Knowing the Truth
“and you will know the truth,” (8:32a)
The inevitable blessing of believing in Jesus and continuing to obey His Word is to know the truth. “Grace and truth were realized through Jesus Christ” (1:17), He is “the way, and the truth, and the life” (14:6), and “truth is in Jesus” (Eph. 4:21). In a postmodern world, where the hope of discovering absolute truth has been largely abandoned, such knowledge is revolutionary. Like Pilate, who asked the cynical question, “What is truth?” (18:38), modern skeptics are left with nothing but their own ignorance and despair—the fruit of their futile search for truth apart from God.
The truth comes not only from knowing the revelation of Scripture concerning Christ, but also from being taught by the Holy Spirit, the “Spirit of truth” (14:17; 15:26; 16:13; 1 John 5:6). The apostle John referred to the Spirit’s teaching of believers in 1 John 2:27 when he wrote, “As for you, the anointing which you received from Him abides in you, and you have no need for anyone to teach you; but as His anointing teaches you about all things, and is true and is not a lie, and just as it has taught you, you abide in Him.”
Scripture is the revelation of divine truth. In it Jesus Christ, truth incarnate, is revealed, and through it the Holy Spirit teaches the truth to believers. Thus Jesus prayed, “Sanctify them in the truth; Your word is truth” (John 17:17; cf. Ps. 119:142, 151, 160). The all-sufficient Scripture is “inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness; so that the man of God may be adequate, equipped for every good work” (2 Tim. 3:16–17). And not just “the man of God,” the preacher, but all who are taught by him.
Being Made Free
“and the truth will make you free.” (8:32b)
The reality of believing in Jesus, obeying His Word, and knowing the truth brings spiritual freedom. Such freedom is multifaceted, and includes freedom from the bondage of falsehood, Satan (John 17:15; 2 Cor. 4:4; 1 John 5:18), condemnation (Rom. 8:1), judgment (John 3:18; 5:24), spiritual ignorance (8:12), spiritual death (8:51), and, most significantly in this context (v. 34), sin (Rom. 6:18, 22).
It was to liberate lost sinners that Jesus came into the world (Luke 19:10). In the synagogue in His hometown of Nazareth, the Lord applied the following words from Isaiah to His ministry: “The Spirit of the Lord is upon Me, because He anointed Me to preach the gospel to the poor. He has sent Me to proclaim release to the captives, and recovery of sight to the blind, to set free those who are oppressed” (Luke 4:18). Those who are set free in Christ must heed Paul’s admonition to the Galatians: “It was for freedom that Christ set us free; therefore keep standing firm and do not be subject again to a yoke of slavery” (Gal. 5:1).
MacArthur New Testament Commentary