On this day we celebrate the heart of our faith: the gospel of Christ—the good news—that makes us free! We pray that the Holy Spirit would continue to unite the church today in its proclamation and witness to the world. In the waters of baptism we are made one body; we pray for the day that all Christians will also be one at the Lord’s table.
Readings and Psalm
- Jeremiah 31:31-34
I will write my law in their hearts, says the Lord
- Psalm 46
The Lord of hosts is with us; the God of Jacob is our stronghold. (Ps. 46:7)
- Romans 3:19-28
Justified by God’s grace as a gift
- John 8:31-36
Jesus says, Continue in my word and you will know the truth
First Reading: Jeremiah 31:31-34The renewed covenant will not be breakable, but like the old covenant it will expect the people to live upright lives. To know the Lord means that one will defend the cause of the poor and needy (Jer. 22:16). The renewed covenant is possible only because the Lord will forgive iniquity and not remember sin. Our hope lies in a God who forgets.31The days are surely coming, says the Lord, when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and the house of Judah. 32It will not be like the covenant that I made with their ancestors when I took them by the hand to bring them out of the land of Egypt—a covenant that they broke, though I was their husband, says the Lord. 33But this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, says the Lord: I will put my law within them, and I will write it on their hearts; and I will be their God, and they shall be my people. 34No longer shall they teach one another, or say to each other, “Know the Lord,” for they shall all know me, from the least of them to the greatest, says the Lord; for I will forgive their iniquity, and remember their sin no more.
Psalm: Psalm 46The Lord of hosts is with us; the God of Jacob is our stronghold. (Ps. 46:7)1God is our ref- | uge and strength,
a very present | help in trouble.
2Therefore we will not fear, though the | earth be moved,
and though the mountains shake in the depths | of the sea;
3though its waters | rage and foam,
and though the mountains tremble | with its tumult.
4There is a river whose streams make glad the cit- | y of God,
the holy habitation of | the Most High.
5God is in the midst of the city; it shall | not be shaken;
God shall help it at the | break of day.
6The nations rage, and the | kingdoms shake;
God speaks, and the earth | melts away.
7The Lord of | hosts is with us;
the God of Jacob | is our stronghold.
8Come now, regard the works | of the Lord,
what desolations God has brought up- | on the earth;
9behold the one who makes war to cease in | all the world;
who breaks the bow, and shatters the spear, and burns the | shields with fire.
10“Be still, then, and know that | I am God;
I will be exalted among the nations; I will be exalted | in the earth.”
11The Lord of | hosts is with us;
the God of Jacob | is our stronghold.
Second Reading: Romans 3:19-28Paul’s words stand at the heart of the preaching of Martin Luther and other Reformation leaders. No human beings make themselves right with God through works of the law. We are brought into a right relationship with God through the divine activity centered in Christ’s death. This act is a gift of grace that liberates us from sin and empowers our faith in Jesus Christ.19Now we know that whatever the law says, it speaks to those who are under the law, so that every mouth may be silenced, and the whole world may be held accountable to God. 20For “no human being will be justified in his sight” by deeds prescribed by the law, for through the law comes the knowledge of sin.
21But now, apart from law, the righteousness of God has been disclosed, and is attested by the law and the prophets, 22the righteousness of God through faith in Jesus Christ for all who believe. For there is no distinction, 23since all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God; 24they are now justified by his grace as a gift, through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus, 25whom God put forward as a sacrifice of atonement by his blood, effective through faith. He did this to show his righteousness, because in his divine forbearance he had passed over the sins previously committed; 26it was to prove at the present time that he himself is righteous and that he justifies the one who has faith in Jesus.
27Then what becomes of boasting? It is excluded. By what law? By that of works? No, but by the law of faith. 28For we hold that a person is justified by faith apart from works prescribed by the law.
Gospel: John 8:31-36Jesus speaks of truth and freedom as spiritual realities known through his word. He reveals the truth that sets people free from sin.31Jesus said to the Jews who had believed in him, “If you continue in my word, you are truly my disciples; 32and you will know the truth, and the truth will make you free.” 33They 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’?”
34Jesus answered them, “Very truly, I tell you, everyone who commits sin is a slave to sin. 35The slave does not have a permanent place in the household; the son has a place there forever. 36So if the Son makes you free, you will be free indeed.”