Saturday, July 4, 2015


The dictionary defines tyranny to be “cruel and oppressive government or rule.”  Today we celebrate Independence Day, as well we should.  Freedom from tyranny is something not everywhere enjoyed, either historically or geographically.  It is something we Americans tend to take for granted.  One of those things of which “you don’t know what you’ve got ‘til it’s gone.” Our founders fought and sacrificed to escape tyranny and gain freedom.  The patriots who signed the Declaration of Independence, risked everything to bring this country into being.  We would do well to reflect upon that historical venture in light of the forces that are even now at work to limit that which was won at such a high cost.

There is a freedom of another kind, purchased by Christ Himself, that is of infinitely more value.  Nearly 2000 years ago He was heaven sent on a divine rescue mission to save lost sinners.  A. W. Tozer’s quote says it well: “Why did Christ come? Why was he conceived? Why was he born? Why was he crucified? Why did he rise again? Why is he now at the right hand of the Father? The answer to all these questions is, “in order that he might make worshipers out of rebels; in order that he might restore us again to the place of worship we knew when we were first created.”  Jesus Christ came to free us from sin that we might do what we were created to do—worship our Creator.

History has known of many tyrants.  They exist today and the Bible warns of more to come.  But the worst tyrant of them all is sin.  Sin is a tyrant.  A deceitful, evil, and destructive dictator.  It promises much--but as with all other lesser tyrants--it delivers instead only hardship and burden.  Most give little thought to sin, but that doesn’t mean it doesn’t exist.  You can think and behave as if there is no God, but that doesn’t alter the reality of His existence.  Men can do evil, invent evil, and celebrate evil (Cf. Romans 1:28-32), but there is a God who reigns over all and who will have the final say on such matters (Cf. 2 Thessalonians 1:8-9).  We are all born sinners (Cf. Romans 3:23, 5:12).  And we are helpless in ourselves to do anything to rectify the problem (Cf. Ephesians 2:1-3).  

Jesus Christ made His own declaration of independence from the cross.  While suffering there, for sins not His own, He declare “it is finished” (John 19:30).  He “suffered once for sins, the righteous for the unrighteous, that he might bring us to God” (1 Peter 3:18).  On the basis of His finished work a repentant sinner, in a salvation to the uttermost (Cf. Hebrews 7:25), is set free from the penalty and power of sin (Cf. Romans 5:1; 6:7). 

Herein lies true freedom.  Not the freedom to do whatever you want, for many of the things we “want” to do only cause us trouble.  True freedom is the freedom to do what we “ought” to do--that which we were created to do.  We were created to know and love and worship our Creator.  Nothing in life can substitute when it comes to satisfying the longing that exists deep down in our hearts to be restored to Him.  As St. Augustine put it: “Thou hast made us for Thyself, O Lord, and our heart is restless until it finds its rest in Thee.”  It is only when we find our rest in Him that we enjoy the true freedom of which Jesus spoke (Cf. John 8:32, “And you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free”; John 8:36, “So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed”).

So I will celebrate Independence Day today, but my devoted allegiance in love is to the One who died to make me “free indeed”.  I will remember the sacrifice of the patriots who suffered to bring freedom to our land, but my heart has a greater investment in that glorious cross through which true freedom was made possible for all who believe, no matter when they have lived or where.

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