A famous and often quoted phrase within the Bible goes something like this: “You will know the truth and the truth will set you free.” However, this phrase does not occur isolation or within in a vacuum—there is a context that this statement occurs within. What is the context? Well, let’s begin with looking at the entire verse. John 8:31-32 states, “So Jesus was saying to those Jews who had believed Him, ‘If you continue in My word, then you are truly disciples of Mine; and you will know the truth and the truth will make you free.’” Now that we know the whole verse, allow me to summarize the backdrop of this conversation (the context).
Just before instructing His followers that if they continued in His word they would know the truth and it would make them free, Jesus had been in a somewhat tense and confrontational argument with the Pharisees. What was the gist of the argument? Jesus plainly told the Pharisees that He was from God, knew God, and was in a deep relationship with God. But Jesus did not stop with that. Jesus further explained that the Pharisees did not know God (John 8:19) and that they will die in their sins (John 8:21). In short, Jesus told the Pharisees that they were lost liars and that He is the truth. In fact, some time later, Jesus outright identified Himself as the way, the truth, and the life (John 14:6). But in this moment, Jesus merely identifies that the Pharisees are in the dark and believe Satan’s lies (John 8:44).
So, why say all this? Think about it… Jesus went out of His way and allowed Himself to be challenged by a group of religious leaders in order to speak the truth to them. Sure, the words Jesus spoke to the Pharisees were hard for them to hear and they took great offense at Jesus; however, Jesus necessarily offended in order to invite them to come to Him and follow His teaching. Within Jesus’ invitation was the inclusion of a conditional promise: IF YOU CONTINUE IN MY WORD…THE TRUTH WILL MAKE YOU FREE. Free from what?
The context of this passage shows us what the Pharisees were enslaved to:
If you think about it, we are all born into this same slavery, and many of us continue to be enslaved even after coming to belief in Jesus. We know that Jesus sets us free from an eternity in Hell when we come to faith in Him, but why do we keep falling in the same sins? Why is it so hard to make progress in our lives? Why is maturing in Christ difficult? I think Christianity is difficult for us because we forget the primary teaching of our Lord--WE ARE TO COME AND ABIDE IN HIM. How? We abide in Christ by abiding in His Word.
It is at this exact point where we struggle the most. There is so much going on within our lives that we struggle to find time to ABIDE in His word. Sure, we read His word—even daily—but abiding is far more than simply reading the Bible. Abiding in the Word of God means reading it, thinking about it, responding to it, returning to it, reordering our lives around it, and intently looking how to conform to the Lord’s instruction within each moment. Reading is something we do and, then, cease to do. Abiding implies a continuation.
With this in mind, let’s ask a few questions of ourselves this morning:
I love you and hope you have a wonderful day seeking the Lord! Strive to encourage someone else to enjoy the Lord with you today.