“And you will know the truth and the truth will set you free” (John 8:32).
There is a condition here, not a promise; it could be put “if you will truly know the truth it is truly able to set you free”. For you can know the truth and yet not be set free; this seems to be a contradiction of scripture but it is not; we see it all around us in those who are caught up in religious bondage; they are not free!
It is like the difference between being pregnant and giving birth; you have the baby inside you but its life in this world does not begin until it is born. So it is with truth; it must be lived to be truth! Truth is more than just a collection of scripturally accurate facts; if it does not live it is not truth and it cannot set you free. Our God is a living God and His truth is a living truth!
What makes the truth live is the living connection with God through the Holy Spirit. The verb “know” in the scripture here is ginosko; there is another verb “know” which is oida. We oida that the sun sets in the west because we see it; it is rational, visible and undeniable. It is knowledge that is freely available.
Ginosko, on the other hand is living knowledge, subjective knowledge, knowledge that derives from relationship; ginosko relies upon grace, a revelation of God, to be truth.
We can oida truth but not be free; only as we ginosko truth can we be set free; and being set free does not automatically follow ginosko; freedom will depend upon whether or not we choose to exercise a moral response to ginosko.