Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free. John 8:32

I've read that the truth is sin which allows for freedom (does this mean we shouldn't be free?), another explanation is the power we possess and how we can run into fetters.

I mean these are 2 of the same answer, sort of. Is there an elegant and simple answer for this?

  • 2
    The two concepts you express (sin...freedom) and (power ... fetters) are nowhere stated in scripture. This question has been answered before see Why do the Jews in John 8:33 etc etc and I suggest you have a look at the answers there. Welcome to BH. Please see the Tour and Help as to the purpose and functioning of the site. – Nigel J Jul 2 '20 at 5:09
  • 1
    Does this answer your question? Why do the Jews in John 8:33 say that they have never been enslaved? – Nigel J Jul 2 '20 at 5:17
  • 1
    I have reviewed the other thread, and I do not see how it answers the question asked in this thread. Therefore, I will refrain from voting to close this as a duplicate. – Der Übermensch Jul 2 '20 at 14:32

It is not that the truth is sin (or vice-versa). Rather, it is Sin that is the master (or “lord”) of the one who sins.1 That is, Sin is the enslaver; the sinner is the enslaved.

The apostle Paul describes how Sin (personified)1 holds the unregenerate person enslaved and captive before his regeneration.

“For Sin shall not be master over you.”2 (The corollary is that Sin is indeed the master over the unregenerate sinner.) “Do not let Sin reign in your mortal body, so that you should obey it in its lusts.”3 (The corollary is that Sin does indeed reign in the mortal body of the unregenerate sinner, and the sinnner does obey Sin and its lusts.) Hence, “You were Sin’s servants...,”4 and obeyed Sin.5 “I am carnal, sold under Sin.”6 Like a slave sold into slavery and now under the servitude of a master, the unregenerate is “sold under Sin.”


        1 Southall, p. 98
        2 Rom. 6:14
        3 Rom. 6:12
        4 Rom. 6:17, 6:20
        5 Rom. 6:16
        6 Rom. 7:14

Not only does the unregenerate serve Sin as his master, but Sin dwells in (i.e., indwells) the unregenerate.7 With the flesh, the unregenerate obeys Sin’s law.8


        7 Rom. 7:17, 20
        8 Rom. 7:25
        9 Rom. 7:8

“You shall know the truth, and the truth shall liberate you.” From what/whom does man need liberation? That is, under what/whom is he enslaved? The answer is: Sin.The apostle Paul wrote, “For he who is dead is liberated from Sin.”10 “Being liberated from Sin...”11 “The law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has liberated me from the law of Sin and Death.”12


        10 Rom. 6:7
        11 Rom. 6:18. 6:22
        12 Rom. 8:2

The Lord Jesus Christ is “the Way, the Truth, and the Life.”13 Knowing Jesus Christ is eternal life.14 Moreover, knowing the truth, the Lord Jesus Christ, will liberate you from the servitude of Sin as your master so that you can serve the Lord Jesus Christ,

22 But now being liberated from Sin, and becoming God’s servants, you have your fruit unto holiness, and the end everlasting life. 23 For Sin’s wages is death, but God’s gift is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.


        13 John 14:6
        14 John 17:3
        15 Rom. 8:2
        15 Rom. 6:22–23


Southall, David J. Rediscovering Righteousness in Romans. Tübingen: Siebeck, 2008.


The context of John 8:32 can help.

John 8:31 So Jesus said to those who believed in him, “If you obey my teaching, you are really my disciples; 32 you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.” 33 “We are the descendants of Abraham,” they answered, “and we have never been anybody's slaves. What do you mean, then, by saying, ‘You will be free’?” 34 Jesus said to them, “I am telling you the truth: everyone who sins is a slave of sin. 35 A slave does not belong to a family permanently, but a son belongs there forever. 36 If the Son sets you free, then you will be really free. 37 I know you are Abraham's descendants. Yet you are trying to kill me, because you will not accept my teaching. 38 I talk about what my Father has shown me, but you do what your father has told you.” GNT

So the truth is not sin itself but the truth is what sets free from sin.


The answer can be found by looking closer at the meaning of ‘know’, from the Greek ‘ginoski’. The word translated ‘know’ is more of a deep inward intuition or inner perception as opposed to a ‘head’ or academic understanding.
Believers are ‘reborn’, their spirit is ‘recreated’. That spirit that died the second Adam ‘ate’. Old Testament believers could only understand or ‘know’ things naturally, that is, ‘in the flesh. (Saks - of the physical senses.)
Christianity is all about the spiritual man, living in the spirit, not the flesh. That ‘spiritual understanding’ is what some call revelation. And, it’s the revelation of the word that sets you free.

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.