We have all heard someone use this phrase: “You will know the truth, and the truth shall set you free.” Jesus said it first – and He meant something very specific when He said these words.
You would think it is such a simple thing… know the truth = be free. But how does something seemingly so simple get so complicated, twisted, mistaken, messed up?
The whole world cries out for freedom – yet we would probably not describe the whole world as anything like free.
We all want freedom. We crave freedom. It seems hard-wired into us. Nothing devastates our spirits more than when we are trapped, enslaved, incarcerated… or addicted. When we are held by something (anything!) against our will, it is as if we are chained to what holds us. We want nothing more than to escape, to break our chains – to be free!
Jesus knew that. He came for just that reason. He came to make real freedom a reality in our daily lives:“It was for freedom that Christ has set us free.” (Galatians 5:1)
Yet, so many Christians are still bound to sin, or addictive behaviors… too many are chained to the past, attached to all manner of failures and weaknesses. Bent, broken, and bound… just like everyone else.
Anything but free.
Apparently knowing the truth is not enough to set us free – we know so much of God’s truth, yet it hasn’t really liberated us.
Was Jesus just wrong? Was He just filling us with false hope? Did we miss that verse where He says, “Hey, guys, I was just kidding about that freedom thing.”
That seems incredibly unlikely. How could Someone so committed to truth (the very embodiment of truth) possibly lead us astray in something so vital to our souls.
No, He wasn’t joking… or talking about something unattainable… or lying.
So if we know the truth, and it hasn’t yet made us free… what are we missing?
In a word… context. Everyone quotes Jesus’ words about truth and freedom, but we seem to miss what He really intended for us to understand.
It is not just about latching on to truth, or filling our minds with true thoughts, or even seeking to find what is true (because nearly everyone has a different idea about what is true!).
So… it is not just about knowing the truth that makes us free… it is all about our commitment to Jesus (and a full-out commitment to what He teaches) that leads us into the truth that sets us free.
In simplified form, it is: Jesus + Truth = Freedom. You cannot take the Lordship of Jesus out of the equation and come up with freedom. It doesn’t work. It cannot happen. Because truth is found only in the Person of Jesus – and we cannot really know the truth until we really know Him.
Jesus IS the Way, the Truth, and the Life (John 14:6). Our knowledge of truth has no point of reference until it is measured in Him (and by Him). And we cannot really know Him until we surrender our lives to Him… and spend quality time with Him… and willingly obey the things He asks us to do.
It is never the knowledge of truth that liberates us… it is knowing (and living for) the One Who is true, that truly sets us free.