As we approach Independence Day, most of us will probably do so with food, recreation and perhaps fireworks. Hopefully, we will also reflect on why we have this day and give thanks for the wonderful freedoms we enjoy in America. While a lot of us probably could not pass a fifth grade exam on the events surrounding the Declaration of Independence, surely we are perceptive enough to realize why we are the most blessed nation on earth.
Just the mention of words like “freedom” and “liberty” should conjure warmth and pride in our hearts. Yet, since this kind of government system is all that the majority of us have ever known- - it can easily be taken for granted. Thus, may we ever be mindful that freedom came at a price and is sustained at a price.
Of course, ultimately the praise belongs to God for the blessings and freedoms we know and love. Paul wrote, “Let every soul be subject to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and the authorities that exist are appointed by God” (Romans 13:1). Further, the Bible instructs us that we are to pray for “all who are in authority, that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and reverence” (1 Timothy 2:1, 2).
While the governmental freedoms we have are tremendous and worthy of our celebration, I would like to turn our thinking in another direction for the moment. Let us consider the spiritual freedom that comes to us through Christ. The very word “salvation” carries the idea of being set free from the bondage of sin (2 Timothy 2:24-26). And remember these words of Jesus, “If the Son makes you free, you shall be free indeed” (John 8:36).
Long before our Lord came to this earth the prophet Isaiah wrote that His ministry would consist of “proclaiming liberty to the captives” (Isaiah 61:1; cf. Luke 4:18). Later, Paul gave commentary to this statement with these words: “But God be thanked that though you were the slaves of sin, yet you obeyed from the heart that form of doctrine to which you were delivered. And having been set free from sin, you became slaves of righteousness” (Romans 6:16, 17).
We can never overstate the value of being set free from sin and we can never praise God enough for this precious gift made available through His grace and loving-kindness (Ephesians 2:8, 9). While we set aside one day a year to celebrate our national independence, Christians should praise God without ceasing for who He is and what He has done for us!