July 4, 1776 – the day the “colonies” declared their independence from Great Britain. Each summer, on the fourth of July, Americans celebrate that momentous event. We enjoy a day off from work, parades, cookouts and family gatherings, baseball games, fireworks, small and large.
Eventually 56 men signed their names to the Declaration of Independence. All of these men were wealthy men of status, aristocrats. They knew the risk they were taking by putting their names to this document—they were risking their lives, their fortunes, and their sacred honor. And indeed, their bold act proved to be more than a risk. Each man paid dearly.
Now, 243 years later, we enjoy the benefits of their sacrifice, and the sacrifice of many after them … the blessings of freedom. Freedom at the cost of life itself. Though the signers of the Declaration may have envisioned the liberty their decision would eventually bring, none saw it. We are the beneficiaries.
We as American Christians value our freedoms—our national freedom and, more especially, our spiritual freedom. We are thankful to live in a country in which we enjoy liberty. But even more we are eternally grateful to the Lord Jesus Christ for the freedom He has purchased for us.
The New Testament describes this wonderful emancipation Christ accomplished: “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” (Romans 8:1-2). Because of Christ’s life, death and resurrection, believers in Jesus have been set free! We have been freed from condemnation for our sins (Romans 8:1). That means we will never stand before God and hear the verdict, “Guilty!” We will never face eternal judgment for our sin because Jesus took that punishment in our place. Thank God!
Freedom! What a wonderful word! And, it just so happens, that is also the name of our current sermon series from the New Testament book of Galatians. Listen to the wonderful statement God makes in that book: “It is for freedom that Christ has set us free” (Galatians 5:1a). We are trying to learn … to experience … this freedom Christ has provided.
All too often, even as believers in Jesus, we find ourselves thinking, and acting, as though we have to earn God’s favor. We are performance-driven. However, God makes it very clear in Galatians that we have been freed from having to do the works of the Old Testament Law in order to be accepted by Him. So the second part of Galatians 5:1 goes on to say, “Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery.” We want to stand firm in the freedom Christ has provided.
These blessings, these freeing benefits of Christ’s work can be ours today. However, we have yet to fully taste the freedom Jesus purchased. In the book of Romans, God reveals that one day “the creation itself will be liberated from its bondage to decay and brought into the glorious freedom of the children of God” (8:21). What a prospect! We will one day live completely free of sin, on a new earth where there will not be one trace of sin and its pollution.
When Christ made His sacrifice, He knew clearly the great good it would accomplish. And one day He will enjoy the full fruits of His work, enthroned as King of kings and Lord of lords. By God’s grace, the freedom we experience today will be eclipsed by the glorious freedom of that day!