Sunday, October 29, 2006


Reformation Observed
October 29, 2006
John 8:34-36
Made free

Introduction: How are we to perceive ourselves? Some believe we exist to be free. That seems to be the American mantra, “I was born free, I live free, and I will die, free!”  The truth is we are born slaves to sin, for each and every one of us has been born into sin. We are in bondage to the power of the Devil.

Fortunately, this bondage was broken by a man who suffered on a cruel and bloody cross and then stood at the mouth of an open tomb. Christians are now declared to be slaves of Christ, but in Christ we are now slaves who are set free. The Emancipation proclamation is what will be remembered as one of Lincoln’s greatest acts as president. . Jesus’ death on the cruel, cruel, cross is what has guaranteed our freedom. The Reformation was the event that called for religious freedom – freedom of a burdened conscience, freedom from false teachings. We are declared to be free in Christ – free to live and love and serve.

As Christians we are

Born, destined to be slaves of sin –
Yet, we have been made free by Jesus Christ  the only-begotten Son of God –
I.        Each is born a slave to sin. (V. 34) “Everyone who commits sin is a slave to sin.”

A.     Because of our first parents Adam and Eve we have all been made slaves to sin.

1.      One of the hymns we teach our students in Morning Prayer at Wyneken expresses this truth so well.  “In Adam we have all been one, One huge rebellious man; We all have fled that evening voice That sought us as we ran.” [1]

2.      We remain in this state of slavery and bondage until the day we draw our last breath. Yes, we have been redeemed by Christ the crucified. Yes, Christ has redeemed us from the curse of the Law. But at the same time, there is the “Old Adam [lurking] within us, {who} should by daily contrition and repentance be drowned and die with all sins and evil lust so that a new man can daily come forth and arise who shall live before God in righteousness and purity forever.” [2]  
St. Paul writes, in Romans, the sixth chapter, “We were buried with Christ by Baptism into death, that, like as He was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life.”[3]

B.     Daily we fall short of the perfection the Father demands of us.

1.      We confess that we are by nature sinful and unclean. We have not loved the Father with our whole heart; we have not loved our neighbors and ourselves. We justly deserve the Father’s present and eternal punishment.[4]

2.      We confess both sins of commission and sins of omission. This is what we mean when we say to God, “We have sinned by thought, word and deed, by what we have done and by what we have left undone.” [5]

3.      Specifically, we plead guilty before God in everything. In Individual/Private Confession we pray, “I have lived as if God did not matter and as if I mattered most. My Lord’s name I have not honored as I should; my worship and prayers have faltered. I have not let His love have its way with me, and so my live for others has failed. There are those whom I have hurt, and those whom I failed to help. My thoughts and desires have been soiled with sin.” [6]

Transition: By being human we are born slaves to sin. Yet there is in us a “new man” which has made us a new people.

II.     We are made free by God’s Son. (V. 36) “So if the son has made you free you are free indeed.”

A.     You are made free because of the action of Jesus Christ.

1.      He is the one who entered this world. John in his Gospel will tell us, “And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us We have seen his glory, the glory of the one and only, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth.[7] But when the fullness of the time was come, God sent forth his Son, made of a woman, made under the law, To redeem them that were under the law, that we might receive the adoption of sons.[8] 

2.      He is the one who bore your sin. “He himself bore our sins in his body on the tree, so that we might die to sins and live for righteousness; by his wounds you have been healed. For you were like sheep going astray, but now you have returned to the Shepherd and Overseer of your souls.”[9]

3.      He is the one who offers you new life.  St. Paul would remind us, “Or don’t you know that all of us who were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death?  We were therefore buried with him through baptism into death in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, we too may live a new life.”[10]

B.     This freedom can not be taken from you.

1.      Satan may howl and shriek. This is what he enjoys and he’s so good it! He’s so good at what he does. “Be self-controlled and alert. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour.” 9 “Resist him, standing firm in the faith, because you know that your brothers throughout the world are undergoing the same kind of sufferings.” [11] He’s always accusing, always judging, always condemning. He’s so critical. He does not approve of Christ and what He is doing in you. So He will continue to bellow and shout his accusations at us.

2.      But in a clear small voice someone speaks even louder - it is Christ your Savior who speaks His word of peace, “I forgive you” “I love you” “I care for you.” This is what moved the Evangelist John to write, “This then is how we know that we belong to the truth, and how we set our hearts at rest in his presence whenever our hearts condemn us. For God is greater than our hearts, and he knows everything.”  [12]

Conclusion: How are we to perceive ourselves?  As humans we are born slaves of sin – Everyone who commits sin is a slave to sin. That’s the Law. Yet, by the grace of God we have been made free by the Son – So if the Son has made you free you are free indeed. In Jesus Christ you are free indeed. Believe and trust in this reality. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.  

+ Soli Deo Gloria +

[1] “In Adam We Have All Been One” from Lutheran Worship © 1980 Concordia Publishing House, St. Louis, MO

[2] “The Significance of Baptizing with Water” from Luther’s Small Catechism Lutheran Worship © 1980 Concordia Publishing House, St. Louis, MO pg. 303

[3] Romans 6:

[4] Confession of Sins from Divine Service II Lutheran Worship © 1980 Concordia Publishing House, St. Louis, MO p. 158

[5] Ibid

[6] Individual Confession and Absolution Lutheran Worship © 1980 Concordia Publishing House, St. Louis, MO p. 310

[7] John 1:14

[8] Galatians 4:4

[9] 1 Peter 2:24-25

[10] Romans 6:3-4

[11] 1 Peter 5:8-9

[12] 1 John 3:19-20