To the Jews who had believed him, Jesus said, “If you hold to my teaching, you are really my disciples. Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.”
In this world, freedom is the pursuit of the masses. Wars are fought, and lives are sacrificed to gain it. People want the liberty to make their own decisions regarding how they live their lives and what they do with their time. Being free to live as one chooses in this world, however, is not true freedom. What freedom can a main proclaim to have in this world if he remains a slave to sin? What freedom remains for that man once this world has passed? The freedoms offered by this world are not the freedom for which mankind truly longs. This freedom comes only from learning the truth available to us through obedience to Jesus Christ.
In today’s passage, Jesus teaches that obedience to his instruction brings knowledge of truth. In turn, this truth brings freedom. This freedom is not worldly, physical freedom; it is spiritual freedom. The freedom we gain from learning God’s truth liberates us from the bondage of sin and the clutches of destruction. It allows us to live free of the power of sin and death, which our Savior defeated by his death and resurrection, so that we may live eternally free. Even in devoted adherence to the teachings of Jesus Christ, we are free. His teachings are no bonds; they break bonds. We are now free to live as God desires, free from worry and fear. The freedom Jesus offers allows us to freely live by the authority of God’s kingdom while we are here in man’s world. We live in this world, but we do not live according to the world. We have been set free.
When we chase a certain freedom, it is worth asking what is the thing from which we desire to be free. In this world, freedom equates to autonomy and control over one’s self. In God’s kingdom, freedom equates to surrender to him eternally. These are two very different freedoms. One brings death; the other brings life. We can remain free to live as we like while remaining bound by death, or we can submit to God and be free to truly live. Father, let us understand the greatness of the freedom You provide through your Son, and cause us to share the truth of that freedom with others so that they too may escape of bonds of sin and death.