As we prepare to celebrate the fact that thirteen colonies declared, and then fought to win, their independence from the most powerful country in the world at that time, I thought it might be appropriate to share a few thoughts about freedom. There seems to me to be a connection between the freedom which was so dear to them and the freedom we have in Christ (cf. John 8:36).
Freedom is not free. Those who signed the document declaring those colonies to be free from the domination of England pledged their “…Lives…Fortunes…and…Sacred Honor.” While there was recognition of, and appreciation for, “…the protection of Divine Providence…”, it is of interest to notice that that pledge was made to “…each other…”
History records that many of those who signed that document lost a great deal in subsequent years. History also informs us that, in the war to actually gain the independence that had been declared, freedom came at a terrific cost.
Nothing can compare with the price paid for our freedom in Christ. It cost the Father his Son; it cost the Son his life; and it demands that those who would have this freedom would have to “…deny himself, take up his cross daily, and follow [Jesus]” (Luke 9:23).
The price is high, but freedom is worth it.
Liberty is not license. Some may find it amazing that those original colonies did not throw off all law. They just rejected British law. They soon set about drafting constitutions, laws, and other means by which behavior could be regulated. They knew the difference between liberty and license.
This is also the case with regard to spiritual matters. In fact, it is specifically stated in Galatians 5:13 that, “…ye have been called unto liberty; only use not liberty for an occasion to the flesh, but by love serve one another.”
Rhetoric is not reality. What the 4th of July celebrates is the Declaration of Independence, not the reality of independence. As alluded to earlier, the reality was not realized until many battles had been fought.
Jesus asked on one occasion, “Why do you call me Lord, Lord, and not do what I tell you?” (Luke 6:46). In that statement, there is recognition of the fact that the words of many will not match reality. The claim may be that they are Christians; that they are followers of Christ; that they experience the freedom He promises. The fact may be that none of this is true.
“Stand fast therefore in the liberty wherewith Christ hath made us free…” (Gal 5:1)