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In Congress, July 4, 1776
The unanimous Declaration of the thirteen united States of America, 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.--That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, --That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness. Prudence, indeed, will dictate that Governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shewn, that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable, than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed. But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security.--Such has been the patient sufferance of these Colonies; and such is now the necessity which constrains them to alter their former Systems of Government.
Independence Day, also called Fourth of July or July 4th, in the United States, the annual celebration of nationhood. It commemorates the passage of the Declaration of Independence by the Continental Congress on July 4, 1776.
According to Mark Parsec, Independence Day "celebrates America’s Declaration of Independence from the tyranny of England under King George." The Declaration of Independence of 1776, he says, was not intended to declare war with England, nor did it actually establish our country’s independence. The Revolutionary War which was fought for our country’s freedom did not end "until a treaty was signed seven years later on September 3, 1783."
Notice that there is a difference between the time independence was declared, until true freedom was realized.
1789 - Bill of Rights - Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press, or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances.
Merriam-Webster’s collegiate dictionary defines freedom as the quality or state of being free: as in liberation from slavery or restraint or from the power of another or independent - the quality or state of being exempt or released usually from something onerous. A synonym of freedom is liberty - which suggests release from former restraint or compulsion.
So, for us to be released from something means we must first be in bondage to something. We find ourselves in a position of servitude to a controlling person or force - Satan and sin.
Freedom is the state that emerges after God has acted to remove all hindrances—social, spiritual (sin and death), economic, and institutional—that block our creational purpose - to know, love, worship, and enjoy God forever. This is a freedom that has been won for us by the death and resurrection of the Messiah. By the power of the Spirit, the Christian seeks to live into this freedom and to join with God in freeing others, while we await freedom’s full realization at Christ’s second coming.
Romans 8:1–11 ESV
1 There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. 2 For the law of the Spirit of life has set you free in Christ Jesus from the law of sin and death. 3 For God has done what the law, weakened by the flesh, could not do. By sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh and for sin, he condemned sin in the flesh, 4 in order that the righteous requirement of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not according to the flesh but according to the Spirit. 5 For those who live according to the flesh set their minds on the things of the flesh, but those who live according to the Spirit set their minds on the things of the Spirit. 6 For to set the mind on the flesh is death, but to set the mind on the Spirit is life and peace. 7 For the mind that is set on the flesh is hostile to God, for it does not submit to God’s law; indeed, it cannot. 8 Those who are in the flesh cannot please God. 9 You, however, are not in the flesh but in the Spirit, if in fact the Spirit of God dwells in you. Anyone who does not have the Spirit of Christ does not belong to him. 10 But if Christ is in you, although the body is dead because of sin, the Spirit is life because of righteousness. 11 If the Spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, he who raised Christ Jesus from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through his Spirit who dwells in you.
True freedom for a believer is provided by God through the atoning work of Jesus Christ. Having no condemnation means we have been made whole again in or relationship with God, and we are again restored through the redemptive sacrifice of Jesus Christ. Just like the freedoms we enjoy today, they did not come for free, but as a result of the sacrifices of men and women in our armed forces.
That sacrifice, provided through Jesus Christ, releases us from the bondage of sin. No longer are we slaves of sin and Satan, but we have been made independent to make a choice to follow Christ, as the scripture says those who are “in Christ Jesus”.
Hallelujah, there is the great difference between bondage and freedom - bondage is the forced servitude of a person to another but freedom is a free gift provided for all willing to accept it.
You see, church, sin was forced on us. It was not something intended from the beginning of creation. It was through the deception of Adam and Eve by Satan that placed them in a position of forced servitude to sin.
BUT - one of the best words in scripture - BUT we can be set free from sin and the condemnation that comes with it by accepting Jesus as our personal Savior.
As we have discussed in our study of Romans, the law that was given to the Jews could only point out sin and the inability of mankind to follow them completely. The law, in itself, could not save us because it could not break the power of sin. But Christ delivered sinners from the penalty of the law of sin and death by making them righteous in the eyes of God. God did what the law could not do - He provided true freedom from the penalty of sin.
Romans 3:23 ESV
23 for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God,
Romans 6:23 ESV
23 For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.
John 10:28–30 ESV
28 I give them eternal life, and they will never perish, and no one will snatch them out of my hand. 29 My Father, who has given them to me, is greater than all, and no one is able to snatch them out of the Father’s hand. 30 I and the Father are one.”
When we believe in Jesus Christ, the Spirit of God fulfills righteousness in us; that is, He takes the righteousness of Jesus Christ (which is the righteousness of the law) and credits it to us. He actually places within us the perfect righteousness of Jesus Christ. He places the Divine nature (righteousness) of God in us.
John 14:16 ESV
16 And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Helper, to be with you forever,
It is through that Helper, the Holy Spirit, that helps guide and direct us to spiritual things. You see, where we keep our mind controls where we go. If we seek freedom, but stay in bondage, we will never find the freedom God has in store for us which comes through a personal relationship with Him. Notice that there can be people who are “religious” that do not have a personal relationship with God. They may come to every church service, they may be active in the things of the church, but they have fallen short of being set free from the bondage of sin. The Spirit of God ONLY lives within the believer. He is there to work within the believer, both to will and to do God’s pleasure. He is there to keep the mind and thoughts of the believer focused upon spiritual things. The power of the Spirit is seen in the word dwell. The word dwell gives the picture of a home. The Holy Spirit dwells within the believer: He makes His home, takes up residence, and lives within the believer just as we live in our homes.
Not only does He dwell in us, but He gives a life of freedom to the believer.
Romans 8:10 ESV
10 But if Christ is in you, although the body is dead because of sin, the Spirit is life because of righteousness.
The Spirit of Christ gives life to the spirit of man now, the very moment a person believes. Man’s body will die because of sin: the moment we take our first breath, we are in a process of dying, so death is inevitable. However, it is in the midst of death that the Spirit of Christ enters. He enters and converts the spirit of man from death to life.
John 8:36 ESV
36 So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed.
But today it seems to be hard for us to see and enjoy our freedom. Times are hard, money is tight, gas is high, things are not as easy as it once was. It can get harder for us to see God in all of this. To be honest, I think part of it comes as a bitter result of the freedoms we have enjoyed as Americans. We have come to expect things to be “easy” and we don’t know how to act when they’re not. But in 2 Corinthians 4 we are told
2 Corinthians 4:17–18 ESV
17 For this light momentary affliction is preparing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison, 18 as we look not to the things that are seen but to the things that are unseen. For the things that are seen are transient, but the things that are unseen are eternal.
The trials of this life are…life. It is a momentary affliction. Church, if Christ Himself had to endure life, then we might as well buckle up for the ride. But notice what Paul tells us about the afflictions of life, they prepare us for heaven. Because during these times, we have to look at not the things around us but to the things that are eternal, what we cannot see. When we finally reach that point - then we have true freedom.
My question to you today is this - do you know the peace of true freedom? Have you chosen to be free and not under the bondage of sin and death? If you have not, wouldn’t it be great to declare your freedom from sin this Independence Day weekend? I invite you to come forward and find eternal freedom today.
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