“If you hold to my teaching, you are really my disciples. Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.” (John 8:31-32)
When Jesus said “You will know the truth, and the truth will set you free” he was not making any general statements about the power of truth to improve the quality of our lives in any generic sense.
In other words, Jesus is not suggesting that the phrase, “Yes, those pants DO make your butt look remarkably huge” has any power to set us free. Truthful statements are not what makes us free. If that’s what Jesus meant he would have said, “Speaking the truth sets you free” or “Hearing truthful facts will make you free.” But that’s not what he said. He said, “You will know the truth and the truth will make you free.”
So, what was Jesus implying? He was saying that Truth is a person, not a statement or a fact. His actual statement was related to being someone who follows Him – a disciple. If, Jesus says, “you hold to my teaching” (or take my words seriously enough to actually try putting them into practice), then you will be my disciples, and if you are my disciples…”then you will know the truth”.
So, being a follower of Jesus is a pre-requisite for “knowing the truth.” If you know this person, Jesus, (who is Truth) then he will make you free.
He makes it much clearer when He says:
“I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” (John 14:6)
See? Jesus is the Truth. The truth is a person. Not a fact. Not a statement. The truth is a living, breathing person that you and I must get to know. Why would we want to get to know this person? Because if we know this person, He will set us free. How do we know Him? We start to follow Him and become a disciple. We become someone who actually tries to put his teachings into practice in our lives. Then we will know him, and then we will be set free because we have entered into a relationship with the truth.
“So, if the son sets you free, you will be free, indeed.” (John 8:36)