John 8:31 – The Truth that Liberates

In today’s Gospel reading, our pastor shaped his sermon around this famous verse, “if you are my disciples then truth will set you free“.  We learn later that the wording is [correctly] understood to be free from sin. But the problem for me has always been its ambiguous truth, free, atonement, blood sacrificewording. In fact, this verse is structured so ambiguously that believers can pretty much read into its words whatever they want. For example:

What does it mean to be free from sin? Does this mean we will no longer be judged by our sin and are therefore able to sin without divine consequence? The use of the preposition ‘from’ also raises questions. For example, if believers are liberated from sin, what exactly is the believer now able to do that s/he wasn’t able to do before?

The answer to these questions lies in the understanding that Jesus was a Jewish sage and teacher of the Torah. More specifically, this verse is an explanation of Leviticus 17:11 — the theology of the blood sacrifice and specifically foreshadows Jesus as the atonement.

To fully understand this important text you must now go and study.

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