WE HAVE A LICENSE
Sermon shared by Edward Frey
Summary: Our freedom in Christ is freedom from the burden of guilt
Audience: General adults
The sad thing is that when we sin against ourselves we begin to feel the burden of guilt laid upon us.
Once the flesh has destroyed its relationship with itself physically, it moves to the next level, the relationship with God, spiritually. Again, this phony I.D. to sin promises freedom at the expense of going against God. “Why, I’m a citizen of the 21st Century. You expect me to be burdened by the Bible – a book full of apparent contradictions. It’s outdated. We are a rational, enlightened people!” So the sinful flesh dupes itself into thinking it can find independence, happiness, and satisfaction apart from God.
Again, this is the result of heaped-on guilt. When we sin against our own bodies, we know it is wrong. This leads to resentment towards God because we know deep-down he is right and we’re not. This leads to resentment against him. Guilt and resentment lead a person to look for answers in all the wrong places.
Paul speaks about witchcraft. This is not a reference to old women wearing pointed hats. The apostle Paul observed this was where so many resentful, guilty hearts were turning. People would turn to incantations or potions. They would turn to illicit drugs, which altered one’s mind in an attempt to divine the future. This is what the apostle identifies as idolatry. And that is what it is. Whether it is a self-reliant attitude – “I’m my own God”, or a superstitious attempt to undermine God’s will, it’s idolatry, because all of this is part of an effort to rebel against God.
This leads often to the final step. As we selfishly pursue sin, and harbor resentment towards God, our hatred is intensified. Finally, our relationship with one another is threatened. Paul mentions "hatred, discord, jealousy, fits of rage." When we call each other names, or when our fists fly wildly at someone else – it’s our sinful flesh trying to cancel out our freedom.
There is a way to avoid this grief. God tells us how we can be truly happy, now and forever. God promises freedom even though our world is filled with disappointment and pain. God provides it, because he’s addressed the cause of the unhappiness. Satisfaction is found in Christ. Know that the license to salvation is still in your hand, even when the sinful flesh wants to do otherwise.
The Holy Spirit has placed this license in our hands. He reminds us that we are free. God promises it, saying, “Those who belong to Christ have crucified the sinful nature with its passions and desires.” Everyday, the Holy Spirit is working in us through the Gospel in Word and Sacraments. He is recreating us to be God’s own. He is slowly prying that phony I.D. from our grasp and making us to trust in Christ more and more.
The Holy Spirit combats the sinful flesh. There’s much to attack. We’re told, “the works of the sinful flesh are obvious.” Satan, our sinful flesh, and this world work very hard to try and prove their phoniness to be genuine. The sinful flesh would love for that phony I.D. to be our permanent calling card. Yet, there is nothing genuine about these things except the end result. The result is that all of this selfish indulgence leads to zero satisfaction. On the
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