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Pastor's Corner: Freedom

This next Tuesday, July 4th, our nation will celebrate Independence Day, a day when we remember the sacrifices made to win our freedom from the tyranny of the oppressive British government. So, what is this freedom? Is it being set free from politicians? sin? marriage? all responsibilities? financial debt? the law? slavery? How does this freedom come? How long does it take to obtain it?

Compare: 1) The U.S.A. was at war for over one year before the Declaration of Independence, 2) Cornwallis would surrender five years after the Declaration of Independence; and 3) The Treaty of Paris, when Britain finally recognized this independence, was seven years after the Declaration of Independence!

Have you ever wondered what happened to the 56 men who signed The Declaration of Independence? Five signers were captured by the British as traitors and tortured before they died. Twelve had their homes ransacked and burned. Two lost their sons in the Revolutionary Army; another two had their sons captured. Nine of the 56 fought and died from wounds or the hardships of the Revolutionary War. There was and is a tremendous price to pay for freedom. Thirty of the 56 signers suffered death or personal tragedy.

What about freedom from a spiritual perspective? John 8:32-36 (NKJV): Jesus said,

32 "And you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free."

33 They (the Jewish religious leaders) answered Him, "We are Abraham's descendants, and have never been in bondage to anyone. How can You say, 'You will be made free?'"

34 Jesus answered them, "Most assuredly, I say to you, whoever commits sin is a slave of sin. 35 And a slave does not abide in the house forever, but a son abides forever.

36 "Therefore if the Son makes you free, you shall be free indeed."

Is our salvation our declaration of independence? Compare: A) We are at war before we declare for Jesus; B) The declaration does not settle the matter - only states our intention; and C) Even after living for Christ for years, our enemy does not give up. How free are we?

In that last verse, Jesus states: "Therefore if the Son makes you free, you shall be free indeed." If Jesus was telling the truth, then our spiritual freedom does not originate from ourselves or from our own declarations. Jesus said, "If the Son makes you free" - the Son being He Himself. Jesus declared that He alone has the power to set us free. How is it that He has this power? Two reasons come to mind very quickly.

Reason No. 1: Who is Jesus Christ? The only begotten Son of God! Jesus has the power to set us free because of Who He is. Reason

No. 2: What has He done? Jesus Christ, the Son of God, became a human and dwelt among us for 33 years. He then gave up His life, His body, His blood on Calvary's cross so that we would have forgiveness of sin, and we would be "free indeed" to be in relationship with God the Father. Yes, there was and is a tremendous price to pay for freedom. Spiritually, Jesus paid that price!

As a country, those 56 signers of the Declaration of Independence and so many others who fought in that Revolutionary War - they paid that price! And to keep our country free, many others have paid the ultimate price of laying down their lives.

So this next Tuesday, July 4th, amidst the celebration of our country's independence - with food, fireworks, fun, etc. - perhaps we could each take a few moments and pause to be thankful for the sacrifices made by those who have gone on before us ...

And why not also pause to be thankful to Jesus Christ for the ultimate sacrifice He made for our spiritual freedom?

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Written by the Rev. Edroy "Curt" Curtis, president of the Greater Havre Area Ministerial Association; chaplain of Northern Montana Health Care, and lead pastor of Havre Assembly of God Church.

 

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