In John 8 Jesus said to those who believed in Him, “you shall know the truth and the truth shall set you free.” We here the last phrase quoted often, “The truth shall set you free”, but it seems to me that the emphasis of Jesus’ statement is not merely on the truth but our knowledge of it. Later in the book of John, Jesus declared, “I am the way, the truth and the life.” So to use Henry Blackaby’s words, “Truth is a person.” Jesus is not merely talking about truth as a principle, a doctrine or a fact, He is referring to Himself as the truth. So His words here are that if we will know Him we will be free.
Freedom from what? The Greek terminology here means freedom or liberty from the dominion of sin. The knowledge of Jesus, even more specifically, a relationship with Jesus creates the reality of our freedom from the dominion or reign of sin. The reality is that many of us, as born again believers in Jesus are free from the dominion of sin, we have been set free by the work of Jesus on the cross, but there is a dramatic difference between being legally free (in the eyes of God our Judge) and living in freedom. I believe that true freedom comes when we believe who Jesus is and who Jesus says that we are because of His great love and work on our behalf. The Apostle Paul wrote that righteousness was imputed to us apart from our works and also that God did not impute sin against us but rather reconciled us to Himself through Jesus. Isaiah 61 says that “He has clothed me with garments of salvation, He has covered me with the robe of righteousness.” We are free, we are righteous, we are holy not by our efforts to push back the flesh and behave righteously but by Jesus’ work on our behalf and God’s choice to impute or credit righteousness to us through Jesus’ work.
I believe today, that if you and I will believe fully in the truth of Jesus’ work for us that we will trust in God’s righteousness in our lives. It is not our behavior that makes us righteous but rather it is our faith in the righteousness of God applied to us that changes our behavior. Before you and I can ever live lives of truth we must know the truth and from that knowledge, from that relationship freedom will pour out. Knowing Jesus is being righteous, not by our works on His behalf but because of His works for us.