John 8:31,32 - Are You Free in Christ?
John 8:31 (KJV) Then said Jesus to those Jews which believed on
him, If ye continue in my word, then are ye my disciples indeed;
John 8:32 (KJV) And ye shall know the truth, and the truth
shall make you free.
John 8:31 (NASB) Jesus therefore was saying to those Jews who
had believed Him, "If you abide in My word, then you are truly
disciples of Mine;
John 8:32 (NASB) and you shall know the truth, and the truth
shall make you free."
John 8:31 (TEV) So Jesus said to those who believed in him,
"If you obey my teaching, you are really my disciples;
John 8:32 (TEV) you will know the truth, and the truth will set
John 8:31 (EAV) So Jesus said to those Jews who had believed in
Him, If you abide in My word [hold fast to My teachings and live in
accordance with them], you are truly My disciples.
John 8:32 (EAV) And you will know the Truth, and the Truth will
set you free.
John 8:31 (TLB) Jesus said to them, "You are truly my disciples
if you live as I tell you to,
John 8:32 (TLB) and you will know the truth, and the truth will
set you free."
Growing up in a Christian home doesn't make a person a
Christian, anymore than growing up in a university town makes a person
intelligent. All either provides is an opportunity.
That's what Jesus was saying to these religious leaders. Descent
from Abraham gave them a special opportunity to know God. But if they
had really been like Abraham, they would have acted as Abraham did
and responded to God rather than plot to kill God's Son.
Mere opportunity to know God doesn't count for any more today
than it did then. We must seize the opportunity, and respond to Him,
now as then. [The 365-Day Devotional Commentary]
Some paid attention to Jesus' words without necessarily
committing themselves to Him personally (cf. 6:53). It was possible to
"believe" in the message of repentance and the coming kingdom without
being born again. Continuing in the truth is the sign of true
followers and learners (disciples). If they really grasped His message,
they would find salvation truth. Knowing this salvation truth would
liberate them from their bondage in sin. [Bible Knowledge Commentary]
It is not enough to receive God's truth-- we must retain and
walk in it. And it is only when we receive the truth, love it, keep
it, and walk in it, that we are the genuine disciples of Christ.
(Adam Clarke Commentary)
"Truth" is that which is in full correspondence with reality. We
can't know this kind of truth in theory, but must experience the
reality Jesus' words portray by putting them into practice. [Victor
Bible Reader's Companion]
When a person "hold[s] to My teaching" (8:31) he orders his or
her life by it, and in doing so begins to experience reality! It is
this, the experience of that reality portrayed in the words of our
Lord, that makes us free. We are free from the shadowy world of
illusion through which men stumble, grasping at phantoms that appear
desirable but which in fact bring only suffering and pain. We are freed by
Christ's words to know what is right and good, and by choosing the right
and good we discover that which is best for us and for others. The
greatest freedom of all is freedom from sin and its effects. [Victor
Bible Background Commentary]
To practice Jesus' teachings is to experience a truth that
brings total freedom... To "know" the truth is not to intellectually
comprehend, but to experience. To know the "truth" is not to focus on a body
of knowledge, but to live in touch with reality as God knows
reality. To "hold to" Jesus' teachings is not a reference to doctrinal
purity, but to a commitment to put Jesus' teachings into daily practice.
To be "free" is not to live selfishly, doing whatever one wants
whenever one wants, but to live a disciplined and godly life which
releases us from our bondage to sin so that the choices we make lead to
what helps us rather than to what hurts. All this can be found if we
are only willing to really be the disciples of Jesus. [Victor
God sent Jesus to tell people the truth that would set them free
from their sins. [Disciple SB]
The truth which Christ teaches tends to make men free, <Isa.
61:1>. Justification makes us free from the guilt of sin,...
sanctification makes us free from the bondage of corruption, (Matthew Henry's
Freedom is not unrestrained indulgence in anything we may want
to do when we want it. Freedom is being who we really are,
creatures shaped by God for fellowship with Him, creatures who find joy
and fulfillment only in loving and serving Him. Freedom is freedom
to be who we are intended to be. And the way to freedom is marked
out by the words of Jesus Christ. [Victor Bible Reader's Companion]
Jesus himself is the truth that sets us free (John 8:36). He is
the source of truth, the perfect standard of what is right. He frees
us from the consequences of sin, from self-deception, and from
deception by Satan. He shows us clearly the way to eternal life with God.
Thus Jesus does not give us freedom to do what we want, but to follow
God. As we seek to serve God, Jesus' perfect truth frees us to be all
that God meant us to be. [Life Application SB]
WE ARE FREE IN CHRIST
Freedom is the privilege of those who are willing to obey. It
is a privilege which carries many responsibilities. It is not an
Jesus said, "You shall know the truth, and the truth shall make
you free" (Joh.8:32). Truth makes us free because it gives
understanding. Understanding helps us accept the necessary conditions,
restrictions, and discipline which must prevail if there is to be true
freedom. To obey the truth of God's Word makes us free from the slavery
of evil habits, desires which harm us, and behavior which dishonors
the Lord. Liberty is not the result of human achievement. It is
the result of obedience to God. Disobedience means loss of
If freedom is to be real and lasting, it must be controlled by
love. Freedom to do as one pleases, without regard for others or for
the circumstances, is destructive. Christian liberty is freedom to
love and to serve. It is abused when it is made an excuse for
loveless behavior or inconsiderate action.
Real freedom is found in serving God. With our minds centered
on Christ and what He would have us do, the self-centered desires
and degrading habits of life are crowded out. Life is complete and
happy when we surrender ourselves to God, whose yoke is easy and
burden is light (Mat.11:30). [Lucille Sollenberger; Time with God SB]
Discipleship involves constant obeying of the word of Jesus. We
study it not simply for academic satisfaction or for intellectual
appreciation, but in order to find out what God wishes us to do. The disciple
is the teamer who learns in order to do. The truth which Jesus
brought is designed for action. [Barclay Commentary]
Discipleship involves constant listening to the word of Jesus.
It was said of John Brown of Haddington that when he preached he
paused every now and then as if listening for a voice. The Christian is
the man who all his life listens for the voice of Jesus and will
take no decision until he has first heard what he has to say.
YOU THINK I'M IN JAIL.....
is what the young man asked, and it seemed like it from where I
sat - for he was on the other side of the bars.
His life story was one continual conflict with the law. He was
sent to reform school as soon as he was old enough. He was an
"alumnus" of the advanced school for incorrigible youth. Now he had
matriculated into the "big house" - his entrance examination came by way of
an armed robbery.
Sitting in the gray atmosphere of prison, he was seeking some
way of escape - then found it in the Bible. Now, as he expressed
it, he was no longer in prison; he was free in Jesus Christ. So he
emphatically stated, "You think I'm in jail? No way! You want to know who's
in jail?" He swept his hands in a wide circle. "I'll tell you.
All those people who don't know Christ - they're the ones in jail."
I wonder how many people have really considered the freedom in
being a steward of God. The only other alternative is slavery to
Satan. One or the other.
Jesus said if we made the kingdom of heaven our first
consideration, all the things we normally worry about would be provided for us
by His Father.
But too many people don't want to be stewards, and find
themselves in slavery to the devil - slaves to habit, slaves to vices,
slaves to fashion, slaves to jobs, slaves to uncertainly and concern.
God doesn't want us to be slaves to anything. He wants us to be
obedient and trustworthy ... free! [SDA Stewardship Devotional]
I don't know any issue on which I've heard preachers fudge more
often. Some minister's on a radio or TV talk show are accused of
believing that only Christians are God's children. The others there are
incensed at the very thought of such raw prejudice, and the poor preacher
stumbles and mutters. On the half dozen or so occasions I've heard such
confrontations, the preacher has quickly backed off. If he did believe
non-Christians aren't God's children, he wasn't about to admit it and take all
I honestly don't understand why. Of course non-Christians aren't
God's children. No way!
This doesn't mean that every human being doesn't have great
worth and value to God. Each of us is an object of His great love.
After all, Christ died for those who were actively hostile toward Him
because of sin and guilt. But none of that means non-Christians are in
John 8 reports how Jesus insulted a panel of Pharisees far more
than anyone's been insulted on a TV talk show. Jesus not only said
God wasn't their Father; He said straight out that they "belong to
your father, the devil." And Jesus proved His accusation by showing
that the leaders' lies and anger at Him mirror the lies and anger of
Satan at God. Of course they were the devil's children. They acted
just like him!
What bothers me about modern ecclesiastical fudging is that it
prevents people from facing the most important issue anyone has to face
in this life. Do we belong to God, or not? Are we members of God's
family, or not? Will we spend eternity with God, or not?
There's no room for "maybe" here. There's no room for just being
nice, and saying what will make people feel good. These questions
demand a clear-cut yes or no. A person is either a member of God's
family through faith in Jesus Christ, God's Son, or he or she is right
there in the devil's camp, with the folks who murdered our LORD.
I know. It's not nice to say such things. It's not polite. It
doesn't sound open-minded enough. It makes people angry when they hear
us say it. I suspect many Christians fear that it will "turn people
off" if they're told we don't think of them as children of God too.
But it's not true to suggest that those who do not know Jesus
can have a relationship with God. And it's not loving to let people
think that they're all right when in fact they are lost. [The 365-Day
The way to life was to hold to his teachings (8:31) and keep
(8:51) his words. [New Bible Companion]
Freedom is the experience of life--of relationship with God,
[Victor Bible Reader's Companion]
Discipleship results in freedom... freedom from fear. The man who
is a disciple never again has to walk alone. He walks for ever in
the company of Jesus, and in that company fear is gone. [Barclay
No man is truly free, but he in whose heart the power of sin is
destroyed, and who has received the Spirit. (Adam Clarke Commentary)
Spiritual confusion can only be conquered through obedience. As
soon as we obey, we have discernment. [In His Time; My Utmost For His
Highest re 2Co.11:3]
The service of God is freedom from degrading vices and carnal
propensities; from the slavery of passion and inordinate desires. It is a
cheerful and delightful surrender of ourselves to Him whose yoke is easy
and whose burden is light. (Barnes' Notes)
The bondage of sin is the most grievous bondage; and freedom
from its guilt and influence is the greatest liberty. (Adam Clarke
Sin is addictive. It masters everyone who tries it. Sin promises
freedom but cannot deliver. Only Jesus Christ can give true
freedom--freedom to master sin and reach one's God-given potential. [Disciple
The person who chooses sin is bound by invisible chains. [Victor
Bible Reader's Companion]
Knowing Jesus is freedom from the power of sin. Sin has a way of
enslaving us, controlling us, dominating us, and dictating our actions.
Jesus can free you from this slavery that keeps you from becoming the
person God created you to be. If sin is restraining, mastering, or
enslaving you, Jesus can break its power over your life. [Life Application
The truth here means the Christian religion. Compare <Gal. 3:1;
Col. 1:6>. The doctrines of the true religion shall make you free--
that is, it will free you from the slavery of evil passions, corrupt
propensities, and grovelling views. The condition of a sinner is that of a
captive or a slave to sin. He is one who serves and obeys the dictates
of an evil heart and the promptings of an evil nature,... The effect
of the gospel is to break this hard bondage to sin and to set the
sinner free. (Barnes' Notes)