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Q: We hear much of ‘The truth shall make you free.’ Please explain to me the true meaning of this passage.”
A: True freedom for a believer in Christ is knowing that the bondage of sin and death no longer hangs over him. The bondage chains have been shattered because the Son of God has set us free, as he atoned for the guilt and the punishment of our sins. When Jesus speaks about this “freedom” in John, chapter 8, we know that he is contrasting the whole idea of slavery and sons hip in the spiritual realm (vv. 31-41).
In a household where there is a son and where there is a slave, the family inheritance will be passed on to the son, since he is a blood relative. He is part of the immediate family, and thus a permanent member of that family. Now, if the son in the family decides to set the slave free, he is able to do so, for he has the authority and power to pull it off.
We now plug ourselves into this picture. In God’s family we have no right to the inheritance by nature, for we are bound and dead in trespasses and sin. But the only-begotten Son of God does have claim to the eternal inheritance of heaven. So, when Christ, the SON, gives us slaves to sin the rights to the inheritance by faith in him, we know for sure we have been set free.
This new freedom for the Christian is not a license to live one’s life without God’s moral law (summarized in the Ten Commandments) serving as a guide. Nor is this new freedom the social and political “liberation” promoted by many modern theologians today. It is a true and real freedom from the curse and punishment of the law, which naturally falls upon all people because of their sin. Having been fully redeemed by Christ’s death on the cross, the believer is now “free” to live his life for this high purpose: “In order that I might be His own, live under Him in His Kingdom, and serve Him in everlasting righteousness, innocence and blessedness.” This freedom comes only by hanging on to the truth, namely, Jesus’ teachings as set forth in his holy and verbally inspired Word (John 8:31).