With the saying “the truth shall set you free,” most of us have an understanding of what is generally meant; at least on the surface. However, like the verse of scripture we have heard people misquote regarding money, they will say, “well, you know like the Bible says, money is the root of all evil…” They are actually quoting 1 Timothy 6:10. This verse more accurately says, “For the love of money is the root of all evil: which while some coveted after, they have erred from the faith, and pierced themselves through with many sorrows.” [KJV]. The clarity for both of these verses is sometimes missing.
Let’s for sake of this article use the example of an incarcerated individual. This individual is released from prison (or set free) on a particular day and time. However, before being set free, there had been no change in behavior or mindset, and thus the person has simply been set free from the confinement of imprisonment. Free now to go in any direction they choose without any particular course of action toward their betterment.
Being made free (or, to make free) however, denotes an all-encompassing well-being. That which will impinge upon the spiritual, mental, emotional and physical well-being of said individual.
To make free means; clear, eliminate, eradicate, abolish, purge, shed, shake-off [thesaurus.com]. All of which, is made possible through God and His Word and you knowing and understanding the Truth of His Word.
To set free means in the natural means; to release, liberate, cause to be free, to give freedom to [definitions.net]. It does not lend itself necessarily by itself, to all levels of our human existence and need.
Different translations (Amplified, Message, King James) use the words “make” and “set” interchangeably. Verse 36 of John chapter 8 in the Amplified translation says “So if the Son makes you free, then you are unquestionably free.” But yet verse 32 says, “And you will know the truth (regarding salvation) and the truth will set you free (from the penalty of sin).”
The Beauty of God’s Word is remarkable and astounding. According to John 8:32 & 36, using different translations, we understand these verses to say, when Jesus makes us free, it will be unquestionably so; no one will be able to sway us from this resolve; and at the same time, we are set free from the penalty of sin (which is eternal separation from God; spiritual death).