Reflection Questions: ‘The Truth Will Set You Free!’ But From What? (John 8.32b)

Reflection Questions: 'The Truth Will Set You Free!' But From What? (John 8.32b)

And you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.”

  1. I’m suggesting – following Augustine and others – that Jesus’ promise ‘the truth will set you free’ means ‘the truth’ (God’s Word) ‘will set you free’ from slavery to your sinful nature. (Jesus seems to indicate this a few verses later in 8:34.) In other words, it will give you the ability to resist temptation. Notice: I said ‘slavery’ to your sinful nature. You’ll always have a sinful nature (until you die or are translated), but you DON’T HAVE TO BE A SLAVE to it (Romans 6:16-19)! Does this understanding of John 8:31b ring true to you? Why or why not? If not, what is Jesus promising ‘the truth will set’ you ‘free’ from?
  2. The truths Jesus is talking about here are specific truths – discipleship truths, follower truths. These truths set us free, but they also get us into trouble with the world we live in! Why? Because they contradict nearly everything the ‘world’ deems to be true. Jesus’ truths are so counter-cultural, so ‘other’ than, that the world despises them and all who hold them (John 15:20, 13:16). What radically counter-cultural truths has God taught you? How have they caused you to clash with the culture? How have you navigated the clash? What is our proper response? The answer is found in 1 Peter 3:15. Consider each major word in this verse carefully in order to get Peter’s full thought!
  3. The truths Jesus is talking about here are supernatural truths, Spirit-taught truths, truths that the ‘natural man’ (the unsaved man) cannot understand, even on his best day. They are Spirittaught, understood only by the Spirit who lives within us. Read and discuss 1 Corinthians 2:14. What are the “things of the Spirit of God”? Why are they “folly” to the “natural man”? Why is he unable to understand them? Which of the ‘truths’ God’s taught you helped to mold you into a true disciple? How did they “set you free”?
  4. Discuss ‘temptation’ with your group. Where does it come from (James 1:13-15)? Why does it seem so relentless (Galatians 5:17)? Consider the contrast in Romans 8:6: what does Paul mean that “to set the mind on the flesh is death”? What does it mean that to “set the mind on the Spirit is life and peace?” Which sounds more pleasant? 😊
  5. The enemy often uses conflict with other people (family, co-workers, neighbors, etc.) to tempt us away from God and towards sin: anger, malice, resentment, down-speaking, retaliation, etc. So, why is that ‘awful person’ we work with NOT the problem (Eph. 6:12-13)? What’s really going on when we find ourselves in conflict with people? How do we stand against such temptations (Eph. 6:13-18).
  6. Why do you think prayer such an essential part of resisting temptation (Matthew 6:13, 26:41)?
  7. What’s God’s promise to believers about temptation in 1 Cor. 10:13? Who does Paul say will “provide the way of escape”? How do you think we discover that “way of escape”? (Hint: see question #6!) When he says you will not “be tempted beyond your ability,” what “ability” is he talking about? Why does he say God will “provide the way of escape, that you may be able to endure it,” rather than ‘escape it.’ Are ‘enduring’ and ‘escaping’ the same things?
  8. Do you agree that temptation begins in our thought-life? Consider Paul’s admonition that we choose carefully which thoughts we’ll entertain (Philippians 4:8). Why is this so important? What does he mean to “take every thought captive to obey Christ” (2 Cor 10:5b)? How do we do that?
  9. Finally, the ‘other side’ of temptation is not the temptation to do wrong, but the temptation NOT to do good! Read James 4:17. This reminds us that we’re responsible for everything the Spirit teaches us! With this in mind, consider: Matthew 5:16 and Galatians 6:1-2, 9-10.