I begin this article with this fact, and I am no historian. That said, we need to look at our history, for it enables us to acknowledge accomplishments and reflect on the changes we have made and those we still must travel through today. This weekend marks a holiday celebration called Independence Day where we reflect on a moment in our country’s history that finds its roots in a document which states, “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.” Although the founders wrote this document in 1776, slavery did not end until almost 100 years later (1863), initiated in part by President Lincoln and the Emancipation Proclamation. I say this because these two events signify the freedom from oppression and bondage.
“All have sinned and are not good enough for God’s glory…”
The word independence means the fact or state of being independent (Sorry Abe). I believe the way our forefathers used the word in the Declaration of Independence is not subject to others’ control. FREEDOM! The freedoms that they fought for in the past we still fight today, but it cannot compare with the freedom that we find in Christ. You see, ALL have been slaves to sin. Nothing, not skin color, economic prosperity, poverty, or any other category of life, exempts someone from this reality. Through the Old Law, God taught us that we are incapable of freeing ourselves from this bondage; that is, our independence would be dependent upon Him. So that Old Law became “our tutor to bring us to Christ, that we might be justified by faith” (Galatians 3:24). God demonstrates His righteousness through the giving of His Son, “that He might be just and the justifier of the one who has faith in Jesus” (Romans 3:26). God made it possible for sinful man to proclaim freedom.
Freedom is not a constant. Paul would encourage the saints in Galatia, “Stand fast therefore in the liberty by which Christ has made us free, and do not be entangled again with a yoke of bondage” (Galatians 5:1). The Judaizers were enticing the Galatians to depend on the Old Law instead of the completed work of Christ, and in doing so, they would forfeit their freedom in Christ. The truth of the matter, we are all slaves to something. We read, “Do you not know that to whom you present yourselves, slaves, to obey, you are that one’s slave whom you obey, whether of sin leading to death, or to obedience leading to righteousness?” (Romans 6:16). For those who have come to understand this truth and have chosen to put their trust in Christ, we have this confidence, “But now having been set free from sin, and having become slaves of God, you have your fruit to holiness, and the end, everlasting life” (Romans 6:22).
I find it ironic to realize that the independence that is most important to humanity is that he is dependent upon God to find everlasting freedom. No war can achieve it, and no protest will reveal it. It is through the proclamation of the gospel of Christ. It is in Him, and through Him only can mankind find the real freedom he needs most. Although not intended to be used in this sort of subject matter, I think the words ring loud and clear, “Free at last! Free at last! Thank God Almighty, we are free at last!”