This post is part of an ongoing series in the study of John we are doing during January. Subscribe to the blog for daily updates in the Bible Study posts. Subscribe to the podcasts to hear our discussion of the book of John throughout this month. Join us in your daily devotions as we travel through this fascinating account of the life of Christ.
Then Jesus said to those Jews who believed Him, “If you abide in My word, you are My disciples indeed. And you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.” They answered Him, “We are Abraham’s descendants, and have never been in bondage to anyone. How can You say, ‘You will be made free’?” Jesus answered them, “Most assuredly, I say to you, whoever commits sin is a slave of sin. And a slave does not abide in the house forever, but a son abides forever. Therefore if the Son makes you free, you shall be free indeed. John 8:31-36 (NKJV)
I am captivated by thoughts and studies on concepts such as truth, freedom, right and wrong, reality, consciousness, and more. In a generation where the boundaries for all of these dramatically shifted to, as yet, undefined terrain, I am provoked by how we define truth and reality and right and wrong without God.
The philosophers from the Age of Reason taught us that rationalism and the scientific method would lead us to the truth and a better reality.
Revelation and personal experiences with Christ were relegated to subjective thought or even superstitious nonsense. Truth must be proven and demonstrated with objective evidence. That measure for reality failed in the twentieth century as reason could not stop two world wars from occurring and could not explain mankind’s ongoing hatred and evil toward one another.
In recent decades love, gender, individual identity, morality, true, false, and more have been redefined far outside any boundaries that reason and objective facts would allow. The standards of reason were rejected but, so far, no one has offered a reliable standard to replace reason as the basis for which we measure these foundational elements of the human experience.
If you are enjoying this devotional, you might also like this perspective piece: Everyone Did What Was Right In Their Own Eyes.
What Is Truth?
When Jesus spoke about the truth, He was not referring to a mere intellectual encounter with facts and data. He was describing Himself.
Jesus said to him, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. John 14:6
Jesus answered, “You say that I am a king. In fact, the reason I was born and came into the world is to testify to the truth. Everyone on the side of truth listens to me.” John 18:37
Christ is the truth, the ultimate standard and foundational for all reality, all life, all light, everything!
Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made. John 1:3 (NIV)
Discovering and growing in the knowledge of that truth is a progressive and ongoing experience. It does not occur in the mind but the heart, yet the mind surrenders and obeys the discoveries made in the heart.
This perspective is difficult for some to grasp because the philosophers from the Age of Reason convinced us all too well that truth was an intellectual concept – not an experiential and spiritual reality.
What Is Freedom?
As we find the truth, we are set free. Freedom is the ability to live beyond the enslaving constraints of our individual desires, fears, and weaknesses. We live in accordance to the standards of an infinite and eternal God.
Sin is more than an act of unrighteousness. It is a contaminant that binds us to mortality, the appetites and needs of the self, and everything else that holds us back from eternity and the love of God. The intimate knowledge of Christ overcomes the captivity of sin and brings us into freedom.
Ultimately, this was the benefit for which Christ redeemed us. He paid the price of sin and death on the cross not so we could simply go to heaven, but so we could gain freedom and eternity with Him.