To the Jews who had believed him, Jesus said, “If you hold to my teaching, you are really my disciples. Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.” They answered him, “We are Abraham’s descendants and have never been slaves of anyone. How can you say that we shall be set free?” Jesus replied, “Very truly I tell you, everyone who sins is a slave to sin. Now a slave has no permanent place in the family, but a son belongs to it forever. So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed (John 8:31-34).
It’s tough to be free if you don’t know the truth. No, let me rephrase that; it’s impossible to be free if you don’t know the truth. From the context here, Jesus is saying: “If you hold to My teaching, you will be set free.” How do we hold to His teaching? The word hold is most often translated as abide, stay and remain. In other words, it’s where you live. You live in His teaching and by His teaching; and His teaching lives in you. And knowing and living in His teaching? You know the truth.
But let’s make this more personal, more relational. Not only is Jesus’ teaching the truth, but He is also the Truth.
Into Your hand I commit my spirit; You have ransomed me, O LORD, God of truth (Psalm 31:5 NAS).
In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God (John 1:1).
I and the Father are one (John 10:30).
The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the one and only Son, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth (John 1:14).
Jesus told him, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one can come to the Father except through me (John 14:6).
But when he, the Spirit of truth, comes, he will guide you into all the truth. He will not speak on his own; he will speak only what he hears, and he will tell you what is yet to come (John 16:13).
And if you’re wondering, the kind of truth Jesus is and teaches is the only truth for life.
In our day and age, truth is many things: personal, transitory, relative, non-existent, irrelevant and inconvenient to name a few. But do you know what truth means in Hebrew? Faithful. Most of us think we can live life without truth, but are you willing to live life without faithfulness? Your vows mean nothing. Your promises mean nothing. Your warrantees and guarantees mean nothing. Your contracts mean nothing. Are you willing to live in a world without faithfulness? Faithfulness and truth are inseparable characteristics found in God. They should be found in (live in) us.
Next time we’ll look at what happens if you don’t have the truth—slavery.