40 Names of Jesus in 40 days of Lent — Day 23
So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed.John 8:36 ESVUK
There is a danger in taking things out of context, and this verse is one of them. There is also a freedom to do so if the Holy Spirit leads you that way. But it is mostly context that is important, if you can find what it meant to the original readers there is a good chance to work out what God is saying today.
This saying comes from a long passage in John’s Gospel. John 8:31-59. Please read it if you have time before reading on in this post.
The first context is the people Jesus was speaking to: These were believers, Jews who had believed in him. There are some harsh things to come, so take this into account before you unjustifiably use these verses to hit down at unbelievers, Jews or followers of another faith. The harsh stuff is not for them but for us. Here’s the condensed bullet point version:
- Jesus said: You shall know the truth and the truth will set you free.
- They said:
- We are offspring of Abraham.
- We have never been enslaved.
- Jesus said:
- Everyone who commits sin is a slave.
- The slave does not remain in the house for ever; the son remains for ever.
- So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed.
- They said: Abraham is our Father.
- Jesus said: You Are of Your Father the Devil.
Remember the context, the people Jesus was talking to were his followers. This does not sound like the best way to attract people to his cause. But there is a new freedom Jesus is talking about. Freedom from religion. These followers of Jesus also followed the Jewish religion, they had a long tradition all the way back to Abraham. Jesus claimed to be able to free them from even this. He also said he could free them from sin.
How does this work out today?
Freedom from sin has come through the literal self-sacrifice of Jesus Christ on a cross outside Jerusalem. There is no need for the annual and more frequent sacrifices of bulls, sheep and goats. Jesus has paid the price, you are free from your sins when you look to Jesus.
Do you think that going to church will bring you freedom? It won’t. Jesus attended synagogue in his ministry period, that is until it became unsafe to attend. It is good for you to attend church unless that church is pushing you into its mould and has become abusive. Some churches are abusive to different groups. These include the disabled, the chronically ill and LGBT+. If this applies to you it is OK to leave. There are other churches around, meeting onsite and on the internet which may be more sympathetic to you. Jesus promised to accept all who come to him. It is a shame all churches are not the same.