Setting Free Truth.

"You will know the truth, and the truth will make you free" (John 8:32).

For the larger part of my life as a believer I accepted the “illusional truth” as to the meaning of this verse. Many times over a pulpit I have heard; “this book is the inspired Word of God and knowing this book will set you free. The question is, was Jesus referring to a book to be written and compiled in the future that would be called the Bible of many people interpret differently as to what its truth is to back up their belief system? Was He referring to a set of religious rules to be obeyed, religious codes of conduct to be kept, or a system of doctrinal doctrines to believe? Call me delusional if you want, but I think not!

He did not say you will know the truth that will be written in some future book compiled and written by fallible men who will be influenced in their writing by some King who will name it the “Authorized King James version”.

If the truth that will set us free is not the Bible, what is this truth that has so much power?

One do not need a myriad of theological books...commentaries, lexicons or sit and listen to theological deliberations by theologians to know what this awesome truth is. Though the book itself is not what will set us free, it plainly tells us what the truth is that will set us free!

An understanding of the context of the gospel of John, can give us the simple answer.

Jesus was teaching and performing miracles as one means to establish that he was the Son of God. As Jesus was becoming known among the people, the chief priests and Pharisees were stirring up opposition. In the setting of John 7-8, we see the controversy intensify. Jesus testified of His relation to the Father who sent Him. He was to identify Himself as the Savior: "I told you that you would die in your sins, for you will die in your sins unless you believe that I am He" (John 8:24). They would be in bondage to their sins as long as they did not believe "I am He"...that is, that He was the Christ sent from God.

Although Jesus had done many might works among them, He had not given the ultimate reality of His Sonship. So He also declared, "When you have lifted up the Son of man, then you will know that I am He" (John 8:28).

What is the truth that they would know? It was the answer to the great controversy...whether He was the Christ sent from the Father. The uplifted Jesus was declared to be the Son of God with power (Romans 1:4). In a short time, both believers and those who opposed would be able to know that liberating truth.

When those disciples heard Him speak of their being set free, they protested that they had never been in bondage. Then Jesus made it clear that it was their bondage to sin that would they would be set free from. The people of the world still awaited an atonement.

Jesus stated positively and without condition that "you will know" and "the truth will make you free." The disciples were Jewish law-keepers, as are many religious people today, who already believed in Jesus. This promise applied to them uniquely and was fulfilled in that they became witnesses of the resurrection which enabled them to know that He was the Son of God and they were freed from sin and the law without further condition because "when the time had fully come, God sent forth His Son, born of woman, born under the law, to redeem those who were under the law…."(Gal. 4:4).

Without any hint that He was speaking of a body of teachings to be compiled in a book called the Bible instead of Himself as a person, Jesus assured the disciples, "So if the Son makes you free, you will be free indeed" (John 8:36). He is the TRUTH who sets people FREE. The law, factual truths, defined doctrines, and rules of conduct written in a book as liberating as that book may be, has no power to break the bondage of sin, and it is not in the knowing of the book that people receive forgiveness.

The people in our day also are enabled to know the Truth and to be freed by Him, for later, in His prayer, Jesus said, "And this is eternal life, that they know thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom thou hast sent " (John 17:3).

While we are brought to liberation through Jesus by the gospel and we are directed in the exercise of freedom in Him by apostolic teachings, and pointed to Him in the book about Him, it is to the Son of God rather than a system of true teachings in the Bible that we owe our freedom from both sin and law.

If we must know and understand all facts recorded in the Bible, we are hopeless. If we try convert others to a body of truth or system of doctrine rather than to Christ we are perverting the Gospel. Jesus rebuked those who sought to convince people of to keep the law, which we think people fail to understand. Today leaders try to convince those who already believed in Jesus to keep law a proof that they are disciples of God.  "You search the scriptures, because you think that in them you have eternal life; and it is they that bear witness of me; yet you refuse to come to me that you may have life" (John 5:39).

In a related but secondary sense, they were unconditionally freed from the slavery to law. Law and sin are closely related, for it is law that brings sin. While law brings sin, it has no remedy to free those under its bondage.

To impose a religious system of teaching or obey codes of conduct is to enslave rather than to free. Law is "a yoke upon the necks of believers which neither our fathers nor we have been able to bear" (Acts 5:10). Jesus brought freedom from both law and its consequential sin, "For sin will have no dominion over you, since you are not under law but under grace" (Rom. 6:14). "For freedom Christ has set us free; stand fast therefore, and do not submit again to a yoke of slavery" (Gal. 5:1).

When we are in Christ, we are in the Way, the Truth, and the Life, and nothing, absolutely nothing can snatch us out of His hand.

The truth that frees us from sin is not the book about Jesus, it is Jesus Himself, the Christ, the Son of the living God, the Author and Finisher of our faith.

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