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Reformation Sunday – October 30, 2022

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Reformation Sunday – October 30, 2022

Freedom!  It’s not just an American value.  Sure, we have a national holiday dedicated to celebrating freedom.  Independence Day festivities were once ubiquitous across the land.  A famous quote from those days of struggle to free America from the colonial tyranny of England may still ring in citizens’ ears, “Give me liberty or give me death!”  Patrick Henry’s stirring refrain.   Our scriptures, though, were pretty high on freedom and liberty almost two millennia prior to Henry’s dramatic declaration.  The 16th century reformers learned from them.

Jesus Christ, the Son, is the agent of freedom.  He, in his death on the cross and subsequent resurrection, vanquishes the trio of bondage that holds the entire human race as its slaves.  The trio of bondage is named by Luther in his Small Catechism as “sin, death, and the power of the devil.”  Sin enslaves us (vs. 34).  The power of this enslaving sin is the law (1 Cor. 15:56).  Jesus is the “end of the law for righteousness for all who believe” (Ro. 10:4).  As Jesus ends the law, the power of sin is broken, its enslavement canceled, and freedom granted.  The devil enslaves us through his lies.  The arch-deceiver holds us in bondage to a reality he defines by the illusions and deceptions he and his minions promulgate.  Against those lies and deceits, Jesus sets forth his truth, establishing its veracity by dying on the cross.  In complete vindication of his assertion, “I am the way, the truth, and the life…” (Jn. 14:6), he is raised from the dead.  As we live from the Word of God, Jesus Christ, the devil’s lies and deceptions are exposed for what they are.  We are freed from them.  The third member of the trio, death, goes down to defeat, first in the forgiveness of sin and second in Jesus’ resurrection from the dead.  “The sting of death is sin” (1 Cor. 15:56).  When sin is forgiven death loses its punishing capacity and no longer binds us.  Likewise, as Jesus goes into the tomb and then arises from it, he defeats death, and his resurrection is the guarantee for our personal resurrection as well.  Regardless of your political situation, caught somewhere between tyranny and liberty, Jesus is your liberator from that trio of bondage—sin, death, and the power of the devil.  He sets you free… free, indeed!

Table Talk:  What do you desire freedom from… or freedom for?
Pray:  Grant me freedom, Father… freedom in Jesus Christ, your word.  Amen

John 8:31-36 English Standard Version

So Jesus said to the Jews who had believed him, “If you abide in my word, you are truly my disciples, 32 and you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.” 33 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’?”

34 Jesus answered them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, everyone who practices sin is a slave to sin. 35 The slave does not remain in the house forever; the son remains forever. 36 So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed.