All Hallows Eve. The eve of All Saints Day, October 31, was the date chosen by Martin Luther to publish a series of statements for debate about the forgiveness of sin. “Repentance should be a continuing frame of mind and practice for the Christian.” That was the starting point of the Reformation as the reformers studied the scriptures and found once again the truth that a person is justified by grace through faith in Jesus Christ, that God declares a person just, righteous not on the basis of what the person has done but on the basis of what Jesus Christ has done for the benefit of every person by his perfect life of obedience and his innocent suffering and death on the cross. Everyone who believes that plain word is justified, has the forgiveness of all sin.

Jesus, in John 8:31, expressed that truth 1500 years before the reformers debated. “If you abide in my word, you will truly be my disciples and you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.” The people protested that they were not enslaved but Jesus taught them that anyone who commits sin is a slave to sin. Honest reflection on our own life convinces us of that truth. We readily admit that the good we could do we do not always do and we do the evil that we later on regret. We are not free from sin, we are slaves to sin.

Jesus sets us free by forgiving our sin and giving us his love without measure. In that love of Jesus we are able to love God and love our neighbor, do good and avoid evil. As the love of Jesus abides in our hearts through his word he frees us from our slavery to sin.

Today November 1st, is All Saints Day, an appropriate reminder of what Jesus has done for us.

Elmer Schiefer
Pastor. Family of Christ Lutheran Church