What traditions do you enjoy on the Fourth of July? Do you like picnics, parades and fireworks? Have you ever? Perhaps you might take some time that day to read the Declaration of Independence or reflect on the Revolutionary War, the struggle and cost involved to gain our independence as a nation? Remember the buzz and how much was done for the Bicentennial in 1976? (Anyone want to share photos?)
We have such liberty here in America; it is truly a blessing from God. Yet I’m afraid that too often we take these wonderful freedoms for granted and forget God’s gracious providence. Let me encourage you this Fourth of July to set aside some time with family and friends to pray and give thanks to God for the liberty we enjoy. And let us also pray for and work to protect that freedom. And last, but certainly not least, let us be united in prayer that God would, by His grace, give to our country His greater blessing of Revival.
But we must not think of our independence solely in terms of political or civil freedoms. Instead, as Christians, our greater freedom is spiritual. We have been set free by Christ from sin and death and hell! Like the Israelites at the Exodus, we were in bondage to sin but God has powerfully saved us. And our salvation, our freedom, was secured over 2,000 years ago on a hill called Calvary. Praise God that we have one day set aside each week to remember what God has done for us. What a blessing it is to be reminded of the battle that was won by our Lord Jesus Christ. This Independence Day, may we remember the better, more secure freedoms that are ours in Christ.
Since we celebrate our country’s independence on July 4th, let me remind you of just four of the many freedoms we enjoy when we are united to Christ by faith. We are free from the penalty of sin (Rom. 6:23 “For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord”). We are free from sin as the ruling power of our lives (Rom. 6:6 “We know that our old self was crucified with him in order that the body of sin might be brought to nothing, so that we would no longer be enslaved to sin”). And we have God’s sure promise that one day we will be free from even the very presence of sin (Rev. 19:1a & 27 “Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth . . . . But nothing unclean will ever enter it, nor anyone who does what is detestable or false, but only those who are written in the Lamb’s book of life”). And finally, having been set free from sin, we are free to be holy, obedient, joyful, faithful, loving children of God! And that’s just what we were meant to be.
July 4th, 1776 was the day in history when we as a nation declared our independence. As you celebrate the ‘birthday’ of the United States of America, take a minute to remember another very important day—the day you were born again! Take some time to celebrate the free gift of salvation you have received. Let’s praise God together for His goodness and grace!
Have a blessed Fourth of July!