Fifty-six men signed the Declaration of Independence on July 4, 1776. Of the 56 men, five were captured by the British and tortured before they died. Twelve had their homes ransacked and burned. Two lost their sons in the Revolutionary Army. Another had two sons captured. Nine of the 56 fought and died from wounds or hardships of the war. One was a wealthy plantation owner and trader who watched his ships sunk by the British. He sold his home to pay his debts and died in poverty. One of their homes was overrun with British soldiers who used his home as a headquarters. While he was still inside he got word to Washington to fire on his home. He died with nothing left.
We are all thankful for these 56 men who were willing to take a stand and sign the Declaration of Independence. We owe our freedom in America today to men who were willing to take a stand and make sacrifices. The freedom that we have in America is not and never has been free. It has been paid for time and time again with the cost of the human live who have died to protect our freedom. Each time our freedom is challenged brave men and women have been willing to stand, fight, and die so that we might keep our freedom. People have given their lives. Mothers have given their sons. Wives have given their husbands all to defend and protect our freedom.
Why is freedom so important and valuable to us? What is it about freedom that makes us willing to give anything to keep it? We like knowing that we are free to choose what we want to do and how we want to live. We like knowing that no one can come and force us to work for them and that we can leave any time we want. We like knowing that we can worship the God of heaven without someone coming in and forcing us to quit or to worship their God. The freedom we have in America is a very important freedom.
Yet the freedom we have in America is of very little importance when compared to the freedom we have in Christ (Galatians 5:1; 13). Outside of Christ, we have no choice but to serve sin. Many people view this as freedom without even realizing that they are servants to their sin. The alcoholic is servant to the bottle. The thief is servant to stealing. The adulterer is servant to his lusts. While many view themselves as free because they can do whatever they want, what they don’t realize is that they are submitting themselves to eternal slavery in the end. The reality is, we have two choices. We can be a servant to sin or a servant to Christ and righteousness (Romans 6:17-18). We can choose to submit ourselves to Christ now and be rewarded with an eternity in heaven, or we can serve sin now and pay for our sins for an eternity in hell. The freedom that is found in Christ is not a temporary freedom; it is a freedom from sin that will last for an eternity when we remain faithful to Him. So, why is freedom in Christ so much more important than our freedom in America? Freedom in Christ frees us from a stronger oppressor. Freedom in Christ frees us when no one else can. Freedom in Christ will last longer.
Yet this freedom was not free. All freedom comes at a cost and there is no exception to the freedom we have in Christ. This freedom was bought and paid for by the blood of Christ (Hebrews 9:14). Christ’s death on the cross paid the price for our freedom. He was oppressed, afflicted, slaughtered, and cut off for our iniquities, transgressions, and sins (Isaiah 53). Yet to have this freedom, we must be in Christ and the only way into Christ is through baptism (Galatians 3:26-27). While we remain in Christ and walking in the light, His blood continually pays the price for our sins (1 John 1:7-9).
I am thankful for the freedom we have in America and the price that has been paid for that freedom. Yet even if I lose that freedom, the freedom that I have in Christ cannot be taken away from me! (Romans 8:31-39).