Happy fourth of July!!

For this Independence Day, I considered writing a post, “The Truth About the Fourth of July,” in which I illuminated all our misconceptions and expounded on true historical facts of the date.  (Being a scholar of history, this seemed to me an appropriate approach to the holiday.)

Yet, as I thought about it, one idea came to stand out most in my mind:  The idea of independence.

Independence.   Freedom from dictatorship.  Freedom from tyranny.  Freedom to pursue our own ends.  Freedom to speak.  Freedom to live.

These and many more freedoms are ingrained parts of the American psyche.

Yet there is another nation which I wish to focus on: the nation of God.

For in this kingdom, there is, too, freedom.  As is promised, “‘If the Son sets you free, you will be free, indeed'” (John 8:36).  What are we free from?  “Through Christ Jesus the law of the Spirit of life set [us] free from the law of sin and death” (Romans 8:2).

Brothers and Sisters, once we were bound in “a hopeless place,” to quote Rihanna.  We were sold in bondage to sin and death, and there was nothing we could do but keep sinning, keep heading toward eternal death, with souls that never knew life.

Then, in a moment of grace, God enabled us to choose between death or life.  By His love, we who are called Christ-followers chose life, and He “adopted [us] as His sons through Jesus Christ, in accordance with His pleasure and will” (Ephesians 1:5).  Now, “in His great mercy He has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, and into an inheritance that can never perish, spoil, or fade” (1 Peter 1:3-4).

“Consequently, [we] are no longer foreigners and aliens, but fellow citizens with God’s people and members of God’s household” (Ephesians 2:19).

We are citizens of a truly free nation, one not burdened by taxes and corrupt leaders.  We are free, indeed.  We are the children of God.

This Fourth of July, join me in celebrating the day you and I chose to become citizens of God’s kingdom.  As we give thanks for a nation in which we can worship freely, let us also rejoice in our true nation–for in this we join the ancients, who “admitted that they were aliens and strangers on earth….Instead, they were longing for a better country–a heavenly one.  Therefore God is not ashamed to be called their God, for He has prepared a city for them” (Hebrews 11:13, 16).

I’ve wandered so aimless, life filled with sin.
I wouldn’t let my dear Savior in.
Then Jesus came like a stranger in the night–
Praise the Lord, I saw the light!

I saw the light, I saw the light!
No more darkness, no more night!
Now I’m so happy, no sorrow in sight.
Praise the Lord, I saw the light !

I’ve walked in darkness, clouds covered me,
I had no idea where the way out could be.
Then came the sunrise and rolled back the night–
Praise the Lord, I saw the light!

Just like a blind man, I wandered alone.
Worries and fear I claimed for my own.
Then like a blind man who God gave back his sight–
Praise the Lord, I saw the light!

When death takes me down and I breath here no more,
My anthem will sound on that eternal shore
When I join with the angels in heaven on high,
Singing “Praise the Lord, I saw the light”!

~The David Crowder Band, “I Saw the Light”

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