The phrase from these verses, “the truth will set you free,” is frequently quoted out of context. It should be understood in connection with the previous phrase, “if you abide in my word.” To be set free, you must abide in Christ’s word!
The truth has no effect on you unless you accept it, believe it, embrace it. Being set free by the truth first requires that you live according to it. When you start living according to the truth that is in Christ, then it emancipates you from a way of life without Christ that enslaves you.
When you abide or continue to believe and obey God’s Word, then you are transformed spiritually. When you cultivate and saturate your life with God’s Word, the Bible, and practice God’s presence through prayer and meditation in the Holy Spirit, then you abide in Christ and begin to take on His character.
And, then you are truly a disciple of Jesus. And then you are set free from the enslaving guilt and power of sin!
“For the law of the Spirit of life has set you free in Christ Jesus from the law of sin and death.” (Romans 8:2, ESV)