Independence Day! All across our country Americans gather today for a traditional time of celebration marked with parades, barbecues, family outings, sporting events, and, of course, fireworks. More than two centuries have now passed since we declared independence from the British Empire. That’s enough time that over a quarter of Americans don’t know that fact, according to a recent poll. They are either unsure or didn’t know a war was fought to gain our freedom from British rule.
Similarly, a war was fought to gain our freedom as well, as the apostle Paul reminds us in Galatians 5:1. That reminder was originally issued to the churches in the Roman province of Galatia. A conflict had arisen because some, called Judaizers, sought to impose adherence to the Jewish laws and lifestyles at the time as a condition of salvation as a Christian. Those ignorant of the freedom they gained when they accepted Christ’s completed work on the cross found themselves swayed by the Judaizers to become circumcised. Ouch! That hurt, in more ways the one. They gave up the freedom of grace to live under the tyranny of law. Paul was adamant that to do so was an act of self-sabatoge (Gal 5:1-4). It would be as if those of us that didn’t know we separated from British rule started sending taxes to the UK. As much as we might like that country, it’s the wrong allegiance — and a waste of freedom.
As you celebrate your freedom as an American today, give a thought as well to the freedom in grace you gained through Christ. Then put that freedom into action as the apostle Paul suggests: “You, my brothers, were called to be free. But do not use your freedom to indulge the sinful nature; rather, serve one another in love.” (Gal 5:13)
Your thoughts? In what ways can you serve up some love in your celebrations today?