Grab the burgers and hot dogs; It’s Independence Day. Grills are fired up all across the country as we enjoy our yearly celebration of freedom. Today, our thoughts revolve around the blessing of liberty and those who fought to gain and maintain it. It is a time of remembrance in the land of the free and the home of the brave. It falls on Sunday this year, and that marks a much more significant liberation.
Sin enslaves with invisible shackles. We cannot see it, but its influence is clear. In a country that enjoys extraordinary material blessings, it is easy to overlook the devastation that comes from sin. Big houses are coupled with empty souls. Bible believers see it clearly and mourn the moral decline that has a strangle-hold on much of our society. Unfortunately, there is a widespread embrace of the immorality and the imaginary freedom that it offers. It is fraudulent and has been since the Garden of Eden. Slavery in solid gold chains is slavery none-the-less.
Spiritual captivity is the worst. It distorts vision and hardens the heart. Reasoning suffers and souls are destroyed. Sin dictates actions, and the slaves can’t even recognize it. Jesus came to set us free from that. When the Lord presented the means by which they could be liberated, the Jews were stunned and indignant. They failed to recognize their own history, their current conditions or their need for the Son of God (John 8:31-36). Much of the world continues under the same delusion. Satan is a very clever slave master.
The devil dangled before the Lord the satisfaction for His physical needs. He challenged Him with the spiritually spectacular. He tempted Him with power and prestige. His scheme utilized a distortion of the word of God (Matthew 4:1-11). All of those efforts failed, but we gain insight into his methodology. He will exploit our weaknesses, purposes and even our faith to bring us into captivity. Deceiving us into underestimating Him might be his greatest delusion.
The first day of each week we come together to remember our liberation from such a crafty creature. Sin is no longer master over us, thanks to the blood of our Savior which offered everyone a way to break the bonds. So, we are reminded through the simple elements of the Lord’s Supper. We tend to lose focus and the chains begin to gather around us again. The evil one is still lurking just outside our door everyday (Genesis 4:7). Some things never change.
Freedom is never free, regardless of whether it is physical or spiritual. We feel deep gratitude for those who fought and died to free our nation. How much more should we feel an enormous sense of appreciation for the Son of God who sacrificed everything to set us free? It is a day of remembrance: We have been liberated. Happy July 4th!