July 4th is the day the United States celebrates its birth. We set off fireworks, eat barbecue, and enjoy activities with friends and family. While all the revelry abounds, many forget the history which led to the birth of our great nation. Beginning with the Pilgrims, who were originally members of John Helwys’ church in northern Europe, who came to this part of the world seeking the chance to worship God as they chose; later, the founding Fathers, in a desire to have a place where they could worship and live without pressure from tyrannical governments, fought for and formed the United States.
What makes this nation so unique? It is the freedoms we enjoy. The founding fathers, led by their faith and dependence on the Bible, wanted us all to have the freedom to worship or not worship, however we choose. This freedom came at a great cost, though. It was not easily won. During the Revolutionary War, 217,000 lost their lives and 6,188 suffered nonfatal injuries. That does not include the deaths of those from other countries or any Native American deaths. What a cost in lives for the freedom we enjoy today! From the Revolutionary War through Gulf War, 42,887,714 people have lost their lives. Over 42 million people have died, not including wars or battles since the Gulf War, defending the freedoms we enjoy today.
While American freedom is wonderful, it is not true freedom. The wars fought, the losses suffered, and the laws of this land cannot guarantee true freedom. All Americans, and all people worldwide, are still slaves, despite the wars. We are all slaves to sin. True freedom comes when we are set free from the slavery to sin. Without this freedom, people live according to their own selfish, sinful desires. Don’t believe it? Just turn on the news. Watch television shows about police videos or the most wanted criminals. Turn on the local news. Walk down the street. What do you see? Burglary, murder, and other violent crimes. We all are guilty of other wrong things: lying, lust, stealing (including that pen or piece of candy). As humans, we try to justify our sin by calling it diplomacy, political correctness, or ‘white lies.’ No matter what we call it, God calls it sin. It is wrong.
All of us at one time or another wants to sin. We want to go faster than the posted speed limit. We want to not tell the sales clerk she gave us too much change. We want to tell our friend that little lie. We figure it’s okay because ‘it feels good’ or reason that ‘whatever the other doesn’t know doesn’t hurt them.’ While others may not know of the sin, God knows of the sin. We are slaves to sin.
We can be truly free; we can be free from our slavery to sin. But just as the freedoms Americans enjoy come with a price, freedom from sin also comes with a price. But it does not take over 42 million deaths to gain this freedom. This freedom only cost one man his life. Jesus laid down his own life to pay for this freedom. Unlike those millions of people who died in war, Jesus did not remain dead. Jesus rose again on the third day. Over 500 people at one time saw the risen Lord! What a miracle! Jesus died and rose to pay for our freedom.
If you are a Christian, meaning, you believe in your heart that Jesus died and rose again, and confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord (master and ruler of your life), then you have two freedoms to celebrate this July 4th. Celebrate your American freedom, but also celebrate your freedom in Christ!
If you are not a Christian, then today is your chance to gain true freedom. God said there is a penalty for your sin and that penalty is death. You can either pay this penalty on your own for eternity or you can accept Jesus’ payment for you. It’s your choice. Jesus did this for you. Not just for mankind, but for YOU! He loved you so much that he died for you. When Jesus said “it is finished,” he was also saying “this blood is for you.” You don’t have to do anything to be saved. There are no rituals or processes. No works are required on your part. All you have to do is accept this free gift God is offering to you. Will you accept that gift and experience true freedom?
Learn more about how to be saved.
Source of casualty numbers: “America’s Wars: U.S. Casualties and Veterans.” InfoPlease.com. http://www.infoplease.com/ipa/A0004615.html