people say, “The truth will make you free.” And it is not just in Christian circles that this is quoted.
But how many people know what it is really talking about? How often do the words just roll easily off the tongue without any sense of what the Lord really meant by them? I am reasonably certain that even among Christians there is not a real understanding of the power and depth of these words, especially as it applies to the teachings of the New Covenant. I say this from experience having listened to many people who believe they know the truth, but their words deny that they actually do
What is the Truth?
Jesus made the statement here in verses 31-32 that, “If you continue in my word, you are truly my disciples, and you will know the truth, and the truth will make you free.”
From this we can deduce that the truth has to do with freedom. But where will we find the truth?
Jesus provides us with that answer in John 17:17 in His prayer to the Father. “Sanctify them in the truth; thy word is truth.” The word of the Father is truth and we can also see from Jesus’ statement here that it is by the truth we are sanctified, or made holy. To be made holy or sanctified is to come to the place of godliness where we act, think and behave in a manner that is consistent with the ways of God.
We will find the words of God in the teachings of Jesus and that is why he says that we should continue in His word and, “…you will know the truth, and the truth will make you free.”
If you think about it even from a logical perspective, the truth is ALWAYS freeing. Lies will bind you and a web of lies gets harder and harder to keep up. But the truth does not need to be “kept up.” The truth is plain and straight and speaks boldly as to the facts of a matter that does not need embellishment, enhancement or anything else for it stands on its own.
But the truth Jesus is speaking of in this John 8 verse is a deeper truth. It is a specific truth that talks to the depths of Christianity and the message of the New Covenant. It speaks of freedom.
Free from What?
There are many things that freedom relates to, but in the context of what Jesus is speaking in this scripture he is specifically talking about freedom from sin. Note his words in verses 34-36.
34 Jesus answered them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, every one who commits sin is a slave to sin.
35 The slave does not continue in the house for ever; the son continues for ever.
36 So if the Son makes you free, you will be free indeed.
He says that every person who commits sin is in slavery. OK…so that’s the whole world for as it says in Romans 3:23, “…all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.” So every person was born a slave to sin and in continuing to sin has remained in bondage their whole life.
But then we see that Jesus came to set us free from sin. He came to remove the bondage and the slavery that we are under to sin. He says above that, “…if the Son makes you free, you will be free indeed.”
And that is exactly what He has done. He has set us free from sin through his death and resurrection so that we could be set free from sin. And not just set free, he has taken away our sins. Removed our sin completely from us, not just forgiving us but exonerating and expunging the record of sin from our lives! It is a complete and total freedom from sin that He has wrought in us through his death and resurrection.
He also said above that, “The slave does not continue in the house for ever; the son continues for ever.” While we lived in our sins we were in slavery. We were in bondage to sin and the law that condemned us when we sinned. A sinner will not inherit the kingdom of God. This is what He is saying when he says, “The slave does not continue in the house forever.”
However, when we become set free from sin through Jesus Christ, we are no longer in slavery, but in Christ Jesus God is giving us the power to become the children of God. As it says in John 1:12-13,
12 But to all who received him, who believed in his name, he gave power to become children of God;
13 who were born, not of blood nor of the will of the flesh nor of the will of man, but of God.
We are becoming sons and daughters of God and in that state, our sins are removed and we are totally free and we CAN continue in the house of God forever.
How do we enter this freedom?
This freedom is offered to all who come to Christ. But to fully receive it we must first believe and have faith in Jesus, and then be baptised in water in His name, understanding that is through the baptism that we are set free.
When we are baptised in water it is not some initiation into a church or a symbolism that we are Christians or whatever. What we are doing in baptism is to take on the death of Jesus Christ as if it were our own, which we do by faith. Just as Abraham was reckoned righteous through his faith, it is our faith in the taking on of Jesus death and resurrection through baptism that sets us free.
That is why Jesus was baptised saying, “Let it be so now; for thus it is fitting for us to fulfil all righteousness.” (Matthew 3:15) It is necessary to fulfil the requirement of baptism so that we can be set free from sin and thus be righteous through faith. Any person whose sin is not held against them is indeed righteous, and we achieve that when we are baptised.
How does this work? Well death is the reward for sin. As it says, “The wages of sin is death.” (Romans 6:23) The penalty for sinning is to die, but when we die it is too late for after death comes judgement.
But in baptism Jesus has allowed us to bring our death forward by taking on His death. We “put on” the death of Jesus to pay for our sins or rather He pays the debt for us, so that we can begin again as new creations, set free from sin and set free from the law.
Why set free from law? Because it is the law that defines and condemns us as sinners. The law is not sin, but because man cannot keep the law, it condemns man as a sinner. So God had to take away the law otherwise after we were cleansed from our sins in baptism, we would keep on breaking the law and thus sinning and returning to our former state of slavery to sin.
But the law is only binding on a person while they are alive. (Romans 7:1) When a person dies they are no longer under the law. And like in the law of marriage, if a persons partner dies then they are set free from the law of marriage and are free to marry someone else. Well we as the church are the bride of Christ. So when He died in the flesh on this earth, we were set free to be united with the risen Christ seated at the right hand of God, no longer under law and no longer enslaved to sin.
Baptism is the key. That is why it was one of the three things that Jesus said in the Great Commission. He said 1) make disciples, 2) baptise them, and 3) teach them all He taught. These were basically the last words Jesus said on the earth, so you would expect they were pretty darned important!
How Can You Use this Knowledge?
This knowledge is important for when you are baptised and set free from sin you must change the way you think. You must not consider yourself a sinner, and many Christians do still believe they are sinners. How often have you heard, or even said yourself that, “I am a sinner saved by grace?”
When you say “I am a sinner” you are condemning yourself and saying that the death and baptism of Jesus was not good enough to take away your sins and set you free. And who are you or I to reject the word of God who said that He DID do these things? Why do Christians condemn themselves in this way when the word is clear in Romans 8:1-4.
1 There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.
2 For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has set me free from the law of sin and death.
3 For God has done what the law, weakened by the flesh, could not do: sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh and for sin, he condemned sin in the flesh,
4 in order that the just requirement of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not according to the flesh but according to the Spirit.
If Christ does not condemn you, why do you condemn yourself? Are you greater than He? When God set you free from sin and condemned sin so that we could learn to walk in the Spirit rather than the flesh, why would you want to remain back in your sins and call yourself a sinner?
The main reason is that people don’t know any different. This is not even taught in many of the churches and this is the very ESSENCE of the freedom we have in Jesus Christ under the new covenant.
How you should think now that you have been set free is that you are NOT a sinner. You must learn to think as Paul instructed us in Romans 6:10-11.
10 The death he died he died to sin, once for all, but the life he lives he lives to God.
11 So you also must consider yourselves dead to sin and alive to God in Christ Jesus.
Stop calling yourself a sinner and look to Jesus Christ to set you free. “Consider yourself DEAD TO SIN.” When you are truly free, THEN the Holy Spirit is free to do the work of transformation in you to bring you into the image of Christ. But if you continue to think you are a sinner you prevent the Holy Spirit from doing His work.
(Photo sourced from stock.xchng taken by Christof Wittwer)
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The Great Commission Part 3
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Spreading The Gospel 2
Till Death Us Do Part
The Resurrection Of The Lord
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Are You A Sinner