A message from Pastor Berndt
So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed. (John 8)
In the Name + of Jesus. Amen. Freedom seems like something we take for granted. After all, we are Americans. We live in the land of the free and the home of the brave. The Pharisees had a low view of sin. They thought they could overcome their sin by living a good life – their prayers, keeping of the Sabbath, and good works.
In the Middle Ages much the same lie enslaved sinners in thinking they were free. Many thought they were free by good works, giving, living a good life, and prayers to the saints. But slavery to sin is still slavery even if you call it freedom.
Under the curse of sin we think we can work our way out of sin by being good. A path of futility, trying to please God with good works, will lead either to arrogance or despair. Truly, truly, I say to you, everyone who practices sin is a slave to sin. (John 8) We have all become like one who is unclean, and all our righteous deeds are like a polluted garment. (Isaiah 64)
Scripture teaches that there is ONLY ONE WHO CAN SET YOU FREE. JESUS. The Lutheran Reformation returned back to the truth of Scripture. True freedom is in Christ alone for the sinner. The Gospel rescues you from the false religion of works righteousness.
The Good News is Jesus saves sinners by His passionate death and glorious resurrection. Good Friday and Easter. We sinners do not deny our sinful condition. If we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. (1 John 1) Rather, we confess our sins to the Lord. Jesus has taken all your sins away by His Blood.
The beauty of the Reformation is a return back to the truth of the Scriptures. Salvation is not a work, salvation is not achieved, and salvation is not potential. Rather, salvation is a GIFT. The wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord. (Romans 6) Cutting the strings and removing the conditions of men upon God's grace. No conditions. No requirement of works. GIFT, GIFT, GIFT is Christ saving you by His mercy. Christ’s redeeming work is received by faith. Trusting that what Jesus has done He has done for you. We know that a person is not justified by works of the law but through faith in Jesus Christ, so we also have believed in Christ Jesus, in order to be justified by faith in Christ and not by works of the law. (Galatians 2)
Rejoice, Christian friends, in hearing the Gospel. The preaching of the Gospel is for sinners. The Word of God goes to work setting you free. Jesus setting you free. Jesus is God's gift to you in His Word. Jesus is God's gift to you in your baptism. Jesus is God's gift to you in Absolution. Jesus is God's gift to you in the Lord's Supper. The gift is not deserved or earned. Rather received and believed.
Men cannot be justified before God by their own strength, merits, or works, but are freely justified for Christ’s sake, through faith, when they believe that they are received into favor, and that their sins are forgiven for Christ’s sake, who, by His death, has made satisfaction for our sins. This faith God imputes for righteousness in His sight. (Augsburg Confession IV Justification)
Freedom from your sin. Baptized Children of God, your new life is lived in Christ by faith. Life everlasting. In the Name + of Jesus. Amen.
Salvation unto Us Has Come LSB 555:1
Salvation unto us has come By God’s free grace and favor;
Good works cannot avert our doom, They help and save us never.
Faith looks to Jesus Christ alone, Who did for all the world atone;
He is our one Redeemer.