It is often quoted, “You will know the truth and the truth will set you free.” People use this quote when they are disappointed with situations, events and when they see lies in high places. In this age where every man is truth to himself, most people do not understand without a foundation, there can be no truth. Or, to put it another way, it is impossible to understand truth without a foundation. There has to be a foundational truth to measure truth by. If truth is measured by ourselves – and everyone has a different view of truth – how can there ever be real truth?
Most people would be shocked to learn this quote is from Jesus Christ – the author of truth. And the full quote is “IF you abide in my Word, you are truly My disciples. THEN you will know the truth and the truth will set you free.” [Joh 8:31-32] Without a foundation there is no truth – Jesus Christ is the foundation of truth.
By this time, half the people reading this have dropped off because they reject the idea truth begins with God. But what did Solomon say? “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom.” [Pro 1:7; 9:10]
When Jesus said this (IF… THEN you will know the truth…) He had been talking, or debating, with the Jewish leaders about His authority and His relationship with the Father. The leaders refused to believe Christ was whom He claimed to be but among the crowd, “many believed in Him.” [Joh 8:30]
So, Jesus said to the Jews who believed in Him, “IF you abide in my Word, you are truly My disciples. THEN you will know the truth and the truth will set you free.”
Immediately “those who believed” were offended. This did not surprised Jesus – in fact, it is reasonable to believe this is why He issued the challenge. For we read in John 2:23-25, many believed when they saw the signs He was doing. But Christ did not rely upon this witness because He knew the heart of man.
The offended claimed they were the seed of Abraham and had never been enslaved. They were delusional because they did not see the obvious – they were ruled over by the Romans. Their delusion was a symptom of their pride – their lifestyles and traditions. There are many who come to Jesus today who are proud and they want Jesus to accept them on their terms. What the world calls the church has fallen asleep; it no longer teaches mans’ slavery to sin or the need to surrender our pride and repent of our sin. No, we have professing Christians who cling to their sin (adultery, fornication, murder – abortion, thieving, lies and theft …) – even identify with their sin (homosexuality, evolution) – we have professing Christians who teach others to sin – they believe they are saved BUT THEY ARE NOT. The fact is today MOST PROFESSING CHRISTIANS WOULD BE OFFENDED IF THEY UNDERSTOOD WHAT CHRIST SAID.
John chapter fifteen is where Christ talks about Himself as the vine and those who profess His name to be the branches. What happens to the branches who do not produce fruit? They get burned up – they go to HELL and burn. Yes, professing Christians will go to Hell and burn. Jesus said not everyone who claims the Lord will go to Heaven (Mat 7:21).
So, if Christ were physically here today addressing the crowd of professing Christians, most the crowd would be offended at the claim they needed to be set free because they do not believe they are slaves to sin. They want Christ and the promise of life but they hold truth to be subjective to themselves. When push comes to shove, they will reject Christ in favor of their own truth – and that is exactly what Christ told the crowd that day, that they would turn on Him and kill Him. The rest is history…
If you truly want to be free, you must become a disciple of Christ. To be a disciple of Christ you must be in the Word. This is not a casual acceptance of the Word – this is a craving of the Word.
As the deer pants for flowing water, so my soul desires you, O God. [Psa 42:1]
Measure yourself by what Jesus said: If you are not in the Word, you are not a true disciple and you have no hope of freedom. Jesus said a true disciple is in His Word and James reminds us not just to hear (or read) but to do what the Word says (Jam 1:22). THEN you will know the truth… THEN you will be free… Truth is not life as you would have it but living as God commanded.