“If you abide in My word, then you are truly disciples of Mine; and you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.” (John 8:31-32 NASB 1977 ed.)
God’s truth sets people free! He promised it would. I’ve experienced the freedom of that truth in my own life. I’ve seen it set countless others free. However, it only sets free those who grab hold of it and depend on it for life. This is what Jesus meant by the statement, “If you abide in my Word . . . you will KNOW the truth and the truth will set you free.”
To “abide” means to “live in.” The idea is to do life in God’s Word. That is, Jesus is telling us to conform our thinking, behaving, relating, in short, our whole life, to the Word’s explanation and description of reality. We are set free when we rely on God’s Word as opposed to all other perceptions or explanations of truth or reality.
For example, the Bible teaches that when you receive Jesus as your personal Savior, you become God’s child. As such, He loves you as much and in the same way as He loves Jesus (1Jn. 1:1-3). Because this is so, you are complete and totally acceptable, worthy, and worthwhile in Christ (Eph. 1:1-14).
Now, you have a choice. You can abide in the truth of the Word concerning your true identity or you can continue to let the world, other people’s opinions, your performance, or your past define you. You can walk in freedom or remain in bondage. The difference is where you abide – God’s truth or the world’s perception of reality.
Abiding in the Word means resting in the truth of His love and the worth He has given us in Christ. It’s seeing everything we do in life as an opportunity for Him to express His love and life in and through us. In other words, we are now free to bring value to others, instead of trying to find our value in others. Success is no longer the key to happiness for us. Instead, we chose joy and happiness in Christ, which leads to success (Pr. 16:3; Ph. 4:8-9).
Jesus said that the truth would set us free. This means experiencing as reality what God says to be true. Knowing the truth is the result of abiding in, conforming to, and living the Word of God despite the world’s and the devil’s best efforts to detach us from it.
It means that there is nothing more real in our minds than what God says in His Word. His Word is ultimate truth . . . truth that sets us free. And, when the Son of God sets us free through His Word, we are free indeed (Jn. 8:36)!
© Paul R Downing