Reformation—Observed 2022 (Jn 8, 31–36)

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᛭ INI ᛭

(5. Oops!: There’s no freedom only slavery in the world.)

There is no God. There is no Savior. We are not sinful. So, there’s nothing we need to repent of. That is the so-called freedom of the world. Casting off the notion of a Creator, molding Jesus into a moral leader rather than Savior, recasting sin as just religious judgmentalism has given rise not to freedom but slavery.

The world is enslaved to hypocrisy—individuals who will never admit wrongdoing. Enslaved to power. I will implement my truth over yours—my vote will do it! Enslaved to nothing. Justice. Morality. Truth. God. Jesus. Right. Wrong. Gender. Are all nothing, objectively speaking. All this is slavery to sin itself.

Living this way isn’t freedom. Enslaved to self. Enslaved to hiding whatever doesn’t match the new morality foisted on the masses. Enslaved to the new gods. Enslaved to saving ourselves, saving the world, saving humanity, saving nature. All ends in the same place death. You can’t escape your last breath.

(4. Ugh!: That’s all besides our own moral failings.)

But “you have no excuse!” (Rom 2:1) For there is “nothing good dwells in [you], that is, in your flesh.” (Rom 7:18) We are “by nature children of wrath, like the rest of mankind.” (Eph 2:3) There is all the slavery out in the world, but that’s besides all your moral failings. And so, in your flesh, you are enslaved. You aren’t free. As Jesus says today, “Everyone who commits sin is sin’s slave.”

Your sin owns you. Your sin defines you. It controls your flesh’s every action. It controls your desires, your choices, your will. You are not free. If you were, you wouldn’t do what you do. You wouldn’t fail God like you. You wouldn’t let Jesus down. But because that doesn’t actually bother you that much—your actions prove that—let’s talk about your neighbor.

You fail them. Your wife, your husband, your kids, your coworkers, your siblings, your classmates, your friends all have needs, all have expectations for what you should do for them, and we let them down. We don’t treat them like God commands. We focus on ourselves. We either don’t do stuff for them based on what we want. Maybe we stop doing stuff for them because we didn’t get the recognition we crave.

(3. Aha!: There’s no self-made freedom with Jesus.)

Jesus is clear: “Everyone who commits sin is sin’s slave.” What’s to be done? What can you do? That’s what we want. To escape the slavery of our sins maybe we ignore it and live like the world: “I’m not that sinful, so I don’t need to repent all that much.” But more often we’ll try the slavery of works.

That’s the world’s game, too. It’s why there’s whatever movement in the world. Woke-ism. Cancel culture. It’s all slavery to works. Slavery to sin. In fact it is the highest sin possible claiming for yourself and through your works to be free of judgment for your sins.

There’s no self-made freedom with Jesus. Slaves can’t free themselves. You or anyone you know can’t free themselves from sin. “Everyone who commits sin is sin’s slave.” You can’t clean up your act. You can’t do something to earn freedom. Putting aside the sin doesn’t make up for the past debt. There’s no way to clean up your act with Jesus. (You should actually want to do that for your neighbor, though…)

“Is not this the fast that I choose: to loose the bonds of wickedness, to undo the straps of the yoke, to let the oppressed go free, and to break every yoke?” (Is 58:6) That’s what Jesus does! “When the Son sets you free, you are really free.”


Jesus is the Son who sets sin-slaves free! He goes the way of disobedient slave in your place. “Cursed be everyone who does not abide by all things written in the Book of the Law, and do them.” … Christ redeemed us from the curse of the law by becoming a curse for us—for it is written, “Cursed is everyone who is hanged on a tree.” (Gal 3)

But Jesus’ freedom isn’t a past reality. Something you need to strive to get for yourself or make your own or decide for yourself or feel in yourself. That’s just more slavery! No,


So freedom from sin is close at hand! To be set free from sin is to be forgiven. And Jesus’ freedom from sin, His forgiveness isn’t far off. “The word is near you, in your mouth and in your heart.” (Rom 10)


That’s why Jesus says, “When you remain in My Word, you are truly My disciples.” That’s always “now” (nun) because it happens whenever and wherever His Word shows up.


Our problem is we don’t really believe that. Our actions prove that. It’s why we put the Word of God in a corner. We don’t make it a part of our life, our religious life, our daily life. It’s why we add all sorts of other things, cling to so many other things besides the Word. Our experiences. Our emotions. Our ideas about the way things should be in Christian churches without any basis in God’s Word. Our natural way of thinking is that Jesus’ Word is just an idea that we agree to, or something. That as long as we agree with the principle we’re ok and can do whatever. More slavery and not


“When you stay in My Word, You’re truly My disciples, and You’ll know the truth and the truth will set you free. When the Son sets you free, you’re really free.”

(1. YEAH!: He works to put His Word into every corner of your life.)

Do you want to be forgiven, be free from sin-slavery? It will ever remain in your flesh, but “do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind.” Jesus actually does that for you. He really does. You forgiven, enlivened, set free, better for those around you. Jesus does this. Jesus wants to do this, so He works to put His Word into every corner of your life to set you free.

His Word in Holy Baptism. It’s why there’s a Bible for you to read. It’s why there’s a sermon to listen to and discuss. [It’s why there’s Sunday School.] It’s why there’s Bible Class. It’s why there’s the Congregation at Prayer. It’s why there’s His Supper to eat and drink: “My body and blood FOR YOU for the forgiveness of sins.” In all these ways:


᛭ INI ᛭

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