Written by BCC Counselor Theron St. John
I can remember celebrating Independence Day as a child. Memories remind me of time spent with family and going to the local parade. Each Fourth of July ended with watching fireworks fly through the night sky. That was the way we celebrated our freedom on the holiday.
Yet, it wasn’t until I got older, I understood the significance of celebrating freedom. This realization did not come from reading the Declaration of Independence; it came from reading the Word of God.
The Need to Be Set Free
There are many people who celebrate Independence Day in America and are not truly free. They may be able to exercise their rights as US citizens, but they are enslaved to their own sin. Scripture points out this reality (John 8:34; Romans 6:16-18).
A man can be enslaved to his lusts as his eyes cannot turn away from the sight of pornography he has grown accustomed to viewing. A woman may be enslaved to her speech as her mouth spreads gossip once again. A teen could be enslaved to the fear of man, always wondering what classmates think about them.
Freedom from the enslavement of sin cannot come from the passing of a law or from exercising one’s constitutional rights. Freedom from the enslavement of sin comes through knowing and abiding in the truth. As Jesus said, “the truth will set you free” (John 8:32).
The Truth That Sets Us Free
Jesus doesn’t leave us wondering what He means by truth. He says in John 8:36, “So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed.” A few chapters later He adds, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me” (John 14:6). Truth is not merely found in the person and work of Jesus Christ; truth is the person and work of Jesus Christ.
Only through a relationship with Jesus Christ can we be set free from slavery to sin. Jesus came to pay the penalty of sin we owed. Because of His death and resurrection, we can find salvation in Christ through repenting of our sins and placing our faith in the Son of God.
While we are set free from the penalty of sin in salvation, this does not mean we will not struggle with sin. We all will still have battles with sin we need to fight. That is where Jesus again set us free. As He nears His death on the cross, He prays for believers, “Sanctify them in the truth; your word is truth” (John 17:17).
Jesus prays that His followers may grow in the truth and defines the truth as the Word of God. As those set free from the penalty of sin, we also are set free from the power of sin. We no longer are slaves to sin but have the power to be slaves of righteousness (Romans 6:21-22). The way we battle and overcome sin is by abiding in our relationship with Christ as we know and live out God’s Word.
This Independence Day, may we celebrate the earthly freedoms our country offers us, but let us not forget where true and eternal freedom comes from.
What truly sets us free is salvation in Jesus Christ and sanctification through His Word.