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The Amazing Truth Part 3

Updated: Jan 24, 2021

Today, I want to continue examining the context in which Jesus said that “the truth will you free.” I already discussed the preceding clause stated that “you will know the truth,” the how a person can ascertain whether a statement or declaration is truthful. The previous phrase is additionally preceded by the phrase that “[if] you are my disciples.” And the final clause on Jesus’s declaration was another conditional clause: “if you abide in me.” Today, I want to consider the implications of the last two clauses in Jesus’s declaration. Let me put these dependent clauses in a logical sequence.

Premise: If you abide in my word

Premise: [If] you are truly my disciples

Premise: And [if] you know the truth

Conclusion: the truth will set you free

It is unavoidable to conclude that Jesus did not assume that the people who followed him would automatically know the truth. In reality, Jesus establish that knowing the truth is more complicated than hearing a declaration and assume its veracity. In the Bible, as most of you know, the truth is most often illustrated through the metaphor of “seeing the light,” “being of the day”, or “having our hearts illuminated.” In the Bible light and truth are synonymous. Since the apostle Paul declared that we see the world through a veil darkly, there is no direct connection between being a Christian and being able to know the truth, but only those who abide in Christ can know the truth that brings spiritual freedom.

However, when Christians do not understand or do not stay committed to knowing God’s character and its implications, they are as likely to be deceived as unbelievers. If someone is in doubt about how elusive the truth could be for Christians, all they have to do is study Christian history to document the thousands upon thousands of missteps made by church leaders, even to this day. Being a Christian is not an antidote against deception and foolishness. The only protection against deception and foolishness is knowing the implications God’s character has on human behavior.

The last phrase Jesus stated in this passage was that being a disciple depends on our capacity to abide in him. Did you catch Jesus’s meaning? His message was that people cannot know the truth that makes them free if they are not the types of disciple that abides in Jesus. The word Greek word for abiding is “meneite” ( μεινητε). This word means “to stay, to dwell, to endure.” The word abide implies that it is up to the disciple to abide. That is, a follower of Jesus could fall away, and Jesus would not force him to stay connected. Abiding in Jesus requires an action of the will. We must choose to stay connected to Jesus, if we want to know the truth that sets people free.

So, Jesus’s logic goes like this: (1) those who believe in Jesus, (2) must stay connected to him (abide), (3) because staying connected to Jesus is the evidence that we are growing in our knowledge of him (we are disciples), and thus, (4) abiding in Jesus makes Jesus’s truth available, exclusively, to the disciples that are intentionally digesting the revelation of God’s character (“you shall know the truth”). (5) Therefore, spiritual freedom is limited to the disciples who intentionally seek to stay connected to Jesus’s teaching, and who imitate the character qualities that define him. (To be continued…)

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