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Free Indeed

On July 4, 1776, the Second Continental Congress ratified the Declaration of Independence declaring the thirteen colonies were no longer subject to British authority and were now free, united and independent states. In so doing, it was openly declared, penned, believed, proclaimed and established as a bedrock that, “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of happiness.”

In the days, weeks, months and years that followed, a transformation occurred. A declaration and strongly held beliefs turned into action. The United States of America became a constitutional republic, independent from foreign rule. Since then, we celebrate and commemorate our "Independence Day" every July 4th.

Let us pause for a moment. July 4th is an important day in the history of our country. Whether we chose to celebrate it or not, it deserves recognition. Regardless of where you fall on the patriotic spectrum, there are some undeniable truths regarding the freedoms afforded to those who are blessed to call the US home. Simply put, nowhere else in the world will you find what you have been given here. You can agree or disagree, but at its core, just being able to agree or disagree is proof.

The 4th of July is one time of year when we are subject to all sorts of quotes, sayings and patriotic attire. Personally, I would like to see this the rest of the year (hey, if you truly feel this way, why not all year long?) but let's take it when we can get it. It is sort of like Christmas but with a summer, red-white-blue theme. The decorations, traditions, get-togethers, food, sales... maybe not to the same extent but there are similarities.

One way there are similarities, to a lesser extent, is the use of scripture regarding freedom. While I can give you many examples, I am going to focus in on two very specific verses. Two scriptures you see a lot on t-shirts, posts, signs even in speeches, regarding Independence Day:

2 Corinthians 3:17 b:

  • where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty. KJV

  • where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom. NIV

Galatians 5:1

  • Stand fast therefore in the liberty by which Christ has made us free, and do not be entangled again with a yoke of bondage. KJV

  • It is for freedom that Christ has set us free. Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery. NIV

I have to be honest, I own a t-shirt with one of the scriptures on it. If you have one, I have to ask, are you wearing it because you like what it reads? It sounds so cool. The Lord endorses freedom! There is liberty for all in Jesus! I have Jesus and I have been set free, AMEN! Do you understand the verses for what they truly mean not for what they read?

In Corinthians, the entire scripture is, "Now, the Lord is the Spirit, and wherever the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom." Changes the meaning just a bit doesn't it? Paul was trying to explain the new covenant makes us bold and gives us something we never had before. Those who were trying to keep the Old Testament Law were tied up in rules and ceremonies and were not understanding what it meant to truly follow Christ. By putting our trust in Jesus and receiving the Holy Spirit, we have a freedom and liberty from sin and condemnation; by trusting Christ, we are loved and free to live for Him!

Galatians' verse, when taken in context, is referring to slavery of the law. Christ died to set us free from sin and a long list of laws and regulations. The veil was torn. He came to set us free - not free to do whatever we want - that leads to sin. But freedom to choose His grace, His Spirit, His Truth. Ultimately because of Christ, we have the choice to choose Him or the yoke of slavery.

These verses are not speaking about freedom in the sense of we can go and do whatever we wish because we are free. These verses are speaking to the freedom we can only - I stress only - achieve when we accept Christ as our Savior. When we truly accept Christ as our Savior, we receive the Holy Spirit, and life as we know it changes. Here is where I will digress for a moment. Webster's Dictionary defines Freedom:

  • the absence of necessity, coercion, or constraint in choice or action - In Christ, we no longer have to follow a strict set of rules, ceremonies, laws. It is by our faith we are saved. We choose Him - through Him we are set free

  • liberation from slavery or restraint or from the power of another - In Christ, the veil is torn. I no longer need someone else, something else to approach the throne of Grace.

  • the quality or state of being exempt or released usually from something onerous - Christ died for MY sins. He took the full penalty. I still have consequences and I do not have a free pass to sin as I want but remember, the wages of sin is death - He died for me; in my place.

  • unrestricted use - I am given the Holy Spirit; I am never alone. Christ lives in me. I am not limited in when I can call on Him, talk to Him, lean on Him.

If you want to technically define freedom, what can define it more succinctly than Jesus Christ?

This Independence Day, I encourage you to celebrate the freedoms you have living in the United States of America. Wear the t-shirts and share the posts. I also encourage you to make sure you understand the liberty and freedom you have in Christ. Ask yourself if you are truly free or do you find yourself in bondage in need of a Savior. Don't let another day pass without being able to declare, "I AM FREE INDEED!"

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