139. “Then you will know the truth and the truth will set you free” (John 8:32).
This powerful verse is oft quoted as a defense for whatever “truth” someone puts forward. But there is a conjunctive adverb at the beginning of this sentence–the word “then.” It’s mere presence tells us that everything we need to know is not in this sentence alone. Something precedes, and that something is the cause of what comes next. So to what does “then” connect knowing the truth and being set free? Jesus said “If you hold to my teaching…” Here is the condition that yields the “then.” So only if you hold to Jesus’ teaching will you know the truth and subsequently be set free. Truth doesn’t set free, but obeying the truth surely does.