Today is Independence Day, a holiday commemorating the day that the thirteen American colonies declared themselves a new nation free from British rule. The colonists fought for freedom from being ruled by a government that had became oppressive.
After Adam and Eve were ordered out of the Garden of Eden, the rule of sin and death became oppressive for humankind. But, “God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.” (John 3:16) Jesus came to free us from the bondage of sin and death. And, to all who did receive him, who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God. (John 1:12) When we receive Jesus into our hearts and submit to Him in a personal relationship we become members of God’s family. In Christ we are a new creation. In Christ we have freedom from sin and Satan’s control. We have the freedom to be the person that He meant for us to be.
Freedom in Christ does not mean that we live perfect lives and that we are not seduced by the fallen world around us. Freedom in Christ means we are promised forgiveness and eternal life when we surrender our life to Him and live according to His expectations. Life is a long journey, and we all fall short, but with the guidance and direction of the Holy Spirit, we have a built-in navigation system to heaven.
Make no mistake however, the founding fathers understood that the freedom or liberty that was achieved 240 years ago, was not the end of their work, but the beginning. Freedom or Liberty was a living, breathing concept that required intelligent, confident people of character working together to preserve it. Likewise, when we accept Christ as our Lord and Savior that is not the end of our commitment, but the beginning. The freedom Christ secured for us on the cross is a gift that requires us to live in daily, deeply committed obedience to Him. In Matthew 7:21, Jesus says, “Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven.” When we keep in step with the Holy Spirit, we actively love and honor our God, and love and serve our neighbor. This demonstrates our faithfulness to God and allows us the freedom to live the joyful and abundant life that Christ came to give us. Now that is something to celebrate!