Week­end Bi­ble Re­flec­tions With Jon


cul­ture en­ter­tain­ment. Ev­ery­one from Martin Luther King, Jr. to Jim Car­rey has been known to quote it. I un­der­stand its ap­peal, es­pe­cially in Amer­ica. We love free­dom. We like the idea of be­ing free, of not be­ing enslaved to any­one or any­thing. So when we hear, “The truth will set you free,” we nod our heads in ap­proval and shout, “Amen!”

Do we know what that means, though? Do we know from what we would be set free? Do we even know or de­sire to know the truth Je­sus had in His mind when He made that state­ment?

How I wish more re­li­giously-minded folks were as aware of verse 31 as they were aware of verse 32! If more peo­ple who pro­fessed to be Chris­tians took verse 31 to heart and obeyed it will­ingly and com­pletely, not only would they find the truth and thus find free­dom and sal­va­tion. They would also find unity.

Many be­lieve the divi­sion and sec­tar­i­an­ism preva­lent through­out mod­ern Chris­ten­dom is a good thing. We treat go­ing to church like we’re try­ing to pick which restau­rant to go to for sup­per tonight. “Not in­ter­ested in what Church A has to of­fer? Try Church B. If what they teach and do doesn’t suit you, Church C is right down the street. Or you could try Church D, Church E, Church F…”

Je­sus is not pleased with this. He prayed that all His fol­low­ers would be com­pletely united (John 17: 20- 23). The Holy Spirit in­spired the apos­tle Paul to com­mand the early Chris­tians to be com­pletely united, con­demn­ing all divi­sion within the church (1 Corinthi­ans 1: 1013; Philip­pi­ans 2:1-2). Paul warned against pro­fessed fol­low­ers of Je­sus hav­ing “itch­ing ears,” seek­ing to find teach­ers that would tell them what they wanted to hear in­stead of the truth of God’s Word (2 Ti­mothy 4:1-5).

That’s what truth is, you know. Je­sus prayed for His fol­low­ers that God would “sanc­tify them in the truth; Your Word is truth” (John 17:17). Truth is God’s Word, the Scrip­tures, the Bi­ble. How does one come to know the truth? How does the truth set one free? Je­sus tells us when you read verses 31 and 32 to­gether: “…If you abide in my word, you are truly my dis­ci­ples, and you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.”

Think about this, friends. The Bi­ble says that we all sin (Ro­mans 3:23), and that be­fore we be­come a dis­ci­ple of Je­sus we are slaves of sin ( Ro­mans 6:1623). Only by be­com­ing a fol­lower of Je­sus, a Chris­tian, is one set free from the slav­ery of sin.

Yet, how do you know that you are re­ally a dis­ci­ple of Christ? Af­ter all, any­one can say they fol­low Je­sus…but do they re­ally? Would Je­sus agree? The an­swer is to abide in the words of Je­sus, to obey them com­pletely. Do that and you re­ally will be a Chris­tian in the eyes of God (Matthew 7:21-27; He­brew 5:9; John 14:15, 23-24; 15:10, 14; 1 John 2:3-6; 5:3). How does one abide in His word? You have to first know His word through daily study (Psalm 1:1-3; 1 Ti­mothy 4:13, 15-16). That’s how you will come to know the truth which will set you free from the slav­ery of sin.

Many dis­agree with this, think­ing that all that is re­quired of them for sal­va­tion is to be­lieve in Je­sus. Bi­ble study and obe­di­ence to the Word is op­tional, to be done only if con­ve­nient or if one agrees. How­ever, no­tice that Je­sus spoke these words to “the Jews who had be­lieved in him” (v. 31a). They al­ready be­lieved in Him, but they weren’t yet set free. Thus, faith by it­self is not enough; it must be ac­com­pa­nied by works of obe­di­ence to the Word of God (James 2:14-26).

Do you know the truth so it can set you free?

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