Sunday, 29 November 2009

but will the truth set you free?

Apparently, according to the Bourne finale, the marble walls of the CIA are adorned with the words "and ye shall know the truth and the truth shall make you free" John 8:32

This is one of those verses which seems very encouraging until you look a little closer. I recall a wayward definition of a parable as 'one of those stories which, just as you are beginning to enjoy it, grips you by the throat". This is one of those 'just when you are beginning to enjoy it' moments.

We don't quote the Bible now we just quote texts and often without context. The full quotation begins with some words of Jesus to some who had become 'believers'. He warned them of the danger of brief lived faith. "If you continue in my word then you are genuinely my disciples, and you shall know the truth and the truth will make you free". Apparently there are both 'disciples' and 'genuine disciples', otherwise there would be no need for that qualifying word 'genuine' or 'authentic'.

So how can we distinguish between the two? Those who 'continue' in the word that Christ has spoken to them are the genuine article; people who suddenly believe may not be. It is not a high moment of faith that defines a genuine disciple but that steady adherence and obedience to Christ himself.

And it is only those who are in that present tense relationship of master/disciple with Christ who will know the truth and THEN, and not before then, the truth will make them free. There is nothing magical about data, it is the relationship to the one who speaks the truth that makes the difference.

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