“Truly, truly, I say to you, everyone who practices sin is a slave to sin. The slave does not remain in the house forever; the son remains forever. So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed.” (John 8:34-36)
This week’s readings all relate us to the hallmarks of the Reformation. They point out to us the vital requirement of faith in Christ alone as the source of salvation. For centuries the Roman church had largely obscured this great truth. Like the religious leaders of Jesus’ day, the church had kept people enslaved to sin, fear and darkness by preaching and enforcing man made rules and religious regulations as the means of salvation. Like the Pharisees the Church said little or nothing about God’s love, mercy or grace. Then came Martin Luther who rediscovered this great truth of the gospel. This truth is what sets us free from sin and free to serve God. Until we come to faith no matter how free and self-sufficient we think we are all slaves to sin, slaves to eternal death, eternal separated from God.
The religious rulers of the Jews in Jesus’ day, as do many people today, seem not to know this. Judging from the worldview presented to us by the media many if not most people believe they become right with God not by faith but by good works. Many also think that they are free and autonomous by virtue of their heritage, race, nationality or merely by virtue of who they are. Yet as Jesus points out, such freedom is an illusion. All men are slaves to sin and Satan unless they come by faith to Christ. True freedom is found in Him alone