Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Freed by the Truth



And you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.” – John 8:32

‘The truth shall set you free’ has become a popular verse, a t-shirt slogan, and even used by comedians.  But most people have no idea where it comes from.    
In John 8 when Jesus spoke these words, there were two groups of people present.  There were those that believed in Him as the Son of God, and there were the Pharisees, a religious group of Jews, who did not believe Jesus to be the Son of God.  As Adam Clarke puts it “The same sun that hardens the clay softens the wax.”  Belief in Jesus divides many groups of people still today.  Those that don’t believe are hardened against Him.  Those that do find their hearts softened to Him and His Word.

Jesus spoke “the truth shall set you free” to a specific group, and it was prefaced by an “IF” in the prior verse.  I find it ironic how many times we will receive God’s promises without receiving the conditions that are attached. 
The full verse reads:
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.”

He didn’t give this promise to the Pharisees.  They didn’t believe in Him.  There’s no freedom from sin, guilt, self-condemnation, and shame without belief in Jesus, for it is that belief in Him that takes away those sins.
He didn’t give the promise of “the truth shall set you free” to all who believed in Him.  To just believe in Him and walk your own walk without being obedient to His Will does not bring freedom.  In fact, it brings the condemnation of the Holy Spirit who lives within.

The truth (His Word) will set free those who ABIDE in it.  And to “ABIDE IN MY WORD” is not only to read it, but to live it.  Some translations use “know” or “hold to my teachings”.  ABIDE comes from the Greek word menĊ (G3306) and refers to a state or condition from which you will not depart, “to remain as one, not to become another or different”. 
At the point of belief in Christ we all enter that state or condition where we become One with Him through the indwelling of the Holy Spirit.  His Spirit lives with our spirit.  But to ABIDE IN MY WORD, we have to submit to His Spirit, letting go of our selfish will to do our own thing.  When we are in obedience to His Will, abiding in Him, there is freedom.  There’s no guilt, shame, or condemnation, and that is the freedom that brings PEACE, and PEACE is what we all crave.

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