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What Price Freedom?
What Price Freedom?
As we observed Independence Day yesterday, I'd like to offer a brief perspective on this great nation and a reminder of the heavy price paid for the freedoms we enjoy.
Two of my favorite authors provide quotations that focus on this paradox of the strength that comes from great sacrifice, tragedy, and pain. The first is from Maya Angelou: "History, despite its wrenching pain, cannot be unlived but, if faced with courage, need not be lived again." The other comes from Ernest Hemingway: "Life breaks all of us, but some of us are strong in the broken places."
In the 1600s, Americans fought the elements to survive. During the 1700s, Americans fought the British for our independence. In the 1800s, Americans fought one another over the moral issue of slavery. And during the 1900s, Americans fought international powers to protect freedom in the world, and the struggles continue today in Iraq, Afghanistan, and in other places in the Middle East.
The nation has begun to count the cost of its freedom, especially in light of 9/11 when the United States was villanously attacked by a group of terrorists under the leadership of Osama Bin Laden. We have grown stronger and wiser as we discovered untapped depth in those old-fashioned, basic American values of freedom, peacemaking, and compassion for humanity.
Just as we reflect upon our freedom as a nation, what about our spiritual freedom in Christ Jesus. Do we consider the tremendous price that Christ paid for everyone of us? John 3:16 states, “For God so loved the world, that he gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” Have we so quickly forgotten how Jesus Christ suffered in pain and agony, was spat upon, bled, and died for each one of us? Our founding fathers built this nation upon the premise that we should be able to worship God without fear.
Listen to the words of the hymns that tell us:
"Life is filled with swift transitions.
Think of that crucifixion scene nearly two thousand years ago. In Luke 23:34 we read, “Then said Jesus, Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do.” Without His death on the cross and His resurrection from the grave, you and I would have NO hope of everlasting life in heaven. Jesus did give us hope through obedience to the gospel. In John 17:17 we read, “Thy word is truth.” Also in John 8:32 we read, “And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.” Only in the Word of God can we hope to find the truth. It is not based upon the opinions or traditions of man, but only upon the Word of God. In Romans 6:3-6 we read, “Know ye not, that so many of us as were baptized into Jesus Christ were baptized into his death? Therefore we are buried with him by baptism into death: that like as Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life. For if we have been planted together in the likeness of his death, we shall be also in the likeness of his resurrection: Knowing this, that our old man is crucified with him, that the body of sin might be destroyed, that henceforth we should not serve sin.”
We too often take for granted the spiritual freedom that we enjoy today. Just as brave American men and women have shed their blood to defend and preserve a way of life that we hold most dear, Jesus shed His precious blood that you and I, through obedience to the gospel, might have eternal life. So I ask you, “What price freedom?”
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