“I tell you the truth, everyone who sins is a slave to sin. Now a slave has no permanent place in the family, but a son belongs to it forever. So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed.” (John 8:34-36)

As we have seen from our gospel readings in the weeks prior, it seems that every time that Jesus spoke with the religious leaders of the Jews, He antagonized them. The reason is that He spoke words of authority and truth which ran contrary to the rules of the bureaucratic Jewish religious system. They could not accept these truths because they felt that Jesus challenged their authority and power and so was someone to be eliminated. He called them hypocrites and sinners which was the truth but a truth they did not like or desire to hear.

In similar fashion, Martin Luther suffered at the hands of the bureaucratic, authoritarian and corrupt Roman Catholic Church when he preached salvation by grace through faith and not by works of any Law. Roman church leaders saw him and his message as a threat to their cushy lives, their corrupt authority, their control over the lives of the millions of Christians and their pocketbooks. Yet What Luther preached was the Word of God, long obscured and hid by the legalism of Church bureaucracy.

This good news, as the Lord said, reveals that we are all slaves to sin because we all sin. Only by faith on Jesus do we become sons of God, heirs of the Kingdom of Heaven. We cannot earn it by good works. We receive it as the gift of God.