Forde, Gerhard O. The Preached God: Proclamation in Word and Sacrament. Grand Rapids: William B. Eerdmans Publishing Company, 2007. Kindle Electronic Edition.
Chapter 15, “Called to Freedom” Loc. 3494-3696.
Forde notes that the Reformation’s recognition of freedom was revolutionary in his time and in ours. He says, “Luther is usually charged with ‘heresy’ on two counts: too much bondage on the one hand and too much freedom on the other!” (Loc. 3501). The discussion of freedom shifted at the time of the Reformation to “actual liberation, not as a covert enslavement of the self” (Forde 2007, Loc. 3512). Using an argument of free will to explain sin results in guilt on our part (Forde 2007, Loc. 3517) On the contrary, Forde notes, the freedom of the gospel is freedom from the crushing power of the law (Forde 2007, Loc. 3526).
Forde then notes that the world around us does not think of the inner freedom from the law as adequate or practical (Forde 2007, Loc. 3546). Because we are uncomfortable with this freedom we turn to the law again (Forde 2007, Loc. 3551). Yet Forde reminds us of the very Pauline view that Christ has completed the law, leaving his people free to depend on him (Forde 2007, Loc. 3569). In Luther, the gulf between law and freedom is immense (Forde 2007, Loc. 3584). In the end, “Faith in the promises of God is itself the greatest obedience” (Forde 2007, Loc. 3594). This is the ultimate freedom. The result is a life in which we freely live out what God has created us for (Forde 2007, Loc. 3608). As to the claim that freedom might not work, Forde with Luther says we continue proclaiming freedom (Forde 2007, Loc. 3646). Freedom, after all, is never by compulsion.