It is commonly asserted that “the truth will set you free.” What has been lost is the idea that truth is not a collection of doctrines, but a living Being. The “truth” that bears freedom is not intellectual assertions, but the person of Jesus. The freedom we seek is ensconced in the experiential knowing of and being known by Jesus.
In fact, Galatians 5:1 says that, “it was for freedom that Christ set us free. . .” Later in verse 13, it reads that we were “called to freedom.” The life we are destined to live is a life of freedom. It is sin that brought death and captivity into the world.
We so often think as captives striving to get free. We consume Scriptures hoping that as we become saturated with doctrine we will find this lost freedom. However, if our time in the Scriptures is undertaken with the idea that the Bible is the embodiment of truth we miss the bull’s eye. Jesus told the teachers of the law that they search the Scriptures fervently because in them they think they will find life and yet Life Himself was standing before them.
Freedom is not found in mastering intellectual truth, it is found in the bosom of the Lord. It is found in intimate relationship with Him. It is not a concept, but a reality. It is not becoming free from this or that captivity, but rather living from an environment where there is no captivity. Heaven is a place of freedom where sin and death are no longer of any consequence already having been dealt with at the cross.
Hell is the greatest captivity, whereas Heaven is the greatest free domain. As Christians we are seated with Christ in heavenly places, aliens to this world, not because this world is evil, but because this world is designed to be inextricably connected to heaven. There was a day where the tree of life connected the two with a river flowing freely from heaven to earth. This is the true destiny of the created world. It is to have its sustenance from Jesus.
We see this demonstrated in Romans 8:19-21 “For the anxious longing of the creation waits eagerly for the revealing of the sons of God. For the creation was subjected to futility, not willingly, but because of Him who subjected it, in hope that the creation itself also will be set free from its slavery to corruption into the freedom of the glory of the children of God.”
There is a freedom given to us in Christ that all of creation longs to experience. The chains of captivity are not for us, they were broken when the Temple curtain was rent for the law of sin and death has no power over those who are in Christ.
In context we read, “Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free. They answered him, ‘We are Abraham’s descendants and have never been slaves of anyone. How can you say that we shall be set free?’ Jesus replied, ‘Very truly I tell you, everyone who sins is a slave to sin. Now a slave has no permanent place in the family, but a son belongs to it forever. So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed” (John 8:32-36).
Jesus is the truth that sets us free for He is the Son with the authority to do so. He sets us free from being a slave to sin and makes us a son or daughter in the family of God giving us a permanent place in His Kingdom. To live from His Kingdom we live out of our relationship with Him instead of out of our flesh. Then we are in a posture of living from righteousness instead of a from a sin nature. Freedom is linked to love where love does not bind, control, or inhibit, for it covers a multitude of sins.
Therefore, Christian truth may not set us free for only Jesus sets us free. Truth claims cannot do this job, only the Son, but when the Son sets us free, we are free indeed.