True Freedom- John 8:31-36

In this passage, Jesus tells us of the way to true freedom, which comes in “knowing the truth”, but this is an unusual kind of knowing to which He refers here. The word know is ginosko, which in John’s writings is used to describe the knowing of an intimate personal relationship. The truth which Jesus references here is Himself, truth here is not only something, but someone. Knowing truth here is more than merely knowing a body of information, but growing to know a person, the one who is the truth, Jesus Christ. As we grow to know Jesus as a person (“the “remaining” in His teaching referred to in John 8:31), we grow to know the one who is the truth, and He will set us free. As we live the way He tells us to, we grow to know Him, and we are progressively set free. Growing to know the truth here is growing to know a person, and we grow to know other people as we spend time with them. As we spend time with Jesus (abide with Him), we will inevitably grow to know Him and, just as inevitably be set free by Him. He then explains to us the nature of this freedom in verses 34-36. In verse 34, He tells us what we are set free from, and we are set free from sin. The Bible teaches that all human beings are enslaved by someone or something (see Romans 6:15-23), and the freedom Jesus provides here is not freedom from having a master, but freedom from being enslaved to a master who wants to destroy us (sin) to being enslaved to a new master who loves us and wants the best for us (Jesus). We are set free from our old master (sin) in order that we may serve a new master (Jesus), and it is in service to Him that we find real and lasting freedom. We are then told, in verse 36, that “whom the Son sets free is free indeed”. Just as this passage presents to us an unusual kind of knowing, it also presents to us an unusual kind of freedom. The word translated “indeed” here is the Greek ontos, from which is derived the English word ontology. In philosophy, ontology is the study of being, of the nature of existence. The freedom which Jesus provides here is the freedom of our very beings, the freedom of a new kind of existence, no longer bound to a master bent on our destruction but to a master bent on the flourishing of our very beings. In growing in an intimate personal relationship with Jesus Christ, we find true and lasting freedom, freedom in and for our very beings. This is not the world’s “freedom” here, which would be freedom from all constraints, freedom to do whatever we feel like doing whenever we feel like doing it, freedom from any kind of master (which the Bible teaches is an illusion). This is true freedom, not freedom from something but freedom for something, freedom to be what we are created to be and do what we are created to do, freedom in our beings and existence. It is only in growing to know Jesus (through remaining in His teaching) that we all find the freedom which we seek, and become “free indeed”.

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