The Fourth of July and Easter
Have you ever considered the similarities between July 4 and Easter? No? Well, neither had I until this morning at breakfast when I was presented with the fruits of a writing assignment my wife had given to our ninth grade daughter, Rebecca.
Becca began by observing that, at first glance, one would not think the 4th of July and Easter have anything in common. She went on, however, to express her confidence that, as the reader looked deeper, he/she would see the similarities unfold. Through her essay, one was reminded that we celebrate our Independence Day as a reminder of the freedom we enjoy—freedom from the bondage of foreign domination. She said:
. . . (another) reason we celebrate the 4th of July is because we are remembering all the lives that have been sacrificed . . . to give us freedom and to ensure it. Without those deaths, we would not be the . . . nation we are today. What a great gift they gave us through . . . death.
When thinking about the reason we celebrate Easter, the first thing that comes to mind is the freedom Christ gave us through His death, burial, and finally, His resurrection. Without Christ's ultimate sacrifice, we should all be slaves to sin, but because of His atonement on the cross, we can all receive freedom from the bondage of sin. Christ's death is the ultimate gift that we can ever receive. Even though both these holidays focus on our freedom, the big difference between them is that one freedom will pass away, but the other will last forever.
Now, I may just be a proud dad, but the thoughts from Becca's heart brought tears to my eyes. We are such a blessed nation, but, more importantly, we are such a blessed people—those who have come to God through the gift that was purchased by Christ's death on the Cross!
While many of us recognize that the blood-purchased freedoms we enjoy in our nation are slipping away, do we recognize the same loss of freedom that is occurring in God's blood-purchased church? Beloved, have we noticed that our freedom from the law is increasingly becoming licentiousness. Have we noticed how our worship of God often becomes focused on what He will do for us rather than what he has done for us—on His forgiveness of sin rather than His abhorrence of sin? These questions can reasonably be posed (and must be posed), I believe, because the evidence in the church today is that we have become "light" on sin at the expense of bringing the Light of the world (Jesus) to the world. Is it possible that the growing absence of that Light is due to our increasingly casual stewardship of the word of God?—that we are failing to use our blood-purchased freedom for the purpose God intended? If so, may our Lord encourage us to remember His instructions to the church of Galatia. ". . . ye have been called unto liberty; only use not liberty for an occasion to the flesh . . ." (Galatians 5:13).