The Truth Shall Make You Free
“And you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.” John 8:32 NKJV
As Americans, we value freedom. It is one of the core principles of our foundational documents. The Declaration of Independence states:
We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of Happiness.
Our Founders realized that the right to liberty, a synonym of freedom, is God given. That right does not come from man, or man’s government, but from God. In fact, one of the greatest gifts God gave us is a free will.
Because Americans are free, we have such rights as free speech, freedom of the press, religious freedom, freedom of assembly, and others. The very nature of these freedoms at times produces competing truth claims. Sometimes, when emphasizing these claims, the person may state; “the truth shall make you free.”
Politicians, activists, scientists and even some atheists will use this statement to reinforce their point. Sometimes, even well-intended Christians will us this statement as well. The problem is that this statement is taken out of context.
In fact, I believe it is one of the most misinterpreted and misapplied verses in the Bible. What did Jesus mean when He made this statement? The context of this verse in found in the verse just before it. John 8:31-32 says: 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.”
Cleary then Jesus is not talking about all truth claims. He is specifically talking to believers. The truth He is pointing to is His teachings. The context of the statement is discipleship. When we follow Him, we can know the truth. It is that truth that sets us free. Jesus teaches us that He is the Truth. That truth is embodied in Jesus.
When Jesus sets us free, we are free indeed. Even though we live in a free country, there are millions of Americans who have not experienced true freedom. Let us be known as a church that points others to the One who truly sets us free.
I love you and it is a privilege to be your pastor.