4th of July - 2022 | Articles | GracePoint Church | Lodi

4th of July - 2022

    July 04, 2022 by Kyle Shallcross
    If there is anything we yearn to protect as human beings it is our independence, and in the United States freedom is often understood to be of the utmost value, often protected to the point of sacrificing our own lives. It is no coincidence that Patrick Henry emphatically claimed “Give me liberty, or give me death!” at the Second Virginia Convention which in turn would allude our nation into a Revolution with the British Empire.
     
    Don’t get me wrong! I too, like many of my fellow Americans, enjoy the festivities and traditions associated with our nation’s birthday on the 4th of July. This truly is my favorite holiday. There is just something about this day that finds a way to remind us amidst all the strife and struggle we may face, our common themes of freedom, patriotism, and above all else being American seem to take center stage on this holiday. Granted we live in a time where these values seem to be fleeting rather than binding, and the urgency to preserve freedom has become a secondary cause. Even more so, the tapestry that once stitched America together has become seemingly unraveled to a point where even the most skilled weaver would have obvious difficulty in sewing it back in order.
     
    So, as we now reach the 246th year birthday of our nation the question that remains is where do we go from here? I think the answer is quite simple, if we continue to lean on the guidance of previous wisdom, we can restore that which we seek to protect.
     
    Think of Benjamin Franklin who instrumentally etched our nation into its history; where at the conclusion of the Constitutional Convention was asked by awaiting citizens what form of government was created, and his response was “A republic, if you can keep it.” Likewise, let us not forget our 40th president, Ronald Reagan, who was known to have said that “Freedom is never more than a generation away from extinction” in his efforts to rekindle Morning in America.
     
    No matter the origin of sagacious wisdom or patriotic oration, the greatest gift we possess as Americans is our liberty and freedom from tyranny, and though this is edified on the 4th of July it is only minuscule to the freedom we have in Christ. In Galatians 5:1 Paul reaffirms us that “It is for freedom that Christ has set us free. Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery.” To think that we are now no longer are identified by our sinful bodies but rather our spiritual identity in Christ is the greatest form of liberation known to all of mankind.
     
    But this too, like our political freedoms, has a cost. Our savior Christ needed to have been brutally sacrificed on the cross to save us from the course of sin, and the freedoms we possess can only exist if we preserve them for others. Paul again in Acts 13:38-39 brings to fruition what Christ’s death on the cross ultimately symbolized, “Therefore, my friends, I want you to know that through Jesus the forgiveness of sins is proclaimed to you. Through him everyone who believes is set free from every sin, a justification you were not able to obtain under the law of Moses”. Only when these two ends are met do we have the ability to truly embody the essence of freedom the way God intended it.
     
    So, on this 246th Independence Day let us celebrate the privilege we have as Americans to enjoy the gifts of freedom and to remember that our freedoms matter, yes, but our freedom in Christ truly embodies our personal liberty. Just as Christ himself made known in John 8:36 asserting, “So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed”, we too need to be well aware of freedom’s presence and seek to always preserve it.
     
    I’ll finish with this piece of wisdom from our 16th president who also understood where our focus should be during our nation’s most devise time period: “All the good from the savior of the world is communicated through this book. All things desirable to man are contained in the Bible.” President Lincoln would ultimately be credited and later memorialized for his efforts in emancipating our nation from slavery, but his commitment to these principles were only accomplished because he first derived freedom from where it began -- the word of God.

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