True Freedom in Christ
John 8:36 - 23rd Sunday after Trinity - Reformation - November 3, 2013

“If the Son therefore shall make you free, ye shall be free indeed.”

What is more important than being free? What compares to having true freedom in the heart and soul?, true freedom from sin, death, the devil, that comes by Jesus Christ alone, because He was willing to be captured, shackled, and imprisoned, and sent to His death, on the cross.

We enjoy many freedoms here in America, and they are all by God’s grace alone, but the greatest freedom of all, is the freedom Christ alone brings, Christ crucified, and risen. Even someone who sits in jail, can have the greatest freedom of all, knowing, believing that God, for Christ’s sake, forgives everything, forgives us of all sins, removing completely the condemnation that our sins deserved. There is no condmenation to them who are in Christ Jesus. How can He say that? How can He do that? Because He embraced the condemnation that our sins deserved. For the joy that was set before Him, Christ endured the cross.

There is no freedom greater than that. There are no bars strong enough to keep that freedom from spreading, and from creating new life, new hope, new faith, in hearts and souls.

True freedom we’re talking about here, because there is such a thing as false freedom. Basically what Satan sold to Adam and Eve – “Go ahead and persue your own happiness above all else. Go ahead and have other gods. Persue your own ‘freedom’. If you take what God has forbidden, you will be free. Your eyes will be opened. You’ll become as gods.”

And isn’t that really the same “freedom” we’re sold today? “Go ahead and follow wherever your heart leads you. Marriage is old fashioned. Church is old fashioned. The Bible is old fashioned. You do what is most comfortable and convenient for you. Don’t listen to some old commandments printed in some old book” (even though it is the best selling book of all time). “Let the dust accumulate on your Bible and just live what comes naturally. Let freedom reign. After all, isn’t that what true freedom is?, the ability to do whatever we want, whenever we want?”

Jesus disagrees. And He doesn’t mince words. He faces the false teaching head on. True freedom is not about doing whatever we want. Because “Whosoever committeth sin is the servant of sin.”

Sin is a hard taskmaster. It seeks to take control of everything, and leave us with absolutely nothing. It isn’t content with just a little bit. It wasn’t content to let David have just a little look. It sought to control everything in his life, and leave him with absolutely nothing.

We know what happened. It literally ripped lives apart. It ripped a wife away from her husband. It ripped his life, Urriah’s life, away completely, and ripped the life of David’s son away completely. Left unchecked, it would have taken David’s life too. A songwriter once said, “Sin will take you farther than you wanna go. Slowly but wholly taking control. Sin will leave you longer than you wanna stay. Sin will cost you far more than you wanna pay.” (Harold McWhorter).

But Christ came to give us tree freedom by delivering us from our every sin. He says: “The Spirit of the Lord GOD is upon Me…to proclaim liberty to the captives, and the opening of the prison to them that are bound.”

Christ came to give us true freedom from sin and death by dying for us, rising again, and promising that we too will rise. “If the Son shall make you free, ye shall be free indeed.”

Many imagine that church takes our freedoms away by piling on all sorts of rules. Yet, the true message of the Gospel is that Jesus already followed all the rules for us to make us acceptable to the Father. He already lived the perfect life for us. There isn’t a single rule that we can follow that will make us worthy of heaven, because Christ already fulfilled everything needful for us to be saved.

The greatest freedom of all is knowing that Christ accomplished all things needful for us to be saved, delivered us from every sin, made everything right between us and God, and that we will inherit everlasting life through Him. “Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and thou shalt be saved.”

Before he discovered the true Gospel, Martin Luther spent many years trapped by the lie that we must free ourselves from sin and death by our own good works. He was raised to think of Jesus Christ, not as a liberator, not as a deliverer, not as a Savior, but as an angry judge, who couldn’t care less about forgiveness, and cared only about punishing sin.

But if only we could be strong enough, faithful enough, say enough prayers, do enough good works, then there was this possibility of pleasing an angry God. Yet, the more Luther tried, the more he became uncertain that he had done enough. The one thing he was sure of, is that he had not done enough, and that his soul would surely perish at the hands of an angry god. That’s the ultimate question. How can we be sure we have ever done enough if salvation depends on us? So then he began to hate both God, and himself.

But Jesus promises, “If the Son shall make you free, ye shall be free indeed.”

It’s not just facts. It’s not just information that saves us. It’s a person, it’s a Son, the only-begotten Son of God, whom the Father sent, to save us.

What’s interesting is that it wasn’t that Luther hadn’t read the true word of God before. He even lectured on it many times before. He lectured on this promise in Romans, (but he didn’t yet see it as a promise): “Therein is the righteousness of God revealed from faith to faith: as it is written, The just shall live by faith.”

Luther’s eyes were not yet open, and so he was not believing what he read. He was reading what he believed: that God had to be appeased by our attempts at righteousness.

But Jesus promises, “If the Son shall make you free, ye shall be free indeed.”

Luther finally saw the light, that Christ freely gives to us His perfect life. Why? Why at that time? Because the time was right. Because God chose, at that time, to deliver Luther from prison, from the real prison of works-righteousness. And for the rest of his life, Luther never forgot what God did for him. He understood what real prison meant, living for so long without the Savior, without true faith in Him. He understood what real freedom meant, the value of knowing that everything is complete in Christ, and that God is truly at peace with us for Christ’s sake. Nothing compares to that freedom.

There are many gods out there that we can serve. We have the “freedom” to serve any one of them. In our day it’s more about the permisiveness, “anything goes”, type of god. But only one God saves. Only one God sent His Son for us. “If the Son shall make you free, ye shall be free indeed.”