“You shall know the truth and the truth shall set you free.”
“Therefore if the Son makes you free, you shall be free indeed.”John 8:32, 36c
Some time ago in South Africa, my friend Paul and I were sharing the truths of the Gospel with more than twenty men who were in prison awaiting trial. For two hours we preached the Gospel of Christ, with Q & A, and the importance of knowing the truth. John recorded Jesus saying “I am the truth” (John 14:6) and “the truth shall set you free.” The apostle Paul wrote that believers are set free from sin by Jesus Christ (Romans 6:7, 18). One of the men asked us, “Are you saying that if I became a Christian, when I go to court, I will have to tell the truth?” Our answer was, “No, you won’t have to tell the truth; but if you truly are a Christian – you will want to tell the truth.”
The truth is that truth concerning Jesus Christ who delivers us and frees us from the power of sin, death and the wrath of God by way of the cross. Some may think that telling the truth merely sets us free from the sense of guilt but that is not the freedom of which Jesus is speaking.
Immediately after our response to that prisoner another stood up and, speaking to his fellow inmates, said, “I will speak the truth at my trial. I know I will receive three life sentences, two for murder and one for abduction but I will not lie anymore.” That is a man who has been born of God and truly understands that “the Son makes you free.” He is now free to tell the truth because he has received the One who is Truth. He now knew Jesus and the truth about Him.
This man had been a slave to sin (John 8:34) and that had brought him to a life in prison but he was now free from the prison of sin and death. He is infinitely more free than many outside of prison. Some might think he was not a good candidate for the Gospel but Jesus thought otherwise. To those who think only morally good people, by their evaluation, are worthy of salvation, Jesus said. “For I did not come to call the [self] righteous, but sinners, to repentance” (Matthew 9:13). It is Jesus who makes us free from sin (John 8:36), its power and its consequences. The cross of Jesus alone is His justification for forgiving our sin (1 John 1:9) and being reconciled to God (Romans 5:10) so that we may call Him “Father.”