“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” (Galatians 5:1, NIV).
Today is Independence Day in the United States of America. This is the day we recall the many freedoms we have in our country. We are truly blessed to live in such a great land. We celebrate with family and friends, enjoying the finest of food grilled over hot coals, lively parades, and festive fireworks.
Still, the Fourth of July would not be complete without some meaningful reflection concerning the source of our freedom. We remember the many brave men and women who currently serve in the military and those who have served our country in the past to ensure that we can live freely. Many of these individuals paid the ultimate price, giving their very lives to purchase and maintain our freedom.
Scripture speaks of another type of freedom that is just as much worth celebrating as our nation’s Independence Day. Through the sacrifice of Jesus on the cross, his blood-shed payment for our sins, we are declared free. Our victory is over death, our transgressions, even the Devil himself.
The Apostle Paul was one of the first individuals to share this liberating truth. He visited and wrote letters to many of the churches in the region of Asia Minor. One of these churches was located at a place called Galatia.
For the Galatian Christians, their spiritual freedom was under attack. A group known as the Judaizers had followed-up on Paul’s message of the good news Gospel of Christ with a message of their own, convincing new Gentile converts that, in order to be true Christians, they had to follow a list of rules and rituals. Paul’s stern reminder to the Galatian people was that they were sons and daughters, adopted by God, not slaves under the Law. They were in no way to return to the bonds of legal indebtedness, but were to live in the freedom of a relationship with their graceful God.
Like the Galatians, we, too, possess a certain level of freedom as Christ-followers. And, although we should watch that this freedom does not become a license for sin, returning us to a state of spiritual slavery, we are free to love God and serve others.
Thank God today for the many freedoms we have as Americans. More importantly, remember to thank God for the freedom we have in Christ. We are citizens of a great country. We are adopted sons and daughters of a great God. Let’s celebrate!