That lofty borrowed phrase, "the truth shall set you free," seen on a multitude of institutions of “higher learning” across the world, is intended to give the impression that within the walls of these campus buildings lies the unlimited, unchanging, absolute source of wisdom. Not surprisingly, the complete statement from where this phrase of truth and wisdom is abstracted comes from the words of Jesus. And Jesus offers this as a conditional statement. “If you abide in my word, you are truly my disciples, and you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.” (John 8:31-32).
The whole idea of absolute truth stems from the infallible omniscience of God, who not only is truth, but knows all truth. Our ability to comprehend truth is dependent upon Him. Quite obviously, not everyone “abides” in God’s word. Not even everyone who claims to be a follower of God is a “disciple” in the sense Jesus is speaking. Abiding in Jesus’ words, or holding to his teachings so that this “freedom” might be theirs, puzzled the Jews of Jesus’ time since they didn’t see themselves as “slaves” to anyone.
Jesus wasn’t talking about being subject to anyone. (Except perhaps to the devil and the world system). He was talking about the freedom that comes from being his disciple. Are you living in that freedom that Jesus calls us to? Non-believers and many believers are confused about what surrender to Christ may mean for themselves, sensing restriction, smothering rules, joyless life. Jesus counters that fear by claiming to be “the way, the truth and the life!” (Jn. 14:6) Those who have dug into God’s word and who make a practice of applying God’s precepts and principles to their lives bear witness to this freedom. Odd, isn’t it, that surrender can also bring freedom?
Knowing Jesus liberates us from the law of sin and death and sets us free from our inglorious past so that we can be the glorious children God desires us to be. Paul refers to this as “knowledge of the truth that leads to godliness.” (Titus 1:1) When believed, God’s eternal truth transforms the heart and creates change from the inside out, not like the world and its influences create change. Biblical truth reflects the nature of God. This truth is far more valuable than the mere intellectual awareness we gain by reason and observation. In Jesus’ absence from this earth, he gave us the Holy Spirit, otherwise known as the Spirit of Truth, who directs us to “all truth” (John 16:13) which is the truth that indeed does set us free.
Since truth comes through Christ (Jn. 1:17) and we come to know the truth by discovering and holding firmly to Jesus teachings (Jn. 8:31-32) and we can only know the truth as He has revealed it, what do we do with all we have come to “believe” to be truth which we gathered along the pathway of our lives? Only by hearing and reading the word of truth will we recognize in what areas of belief we need to exchange our misperceptions and counterfeit truths for God’s truth, even “taking every thought captive to the obedience of Christ.”
The Message, Eugene Peterson’s paraphrase of scripture, says it this way in 2 Cor. 10:5-6: “The world is unprincipled. It’s dog-eat-dog out there! The world doesn’t fight fair. But we don’t live or fight our battles that way—never have and never will. The tools of our trade aren’t for marketing or manipulation, but they are for demolishing that entire massively corrupt culture. We use our powerful God-tools for smashing warped philosophies, tearing down barriers erected against the truth of God, fitting every loose thought and emotion and impulse into the structure of life shaped by Christ. Our tools are ready at hand for clearing the ground of every obstruction and building lives of obedience into maturity.” Got truth? Think About It.