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’?”
Reformation Day and another opportunity to proclaim the audacious Word of forgiveness.
The world assumes that it is free; the Jews in the day our Lord assumed they were free, the church in Luther’s day assumed they were free, we are in the habit of believing we are free. And to the whole lot Jesus says, “Truly, truly, I say to you, everyone who commits sin is a slave to sin. The slave does not remain in the house for ever; the son remains for ever. So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed” (John 8:34-36). Outside of the gifts of Christ we are slaves locked in the bondage of our own sinfulness.
Sinners are not freed by encouragement or exhortation of any kind. Sinners must die! The shocking news of the Gospel is that it is only through death that we find freedom. First the death of Christ of Calvary’s cross where our sins are punished in his flesh (but death could not hold the Son of God). Then the death worked in us through the proclamation of that same Gospel.
In that Gospel we die and rise, in the simple word, “I forgive you” a new creation is called forth. The Son has set you free so you are free indeed! Happy Reformation Day!