All across our nation this past week, we celebrated “Independence Day”.  This year was the first year I got to celebrate with my son.  We did our “usual” 4th of July weekend activities by going up north, hanging out by the pool, spending time with friends and family, eating TONS of food, and watching fireworks.  Of all of those things, the thing I looked forward the most to experiencing with my son was watching fireworks…of course, he somehow managed to fall asleep right before they started and didn’t wake up! 

I enjoy this time of year because of those things and I know it’s the same for most of us.  We also enjoy this time of year because it is a time to celebrate the freedoms that we have in this country.  I’ve always appreciated my freedoms, but this year I appreciated them more as I celebrated with my son.  I am thankful that he has the opportunity to grow up in a nation where he can openly hear and learn about Jesus, and gather together with others to worship Him.

But then I asked myself the question, “what if?”  What if he hadn’t been born here in the U.S.?  What if, somehow, during the course of his life, his freedom to publicly worship Christ was taken away?  What if he had to face what millions of Christ-followers throughout the world face each day?

As great as that freedom is, there is a far greater freedom I want him to experience—the freedom from sin and eternal death.  If he doesn’t have spiritual freedom, it makes no difference how many freedoms this world can give him.  And that’s true for all of us!

We are born into bondage—even when we live in a free country, we are born as slaves to sin.  If we aren’t set free from it, we’ll have to pay the price of eternal death and separation from God in hell.  But we can’t break free from the chains of slavery on our own.  We can never be good enough or do enough to earn or buy our freedom.

But praise God for making a way for us through Jesus Christ!

There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.  For the law of the Spirit of life has set you free in Christ Jesus from the law of sin and death.  For God has done what the law, weakened by the flesh, could not do.  By sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh and for sin, he condemned sin in the flesh, in order that the righteous requirement of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not according to the flesh but according to the Spirit. (Romans 8:1-4)

Through Jesus’ death, burial and resurrection, we can have true and eternal freedom!  All we have to do is place our trust in that and surrender our lives to Him.

I am grateful for the freedoms that my family and I can enjoy in this country.  But I am far more grateful for the true freedom we can have through Jesus!

– PB