John 8:31-36 (NRSV)
Then Jesus said to the Jews who had believed in him, "If you continue in my word, you are truly my disciples; and you will know the truth, and the truth will make you free." They answered him, "We are descendants of Abraham and have never been slaves to anyone. What do you mean by saying, 'You will be made free'?"
Jesus answered them, "Very truly, I tell you, everyone who commits sin is a slave to sin. The slave does not have a permanent place in the household; the son has a place there forever. So if the Son makes you free, you will be free indeed.
Today is a very exciting day in protestant churches; you will probably notice a lot of people wearing red as a result. It is Reformation Sunday--a day set aside to remember the move of God's Spirit on the heart of Martin Luther.
If you are not Catholic, you owe a debt of gratitude to Martin Luther. For it was Martin Luther who began the reformation that led to all other Christian denominations.
The spirit of the reformation is that of freedom! We are reminded that in Christ we are set truly free! We are not slaves to people, institutions, or even our own sin. Rather, we are set free in Christ to fully experience God's Amazing Grace!
I love Ephesians 2: 8-9 which states, "For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, not of works, lest anyone should boast."
Isn't it wonderful good news that salvation is a work of God and not of man? We are saved by faith alone in Jesus Christ!
This faith sets us free to express our gratitude through kind and loving deeds toward others; but we must always remember that our good deeds are not a means of securing our pardon or "purchasing" a ticket to get into heaven, rather they are a reasonable response to God's great love!
I am so thankful for God's love revealed to us in Christ Jesus! I am so thankful that I am set free by Christ because of God's Amazing Grace. And I am so thankful for the spirit of reformation which encourages me to read my own Bible, reflect deeply on God's Word, and cling tightly to my personal relationship with God through Jesus Christ!
God is so good and freedom is so sweet! Hallelujah!
Let us pray: Thank you God for setting me free in Christ! Thank you for Jesus' life, death, and resurrection which made atonement for my sin and gifts me with eternal life! Thank you for the words that you spoke to Martin Luther so many years ago. Thank you for his reformist spirit that would not let him be quiet even in the face of great persecution. Help me to be so bold. In Jesus' Name, Amen.