The Truth Sets You Free

Sermon for Reformation Day based on John 8:31-36

Dear sons of God: grace, mercy, and peace to you from God the Father and our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. Amen.

Truth, even in the church, seems to be in short supply. There are thousands of different denominations in the world, all of which teach what they say is truth. There are dozens of churches with the name Lutheran, which teach conflicting doctrine, but all claim they are teaching the truth. Within our own confession, Lutheran Church-Canada, we have conflicting doctrines being taught in various places, and everyone claims to be teaching the truth.

It is easy to become indifferent about doctrine. It is easy to stop caring about what is true and what is not. It’s easy to give up and say, “Hey, there’s only one God, we’re all worshiping Him, so don’t worry about the details.” It’s easy to throw the hands up and say, “At least my children are going to some church.” It is easy to be frustrated and say, “If pastors who are supposed to know this stuff can’t agree, what point is there for me to even concern myself with it?”

Jesus answers this question by saying, “If you abide in my word, you are truly my disciples, and you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.” Concern yourself with and care about the truth, because the truth will set you free.

Free from what? Jesus says, “Truly, truly, I say to you, everyone who commits sin is a slave to sin.” You are a slave to as many masters as you have vices. You cannot set yourself free from sin. You cannot set yourself free from sin because sin is stronger than you are. You cannot simply choose the good and avoid the evil. You do not have free will. It sounds good, but it’s not true. Your flesh is corrupted by sin and has every sinful inclination. How do you know this? Because that’s what God’s Word teaches. We heard in our epistle lesson that God’s Law finds all of us guilty so that every mouth is stopped, and we are all held accountable to God.

Only the truth will set you free. What truth is that? The truth that if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed. Only if the Son sets you free from sin, will you be free. Only if the Son sets you free from death and from the power of the devil, will you be free.

The Son has set you free from sin. He fulfilled your obligations under the Law that you are unable to do, and He did them. He fulfilled the Law for you in thought, word, and deed. He took your sin onto Himself and took your guilt, your shame, your punishment. He has thus set you free from sin.

The Son has set you free from death. He suffered and died for you, so that you will not die eternally, but will live eternally. His cross meant suffering and death for Him, but eternal life for you. He has thus set you free from death.

The Son has set you free from the power of the devil. When He ascended into heaven, He threw Satan down so that he cannot stand before God’s throne to accuse you of your sin day and night (Rev. 12:7-12). His mouth has been stopped. Hebrews two tells us that through His death, the Son has destroyed the one who has power over death, that is the devil, and delivered all those who through fear of death were subject to lifelong slavery (2:14-15). Thus, you are not a slave, but a son. The slave does not remain in the house forever, the son remains forever. Thus, you will remain forever with God as a son, and the Son, Jesus Christ, has set you free from the power of the devil.

This is the truth that sets you free. This is the truth that incited the Reformation; the truth which Luther taught and for which he was willing to die by the hand of the pope.

But we don’t believe this because Luther taught this. We don’t believe it because we were raised in the Lutheran church or because we went through adult confirmation. We believe it because God teaches this. We believe it because it is what God’s Word says. Thus, it is not an opinion or a feeling. It’s not wishing or thinking.  We can say we know the truth.

This flies in the face of what the world says about truth, that there is no way to know what is true and that we can all hold our own so-called “truths” even when they contradict each other. But there are no maybes. There is no uncertainty. That’s what Jesus said. “If you abide in my word, you will truly be my disciples, and you will know the truth.”

It doesn’t matter how many denominations teach how many different doctrines. It doesn’t matter what the world says or what we ourselves think or feel. We are called to abide in God’s Word so that we will know the truth. What God’s Word says is what matters.

Our life as Christians is abiding in God’s Word. It’s not about patting ourselves on the back since we don’t follow the pope. It’s not about seeing how we are better than other denominations or other Lutherans. It’s not even about looking at other congregations in our denomination and seeing where they are wrong, or at other people in our pews. Our life as Christians is about abiding in God’s Word and asking where have I wandered from the truth? Where have I followed the world in my thinking? Where have my feelings and emotions been hurt by God’s Word, so that I have hardened myself to hear it? Where have I lifted up my reason to deny what God says in His Word?

See, we need reformation. We need correction. We need repentance.

You have not been abiding in God’s Word as you should have, so you have wandered. You have lived as if God’s Word did not matter and as if you mattered most. Your Lord’s name you have not honoured as you should; your worship and prayers have faltered. You have not let God’s love have its way with you, so your love for others has failed. There are those you have hurt, and those whom you have failed to help. Your thoughts and desires have been soiled with sin (LSB Individual Confession and Absolution).

This is why Jesus, the Son of God, took on your flesh. He didn’t come to earth thinking that He was coming to people that needed a just little bit of help to do better. He came, knowing the greatness of your sin to rescue you from it. He came to save you from the slavery of sin that He knew had you in its grasp. He came with forgiveness and healing because He loves you, His creation. He shed His blood for you to save you from your sin. He came to set you free from sin, death, and the power of the devil.

He came to make you a son of the Father, adopted through Baptism. He keeps you a son of the Father through His Word in which He admonishes you to abide. He strengthens you as a son through His very body and blood through which He forgives you all your sin and nourishes you to your promised inheritance of everlasting life.

Abide in Jesus’ Word. Abide. Dwell in it. Live in it. Meditate on it day and night. If you abide in Jesus’ Word, you are truly His disciples, and you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free. Amen.

The peace of God which surpasses all understanding will keep your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus our Lord. Amen.

[A note to readers: We will se using the One-Year Lectionary starting in Advent]

The Truth Will Set You Free

Sermon for the Festival of the Reformation based on John 8:31-36

Dear heirs of the Reformation: grace, mercy, and peace to you from God the Father and our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. Amen.

Jesus says, “The truth will set you free.” The truth may, however, cause you troubles in this life.

Martin Luther’s proclamation of the truth got him excommunicated by the pope and declared an outlaw by the Emperor. As we heard in Bible class last week, the reformer John Hus’s teaching of the truth got him burned at the stake by the pope. The pope murdered him simply because he believed and confessed the truth.

Today, five hundred years after the Reformation, opposition to the truth and consequences for standing up for the truth still exist. Christian business owners are being put out of business by the government just because they stand up for the truth. Just this month, the Lutheran pastor in Churchbridge was viciously attacked and bullied out of town by the very people God called him to serve, simply because he taught the truth and the people didn’t want to hear it.

The truth setting you free does not mean that there are no consequences in this life for believing and confessing the truth. The wicked world does not want to hear the truth. The devil is the father of lies and hates the truth. Thus, the world and the devil continually attack the truth and those who believe it. They will do everything they can to quiet the truth, to pervert the truth, to throw out those who would speak the truth. Yet, the truth will set you free.

We need to hear God’s Law first, before we understand what it means to be set free. Without the Law, we would respond like the Jews did to Jesus, “We have never been enslaved to anyone. How is it that you say, ‘You will become free’?” We see no need for freedom if we think we are already free. We see no need for freedom if we do not realize that we are slaves. Thus, to show us that we are slaves who need to be freed, Jesus says, “Truly, truly, I say to you, everyone who commits sin is a slave to sin.”

Do you commit sin? Then you are a slave to sin. Do you think, say, and do things that God has commanded you not to think, say, or do? Then you are a slave to sin. Everyone who commits sin is a slave to sin. God’s Law stops every mouth and holds us all accountable to God.

We do need to be set free. We cannot free ourselves. We cannot rescue ourselves from our sins because they are more powerful than we are. Because of our sinful nature, we are unable to choose the good and avoid the evil. We need to be saved. We need to be freed from slavery to sin. We need someone else to be held accountable for what we have done so that we do not die eternally.

The truth will set you free. Jesus says, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” (John 14:6) Jesus is the truth that sets you free.

“If the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed,” because Jesus is the one who is more powerful than sin and death. He is the one who is more powerful than the old evil foe. Jesus is the one who has defeated sin, death, and the devil, and He holds the field victorious.

Jesus is the one who chose the good and avoided the evil. He is the one who was held accountable for the sins that we have committed and was punished for them in our place. Jesus frees us from the punishment our sins deserve. He frees us from slavery to sin. He saves us from the devil and from hell. This is the truth that sets us free.

Martin Luther understood this freedom, so he held to this truth and was willing to face whatever the pope would do to him. Thus, he wrote, “And take they our life, goods, fame, child, and wife, let these all be gone, they yet have nothing won; the Kingdom ours remaineth.” (TLH 262 st. 4)

Luther knew the truth and the truth had set him free, so he was willing to suffer the loss of everything in this life rather than lose that freedom. He clung to the truth and shared it with others even at the risk of losing his life. He knew that he was freed from eternal damnation, justified by God’s grace as a gift through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus.

We don’t believe this because Luther taught it. We don’t believe it simply because we grew up in the Lutheran church. We believe it because God Himself teaches it in holy Scripture. We believe it because God tells it to us in His Word, the only source of truth.

Jesus says, “If you abide in my Word, you are truly my disciples, and you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.” He starts out by telling us to abide in His Word, because His Word is truth. The second we follow anything other than God’s Word, we are straying into error.

That is the error into which the Roman church has fallen. They stopped following the Bible and started following man. They still follow what the pope says even when he disagrees with Scripture. They claim that the pope is infallible and cannot err when he makes statements of doctrine. When his statements disagree with the Bible, the pope is still held as being correct by the Roman church.

Abide in God’s Word, not the word of man. Abide in God’s Word, not your own words. It is so tempting to follow our own thoughts, feelings, and desires. It is so tempting to follow what we think is fair, just, and reasonable. It is so easy to follow the world. They do whatever they want. They think that they have freedom, but they are really slaves of sin. Abide in God’s Word so you will know the truth that sets you free.

Abide in God’s Word. Read it. Study it. Attend a church where it is taught in its truth and purity. Attend Bible class where it is explained and expounded for your benefit. In the Bible is where we learn about God and His will for us. We can learn it from no place else.

Only in the Bible do we hear the Son has set us free, so we are free indeed. Only in the Bible do we learn the truth that sets us free. Only in the Bible do we have God’s truth given to us, so that we don’t speculate, we don’t wonder, we don’t guess, but we know the truth that sets us free.

Christ Jesus our Lord has set us free to be sons of God who remain in the house forever. A slave does not remain in the house forever. The son remains forever. The Son of God has freed us from slavery to sin and has given us faith so that we know the truth. He saved us, and He keeps us saved so that regardless of the opposition of the world, the devil, and our sinful flesh, we will remain in Him to eternal life. Thus, we can sing with Luther, “And take they our life, goods, fame, child, and wife, let these all be gone, they yet have nothing won; the Kingdom ours remaineth.” Amen.

The peace of God which surpasses all understanding will keep your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus our Lord. Amen.

The Reformation

Sermon for the Circuit Reformation Day service based on John 8:31-36

Dear heirs of the Reformation: grace, mercy, and peace to you from God the Father and our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. Amen.

The Reformation is not the story of Martin Luther. It is not the story of Luther versus the pope. It’s not the story of Germany versus Italy or even of Lutherans versus the Roman Catholics. The Reformation is the story of the freedom of the Gospel versus the slavery of the Law. It is the story of God versus the devil. The Reformation is the story of the truth versus lies. However, the story of the Reformation does include the Roman Catholics, the pope, Martin Luther, and the Lutherans.

The Roman Catholic church of the sixteenth century was no longer the catholic church of the prophets and apostles. The freedom and truth of the Gospel had been lost in most of the church, instead replaced by slavery to the law.

And it’s not the Law of God the Roman Catholics wanted to follow. They abolished the Law of God and invented their own laws. They dreamed up their own laws that they taught earn merit with God. They invented monasticism, pilgrimages, viewing relics, and observing festivals as supposed good works that please God. They touted celibacy, even tearing apart families as a supposed good work, although their monasteries and churches were full of vices and debauchery better left unmentioned.

The invented works of man were held in such high regard, that well-known Roman theologian Thomas Aquinas even said that the monastic profession is equal to Baptism.[1] In other words, he said that leaving society to be a monk at some monastery has the same benefits as Baptism.

As if this were not enough, the Roman Church further taught that those who followed these man-made rules earned so many merit points from God that they could sell them to others. So, the Roman church preyed on weak and despairing people, promising eternal life to them and their loved ones if they gave the church money. The church got rich from stealing from the poor and the widows. They invented a place they named “purgatory” and told grieving families that their dead loved ones were suffering there, burning in the fires of this fake temporary hell. The families were scammed and coerced into giving sums of money to the church to reduce the time their loved ones would suffer in their invented place of torment.

The Roman church thus taught the people to see God as a mean judge and to be afraid Him. Instead of praying to God, the Roman church told people to pray to Mary or other saints. Why would you pray to Jesus if you are afraid of Him? Pray instead to His mother who can put in a good word for you with her son. The Roman church thus turned people away from Jesus as their Saviour.

To those who did believe that the death of Jesus saves us, the Roman Catholic church said, “If anyone says that the sinner is justified by faith alone, let him be anathema.”[2] Also, “If anyone says that… the Gospel [is] a bare and absolute promise of eternal life without the condition of observing the commandments, let him be anathema.”[3]

The Roman Catholic church says that if you believe that you are saved by faith alone you are anathema, that is cursed to hell. They say that if you do not believe that you also need to work your way into heaven you are cursed to hell. They say that if you do not believe that by your own power and strength you must work to save yourself, you are going to hell.

Can you image the freedom then, when the Gospel again came to light? When the lies of the pope and the Roman Church were exposed to be nothing more than Satan’s work? When the truth of the Word of God was once again preached, telling the people that the made-up works of the Roman church are nonsense; that you cannot buy forgiveness of sins with money? When the people again heard that their sins are forgiven freely, without cost to us, without any merit or worthiness in us?

The Gospel brought the people out of slavery to the Law to freedom in Christ. With the return to God’s Word, we can see what Jesus was talking about in today’s Gospel reading when He said, “If you abide in my word, you are truly my disciples, and you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.”

The truth of the Gospel sets us free from the Law that we cannot fulfil. I’m not talking about some man-made laws which are utter nonsense. I’m speaking of God’s Law with its demand that we be perfect in thought, word, and deed. The Gospel sets us free from the demands of the Law because the Gospel tells us that Jesus fulfilled what we cannot fulfil. Jesus kept the Law of God perfectly for us since we cannot do it. He took the punishment that we deserve for our sins onto Himself. By His suffering and death on the cross, He paid the price of our sins in full, with no payment remaining for us to make.

We do not need to be afraid of Jesus as if He is a mean judge. He loves us so much that He came to live for us and die for us. He loves us so much that He was judged in our place so that we stand acquitted.

Concerning those who make up their own rules to follow while claiming to be disciples of God, Jesus says, “This people honors me with their lips, but their heart is far from me; in vain do they worship me, teaching as doctrines the commandments of men.” (Matt. 15:9)

Concerning those who say the death of Christ is not enough, that we must also work to save ourselves, Scripture teaches that by works of the Law no human being will be justified (Rom. 3:20), but rather we are justified by His grace as a gift (Rom. 3:24), we are justified apart from the works of the Law (Rom. 3:28), and Christ is of no advantage to them because they are again submitting to a yoke of slavery to the Law (Gal. 5:1-2). Galatians 5 says, “You are severed from Christ, you who would be justified by the law; you have fallen away from grace.” (Gal. 5:4)

There can be no middle ground on this. We cannot tolerate the commandments of men, but must cling to the Word of God. We cannot give any ground to the teaching that we must work to save ourselves. We must cling to the freedom of the Gospel instead of submitting again to a yoke of slavery.

The Lutherans responded to Aquinas and his claim that being a monk is equal to Baptism by saying, “It is madness to put a human tradition, which has neither a command nor a promise of God, on the same level with an ordinance of Christ, which has both a command and a promise of God, and which contains a covenant of grace and eternal life.”[4] You cannot invent some supposed good work and say that God will give you merits if you do it. We must not submit to a yoke of slavery from which we have been freed by Jesus’ death and resurrection. The Son has set us free, so we are free indeed.

We rejoice that with the Reformation the freedom of the Gospel was once again taught and learned. Unfortunately, sin does not lie dormant, but is crouching at the door (Gen. 4:7). In all too many places, the freedom of the Gospel was misunderstood to mean freedom to indulge the flesh.

Luther made official visitations of congregations and writes, “The deplorable, miserable condition which I discovered lately when I, too, was a visitor, has forced and urged me to prepare this Catechism, or Christian doctrine, in this small, plain, simple form. Mercy! Good God, what manifold misery I beheld! The common people, especially in the villages, have no knowledge whatever of Christian doctrine, and, alas, many pastors are altogether incapable and incompetent to teach [so much so, that one is ashamed to speak of it]. Nevertheless, all maintain that they are Christians, have been baptized and receive the holy Sacraments. Yet they [do not understand and] cannot [even] recite either the Lord’s Prayer, or the Creed, or the Ten Commandments; they live like dumb brutes and irrational hogs; and yet, now that the Gospel has come, they have nicely learned to abuse all liberty like experts.” (SC Preface)

Friends in Christ, we still live in the time of the Reformation. The Roman Church still denies the Gospel and condemns to hell those who believe it. The Lutheran church still struggles with the abuse of the freedom of the Gospel, as if we are free to do whatever we want because our sins are forgiven. We have nicely learned to abuse all liberty like experts under the guise of the freedom of the Gospel.

We must be clear. We are justified by faith apart from the works of the Law. Our salvation is not because of our works, but solely because of Jesus’ work of salvation.  But we are not to continue in sin so that grace may abound (Rom. 6:1-2). We are not to let sin reign in our mortal bodies, making us obey its passions (Rom. 6:12). By the help of the Holy Spirit we are to put to death the deeds of the body (Rom. 8:13).

This is possible only because God continues to forgive our sin and strengthen our faith through His Word and Sacraments. Our Baptism is a daily reminder that we are baptized into Christ’s death and resurrection, so we will rise from the dead as He rose from the dead. The Lord’s Supper is a regular meal of spiritual nourishment, giving us the forgiveness of sins and strengthening our faith. God has given us His Word in which we abide, so that we know the truth, and the truth sets us free. Since the Son has set us free, we are free indeed. Amen.

The peace of God which surpasses all understanding will keep your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus our Lord. Amen.

 

 

 

[1] S Th II, 2, q. 189, a. 3, ad 3

[2] Canons Concerning Justification, Canon 9. Cited from H. J. Schroeder. Canons and Decrees of the Council of Trent. (Saint Louis: B. Herder Book, 1960), 43.

[3] Ibid. Canon 20. 44.

[4] Ap XXVII.20

Freedom

Sermon for Reformation Day based on John 8:31-36

Dear heirs of the Reformation: grace, mercy, and peace to you from God the Father and our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. Amen.

“So Jesus said to the Jews who had believed in Him, ‘If you abide in my Word, you are truly my disciples, and you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.’ They answered Him, ‘We are offspring of Abraham and have never been enslaved to anyone. How is it that you say, “You will become free”?’”

Never enslaved to anyone? That simply isn’t true. The offspring of Abraham were enslaved in Egypt by Pharaoh. Pharaoh oppressed them and set taskmasters over them to afflict them with heavy burdens. The Egyptians ruthlessly made the offspring of Abraham to work as slaves and made their lives bitter with hard service. Pharaoh even commanded that every son born to the offspring of Abraham be murdered by throwing them into the Nile (see Ex. 1-5). The offspring of Abraham had been enslaved to the Egyptians.

The offspring of Abraham were also enslaved by the Assyrians. Tiglath-pileser, king of Assyria, overran Israelite cities and carried the people captive to Assyria (II Kings 15:29). Shalmaneser V and Sargon II continued the assault and the capital city of Samaria was captured and the offspring of Abraham were enslaved in Assyria (see II Kings 17:3-6).

The offspring of Abraham were later also enslaved to the Babylonians. King Nebuchadnezzar besieged Jerusalem and took it. All the treasures of the king’s house were taken and the vessels in the Lord’s house were smashed and the Lord’s house was burned to the ground along with the king’s house and every other great house. The offspring of Abraham were taken into exile in Babylon while the poorest were left to work the land for the King of Babylon. The offspring of Abraham had been enslaved to the Babylonians (see II Kings 25).

Finally, even at the time that the Jews said to Jesus that they had never been enslaved to anyone, they were not a free people. The Romans had invaded and taken over the land of the offspring of Abraham. Their land was converted into a Roman province and they were forced to pay taxes to Caesar, the Roman emperor, and to follow Roman laws as Roman soldiers marched their streets. The offspring of Abraham were not free. They were enslaved to the Romans even as they told Jesus that they have never been enslaved to anyone.

But is this the slavery to which Jesus was referring? Was Jesus promising freedom from the Roman occupation by abiding in His Word of truth? No, not at all.

Jesus says, “Truly, truly, I say to you, everyone who commits sin is a slave to sin.” This is the slavery Jesus is talking about – slavery to sin. This is the condition of sinful man from conception whether it is realized or not. As surely as these Jews were blind to their slavery to other kingdoms past and present, so they were blind to their slavery to sin.

We also can be blind to our sin. We can argue that we do our best. We look around and see everyone else’s sin and we figure we’re doing better than them. But the Law doesn’t say “Do your best.” The Law says “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind” and “You shall love your neighbour as yourself.” (Mt. 22:37, 39) Have you or have you not? Have you always put God first in everything? You’ve never doubted God or His will? You’ve never desired something that you don’t have? You’ve never spoken about someone behind their back? You’ve never neglected to help someone in need? You’ve never neglecting hearing and reading God’s Word?

In our Epistle we heard, “Now we know that whatever the Law says it speaks to those who are under the Law, so that every mouth may be stopped, and the whole world held accountable to God.” (Rom. 3:19) God’s Law shuts our mouths and our claims of doing our best. The Law shuts our mouths from our excuses, “for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.” (Rom. 3:23) The Law shuts our mouths because we’re guilty. Whoever commits sin is a slave to sin so we’ve got nothing to say. Our excuses fall short. Pointing fingers doesn’t help. Our claims of having done our best are rubbish.

We cannot save ourselves from the slavery of sin any more than the offspring of Abraham could save themselves from their slavery. The Israelites never got themselves out of slavery; they were helpless at the hands of their oppressors. So also, we cannot get ourselves out of slavery to sin; we are helpless at the hands of sin, death, and the devil. They are more powerful than we are.

But Jesus says, “If you abide in my Word, you are truly my disciples, and you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.” What truth is that? The truth that “if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed.” The truth that if the Son of God sets you free from the slavery of sin, you will be free indeed.

Jesus, the Son of God, has set you free by doing what you cannot do. He fulfilled the entire Law of God with all its legal demands. He left no Law undone. He did what you were supposed to do but could not. Then He died on the cross, taking the punishment of all your sins on Himself. He took your chains and shackles of sin onto Himself. He suffered the punishment of hell for you and in your place. He conquered your enemies of sin, death, and the devil and He set you free.

Your freedom is not your doing. It is a gift. In the words of our Epistle, “We are justified by His grace as a gift.” You are declared righteous and pleasing to God not on account of anything you have done or left undone, but on account of what Jesus has done for you. We are justified by faith apart from the works of the Law.

This truth is what the Reformation was all about. It was about returning to the truth of God’s Word that we are not saved by our own works or merits, but by the work and merit of Jesus.

The Reformation was about correcting the lie that we must do our part in salvation; the lie that we are justified through our works not by grace as a gift. The Reformation was about making the truth of God’s Word known once again. It was a return to Jesus’ words, “If you abide in my Word, you are truly my disciples, and you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.”

Jesus says, “You will know the truth.” You will have certainty concerning the truth. You can say it with conviction. It is not an opinion or a feeling. It’s not wishing or thinking. This flies in the face of what the world says about the truth, that there is no way to know what is really true and we can all hold to different so-called “truths” even when they contradict each other. But Jesus says, “You will know the truth.” You will have certainty concerning the truth. You know the truth with confidence because God says it in His own Word; you know the truth because God tells you and He cannot lie. That truth is: if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed. You are justified by His grace as a gift. You are justified by faith apart from the works of the Law.

The offspring of Abraham were never able to free themselves from slavery. They were helpless at the hands of the Egyptians, Assyrians, Babylonians, and Romans. God rescued them from slavery in Egypt through the waters of the Red Sea and He has rescued us from the slavery to sin though the waters of Holy Baptism. God rescued the offspring of Abraham from slavery in Babylon by sending Cyrus, king of Persia, to defeat the Babylonians (Is. 44-45; Ez. 1) and God has rescued us from slavery to sin by sending Jesus, His only Son, to defeat our enemies of sin, death, and the devil.

That is the truth of God’s Word. Blindness to your sin does not set you free. Jesus’ death in your place sets you free. Claiming that you’ve never been enslaved to anyone does not set you free. Claiming the merits of Jesus sets you free. Jesus, the Son of God has set you free. Because the Son has set you free, you are free indeed. Amen.

The peace of God which surpasses all understanding will keep your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus our Lord. Amen.