1 Samuel 19:1-24; John 8:31-36; Psalms 111:5-10; Proverbs 24:9-10
NT: “Then Jesus said to the Jews who had believed him, “If you continue in my word, you really are my disciples. You will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.” “We are descendants of Abraham,” they answered him, “and we have never been enslaved to anyone. How can you say, ‘You will become free’?” Jesus responded, “Truly I tell you, everyone who commits sin is a slave of sin. A slave does not remain in the household forever, but a son does remain forever. So if the Son sets you free, you really will be free.”” (John 8:31-36 CSB)
When Jesus was teaching in the temple, He was speaking to a mixed crowd. He was speaking to His disciples, Jews who believed in Him, Jews who were skeptical of Him, and the religious leaders. Here, Jesus spoke to those Jews who believed in Him, but was then responded to by the skeptics in the crowd. To the believers, He said: “If you follow My teachings and obey my commands, you truly are My disciples… and you will also come to know (experientially) the truth, which will set you free (liberate you). The skeptics, retorted by saying, “As children of Abraham, we have never been in bondage to anyone,” which was a completely untrue statement. How ironic that the skeptics in the crowd argued against Jesus statement about truth with a lie. The truth was that the descendants of Abraham… the children of Israel… had been in bondage many times and were currently living as subjects of the Roman Empire – but they were so full of nationalistic pride that they couldn’t acknowledge the truth. They were in bondage politically and spiritually. Jesus then explained that everyone who commits sin (which includes everyone) is a slave – not a political slave, but a spiritual slave – to sin. Though they were biological descendants of Abraham, because of their sin, they had no familial rights in the Family of God. Abraham was righteous because God the Father declared him to be righteous due to his faith. The only One who could grant freedom from the bondage to sin, and welcome them fully into the family of God besides the Father, was the Son. The only way to be truly free is through faith in the Son – otherwise, you are hopelessly bound to sin with no claim to the Lord’s inheritance.
Psalms: “The Lord is gracious and compassionate. He has provided food for those who fear him; he remembers his covenant forever. He has shown his people the power of his works by giving them the inheritance of the nations. The works of his hands are truth and justice; all his instructions are trustworthy. They are established forever and ever, enacted in truth and in uprightness. He has sent redemption to his people. He has ordained his covenant forever. His name is holy and awe-inspiring. The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom; all who follow his instructions have good insight. His praise endures forever.” (Psalms 111:4b-10 CSB)
The Lord IS gracious and compassionate. He IS ever faithful to His covenant. He DOES redeem (set free) His people… but notice the conditionality of receiving all those benefits from the Lord. Only those who fear Him (honor and respect His word, will, and ways) experience the fullness His blessing. Only those who are truly known as His people are given a share in His inheritance. The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom… those who follow the Lord’s instructions have insight. That sounds very similar to what Jesus told the believing Jews: “If you honor and obey My word, you will be My disciples (My people), you will come to know the truth, and you will be set free.