INI + AMEN.
You’re free! And not “unalienable rights” free. There’s no “unalienable rights” in Jesus’ freedom. That’s worldly freedom—1st Article Gifts that don’t actually save anyone. Jesus isn’t talking about that sort of freedom.
No, you’re really free. Baptized free! A freedom that Jesus promises, seals, and delivers to you, splashed on your forehead, in the water and Word of Holy Baptism. After all, you don’t set yourself free. Someone else does the freeing. Jesus does. He gifts it. Not only Waters it, but Sermons it, Absolutions it, Bodys and Bloods it.
To be free is to live begiftedly—from, in, and through Jesus’ Gifts. It’s how He makes you free, keeps you free, and causes you to remain in His freedom. His Gifts are the only way Jesus sets you free. And when He sets you free, well,
JESUS REALLY SETS YOU FREE.
((I. You’re set free from sin.))
Truth is: “Any one who commits a single sin, is a slave to sin.” No escape from that slave owner. No self-help. You can’t do anything about it. “If you sin, you’re a slave.” Complete. Total. No hope for release. That’s what Jesus says.
So, if you’ve got sin, you need to be set free, and Jesus does! Really! He died for your sin, and in Holy Baptism you’re placed into His “it is finished.” At the Font, His death for your sin becomes your freedom from your sin. You are baptized, an “in my Word” sort of disciple, made a “disciple by being baptized into the Name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.”
“Baptized” means that you’re set free from your sins, your own desires, and you’re let loose on the world to love those around you. Not self-serving. No, you’re so free that you’re self-sacrificing. (Talk about free!) Free to truly love your spouse, your children, your siblings, your parents, your boss, your coworkers, your neighbors, your teachers, even those who’ve wronged you! That’s crazy free! More importantly you’re free to choose and use each and every opportunity to receive Jesus’ Word and Gifts, the things that really make you free. Any other option isn’t freedom, but slavery to your own wants and desires.
The world says you’re only free if you can do whatever you want, but that’s not true freedom. That’s like saying an alcoholic is free by continuing to drink! Your life of freedom as the baptized is completely different. It’s other worldly freedom: freedom from sin not freedom to sin. You’re so baptismally free that you now use 1st Article freedom not for yourself and your own “happiness”, but for receiving Jesus’ freedom in His Gifts and for loving those around you.
((II. You’re set free from the devil.))
To be set free from sin means that you’re also free from the devil. You’ve been baptized out of the devil’s kingdom. That’s another gift of Holy Baptism! You’re “delivered from the domain of darkness and transferred into the kingdom of God’s beloved Son, in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins.”
But in this life, we still have our flesh, and the devil wants to draw us away from freedom back into ignoring God’s commandments, to accuse us for it, and to make us slaves to our works, by making us think that our own hard work will make us free, make up for our failures.
But you’re baptized, and so you’re an “in My Word” sort of disciple. You remain in that Word and want to hear it because by it Jesus sets you free. Really free! He silences the devil’s accusations and releases your chains, all through His Word. The Absolution: “I forgive you all your sins.”
((III. You’re set free from death.))
If you’re free from sin (you are!), if you’re free from the devil (you are!), then death’s no problem. In Baptism death is a nap. At the Font, Jesus’ death and resurrection became your death and resurrection. You’ve already died and risen! So, when you die, you’ll only rise again, just like you did at the Font.
So we’re “in My Word” sort of disciples. We cling to Jesus’ Word, always want more. That’s what a disciple is and does. Which Word? Jesus’ “do this Word,” that is, His “My body and blood for you” Word. His “I will resurrect whoever eats My flesh and drink My blood.” His Supper means that His resurrected body and blood, the body and blood you eat and drink, are the promise that your body and blood will be resurrected just as His was.
You’re free! Really free! Not worldly free—free to do whatever you want. That’s slavery to self. No, JESUS REALLY SETS YOU FREE.
To be free is to live begiftedly—from, in, and through His Gifts. It’s how He makes you free, keeps you free, causes you to remain in that freedom. He Waters it, Sermons it, Absolutions it, Bodys and Bloods it. You’re so free that you now use 1st Article freedom, freedom that does not save (“life, liberty, and pursuit of happiness”), and you use it not to live for yourself but to receive the Son’s freedom-delivering Gifts and then to be let loose on the world to love those around you. You can’t have one without the other.
JESUS SETS YOU FREE! REALLY FREE! Baptized free! Free from sin, free from the devil, free from death. For “if the Son sets you free, you are free indeed!”
INI + AMEN.