In 1993, I spent the 4th of July in Mogadishu, Somalia. The Army flew in a band to play a show, and we had steaks and ice cream and as good a time as could be had given the conditions.
Yet the whole time we celebrated freedom was the constant reminder of the price for that freedom. Our freedom only extended as far as the walls of our compound, where guards stood watch in towers constantly. Our freedom to enjoy a little break was only because others were willing to stand, literally, in the wall.
That day really had an impact on me, vividly reminding me that when we celebrate freedom, it comes at a price.
Yet more important than our freedom in this land is the freedom that Christ offers us.
The enemy we face, ultimately, is sin- missing God’s mark, failing to meet His perfect Holiness and Righteousness. The sin in our life separates us from fellowship with God here on this earth, and if not resolved, separates us from Him eternally in Hell.
Yet God in His infinite mercy and compassion sent Jesus Christ to pay the penalty for our sin. Just like those soldiers who guarded the wall that day so I could enjoy a steak and some music made a sacrifice, Christ sacrificed Himself on the Cross to die for our sins so we would not have to. All we have to do is confess our sins, and ask Jesus to be Lord of our lives. Doing so puts us in side His “compound”, safe from the penalty of sin.
We are told this in quite plain language in Romans 8: 1-2.
1 Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus, 2 because through Christ Jesus the law of the Spirit of life set me free from the law of sin and death.
That day in Somalia, my freedom was purchased by someone else- other soldiers who manned the towers and the guns, to make sure I was safe. And just as I did nothing that day to assure my freedom from attack, our freedom from sin does not come by our work, but only by the work of Christ Jesus on the Cross.
To all my fellow Americans, Happy 4th of July. Enjoy this wonderful day we celebrate our freedom. Never forget the brave ones who have stood and still stand in the wall, both here domestically and abroad, to preserve our freedom.
But more importantly, never forget the freedom that Christ has purchased us through His death and resurrection. If you have accepted Jesus as your Lord and Savior, I celebrate with you in the freedom from the penalty of sin and death that has been purchased for us.
If you haven’t accepted Jesus as your Lord and Savior, I urge you to find out what it means to do so by reading this page. The decision to accept the freedom that Christ offers is the single most important decision of your life.
Happy birthday, America. Let freedom ring!