“Then Jesus was saying to those Jews having faith in Him; ‘If you abide in My word you are truly disciples and you will know the truth and the truth will set you free’” (John 8:32-33).
“If” is the biggest word in the Bible and the one most frequently neglected. What Jesus is saying, put another way, is that only the servant of truth can ever really know the truth. Christianity fills its head with knowledge but that’s all it is – knowledge; it won’t become truth until it gets from the head into the heart and the will surrenders itself up to the Lordship of Christ. Then, and only then, can you know the truth.
This knowledge must be subjective, not merely objective; after all, many have objective knowledge but it is not truth to them. You can memorise one of Paul’s epistles so that you can recite it word for word and still not know the truth; inner blindness comes from a refusal to obey and only obedience will dispel the darkness; it must be a work of the Holy Spirit, not reason, scholarship or intellectual oomph. It is not the body of truth that enlightens, but the Spirit of truth.
Obedience opens up the spirit to be illuminated by the Holy Spirit and then you will truly know the truth, and the truth that you have known objectively you will begin to know spiritually and the power of God will begin to flow in you and through you and out of you.
The purpose of that truth, Jesus said, is to set you free and that begs the question; “free from what?” The answer is, that if you know the truth, it will set you free from the bonds of religion and the doctrines of men; remember, Jesus was talking to those Jews who had faith in Him and He was teaching them what they must now do. Their response comes right out of their religious system; “We’re the children of Abraham; we’re not in bondage”. But their religion was based upon the fact that they did not want to hear from God (Exodus 20:19) for the voice of God carries with it moral conviction and authority; thus, they chose to hear from man, leaving them free to follow or not, as they chose, and so their religion became bondage to them.
Christianity has followed a similar path, with believers leaving it to others to seek the truth and hand it on; but that is impossible; spiritual truth can only be revealed by the Holy Spirit!