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Celebrating independence

By Chuck DeVos

Lead pastor LifePoint Church

If you’re like me, you’re probably gearing up to celebrate Independence Day. I imagine your plans and mine will be similar, but do you know what we’re actually celebrating? When’s the last time you read these words from the Declaration of Independence:

“When in the Course of human events, it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another, and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature’s God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.

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.”

The document, of course, goes on and is signed by 56 individuals whose lives radically changed after affixing their signature to such an insubordinate document. Some of them even paid with their lives.

Many individuals have given their lives through the years to secure and maintain the freedom that you and I enjoy and will celebrate in a few days. In fact, while totals vary depending on the source and method of calculation, it’s safe to say that more than 1.3 million individuals gave their lives and more than 1.5 million others were injured in so you and I can celebrate the independence we enjoy as American citizens.

And let me remind you, there’s another kind of freedom that you and I can enjoy, and blood was spilled for that freedom as well. Here’s what I’m talking about:

“For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.” (John 3:16, NIV)

Way back at the beginning, Adam and Eve messed up, like all of us do, and sin came into this world. From that time to this, every one of us has sinned, and it’s sin that separates us from God. But, God loves us so much, and wants us to be brought back into relationship with him so badly, that he was willing to give his son Jesus Christ to pay for our sins by his death on the cross. Since the debt has been paid, all you and I have to do is put our faith in the work he did and trust in God for his forgiveness. Yep, it’s really that simple. When we do that, we enjoy another freedom that Jesus described this way:

“So if the Son [Jesus] sets you free, you will be free indeed.” (John 8:36, NIV)

Free from sin, free to enjoy a full and rich life and free to live eternally. Both of these freedoms — freedom as an American citizen and freedom from sin — came at a high price. Please remember this Fourth of July, as we enjoy the day, say “ohh” and “ahh” at the rocket’s red glare and worship God in celebration of complete freedom!

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