Verse of the Day Devotion: John 8:32
“And you will know the truth, and the truth will make you free.” – John 8:32
This verse is the culmination of a statement Jesus made to Jews who came to believe in Him. “If you continue in My word, then you are truly disciples of Mine;” John 8:31 This is an important truth we all need to take hold of and not let go. The key here is ‘continuing in His word’. John is basically saying it is not enough to receive God’s truth by reading His word or listening to messages from the bible. Just hearing it will not be enough: we must retain it and then walk in it.
Now, I want to say that the beginning of learning the truth is in being introduced to it, therefore it is critical that we read and study His word, and go places where His word is taught. However, this is simply the beginning. We must also retain it and walk in it. The theologian Adam Clarke put it beautifully when he said, “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.” We must see His word as the most important reading material we have. In James we see a similar sentiment. “But prove yourselves doers of the word, and not merely hearers who delude themselves.” James 1:22. The idea of deluding oneself is that by hearing the word, we deduce that this is all that matters, whereas the important thing is actually being obedient to it. I remember when living in a small town in North Carolina we attended a church that many of my co-workers went to as well. They however did not live it out at work. They would curse, speak in a rude and dirty manner, and thought nothing of it. This is the deception spoken of by James. They merely went there to hear His word, but not obey it.
Now, we come to our focus verse where Jesus tells us why the application of God’s word is important. “and you will know the truth, and the truth will make you free.” John 8:32 He is not saying that if they memorize His word, being able to speak it when applicable, that this is all that matters. It is not to know it mentally, but to know it experientially. If we love it and live it, making it who we are, it will go a long way in freeing us from the slavery of sinful ways. Paul, in his letter to the Romans put it like this. “Do you not know that when you present yourselves to someone as slaves for obedience, you are slaves of the one whom you obey, either of sin resulting in death, or of obedience resulting in righteousness? But thanks be to God that though you were slaves of sin, you became obedient from the heart to that form of teaching to which you were committed, and having been freed from sin, you became slaves of righteousness.” Romans 6:16-18. Note the words, “you became obedient from the heart”
So, by studying and applying God’s word to our lives, being totally committed to living it out completely, we will know His truth. And if we know His truth this way, then it will set us free from the bondage to sin. There may be times we faulter, but if we do sin and hate that we did, we have an advocate. “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” 1 John 1:9 He loves us this much to set us free if we desire to be free.
William Funkhouser MDiv, ThD, Founder and President of True Devotion Ministries.