Then Jesus said to those Jews who believed Him, “If you abide in My word, you are My disciples indeed. 32 And you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.”
33 They answered Him, “We are Abraham’s descendants, and have never been in bondage to anyone. How can You say, ‘You will be made free’?”
34 Jesus answered them, “Most assuredly, I say to you, whoever commits sin is a slave of sin. 35 And a slave does not abide in the house forever, but a son abides forever. 36 Therefore if the Son makes you free, you shall be free indeed.” — John 8:31-36.
“you shall know the truth” (v.32). — Holding to the teaching of Christ Who is the Truth (14:6) leads one to the truth that sets a person free from slavery to sin. Salvation is not obtained by intellectual knowledge as the Gnostics imagined, but by a vital relationship with Jesus Christ and a commitment to the truth He revealed (18:37).
“We . . . have never been in bondage to anyone” (v.33). — The Jews had been enslaved in Egypt and later were ruled by the Philistines, the Assyrians, and others. Since they could hardly deny this, they were probably saying that they had been a nation under God since the Exodus, no matter what else had happened to them. It is also possible that they were speaking about the time of the Romans, when they had certain liberties, including official recognition as a religion.
“whoever commits sin is a slave of sin” (v.34). — Jesus describes the gravity of sin and the predicament of humanity under sin. His hearers did not understand the freedom He offered them as they did not understand the bondage they were in.
“if the Son makes you free” (v.36). — Regeneration (the new birth) is the work of the Holy Spirit (3:3–8), accomplished on the basis of Christ’s death and resurrection on our behalf (3:14–16).
“free indeed.” — Jesus was not speaking of political freedom, nor merely a freedom by which we are relieved from physical bondage. True freedom is to serve God, to fulfill the purposes of those specially created in God’s image. Sin deprives us of this fulfillment because sin clouds our minds, degrades our feelings, and enslaves our wills.