True Independence Day

Freedom Isn’t Free!

Freedom does not come cheap. Many soldiers, slaves, and common people fought to win our freedom. Many knew that they would not taste freedom for themselves but they still gave their lives as a sacrifice to enable others to be free.

Monuments honor these patriots, holidays remember them and riveting stories recall the

ultimate price they paid for our freedom!

But imagine their shock if they knew that although they gave their lives for our freedom, we decided to continue living under the laws of the old regime? They would be astonished! Yet, this happens every day with people we know—perhaps even you!

There is a tyrant that is far more invasive than one country ruling over another. It is far more
personal. It destroys lives and families. Its grip is so mighty that there is nothing we can do to free ourselves from it.

What is this tormenter? Try going one day without being judgmental, or lusting, or becoming angry or being selfish. Never again say a wrong word, instead always give yourself completely to help others. Can any of us do this?

No! None of us are able to truly master our own hearts. We are all held in bondage to this tyrant that pervades our thoughts, actions and desires. This tyrant is called sin—and we all have committed it!

Romans 3:23 proves this when it says: “For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.”* Sin is anything contrary to God’s will. God has created us. He has told us how to live. Yet, we reject God’s standards and sin against Him. Sin is not merely being occasionally bad, it is rebellion directed against our gracious Lord.

One definition of sin is “to miss the mark.” Imagine an archery target. To shoot perfectly
would be to always hit the target dead-center. The bull's-eye is precise. Anything off the dead-center is not a true, perfect shot. Although many skilled archers can hit nickels and

split arrows, no one can shoot perfectly every time.

Even the best archers occasionally miss. Sin is like that. Every situation that you are in—each thought that you think—is like shooting at that bull’s-eye. Throughout the long course of
our lives none of us can hit perfection every time.

The result is that we have all sinned and do so often—and we fall short of the glory of God.

But doesn’t God know we can’t do everything perfectly? Why does He still judge us for “being human”? The answer lies in God’s holiness. God is perfectly pure and holy. His holiness is
unchanging. Psalm 5:4 says, “No evil dwells with you. The boastful shall not stand before your eyes.” God’s holiness consumes sin. Thus, no sinner can stand before a holy God.

But none of us are perfectly perfect! Did you know that just one single sin is enough to make us unqualified to be with God in heaven? Just one sin? Can’t He allow a few sins in? No—any sin is a sin against God and brings about our spiritual death and future punishment in hell.

If a soldier in battle is shot in the heart, he dies. Shooting him with hundreds more bullets does not make him any more dead. One shot was all it took. Sin is like that bullet. James 2:10 says, “For whoever keeps the whole law and yet stumbles in one point, he has become guilty of all.” Just one sin results in our complete spiritual death. Any additional sins we commit do not make us more spiritually dead. We are like that dead soldier, without life. That is why Ephesians 2:1 describes us as being “dead in our trespasses and sins.” In addition to being dead, we are also separated from God. Isaiah 59:2 says, “For your sins have made a separation between you and your God.” We are unable to do anything to make ourselves spiritually alive. We are utterly helpless. No amount of good works or church-going can give life to our spirit.

Not only are we spiritually dead and separated from God but His holy justice requires that we suffer the penalty for our sins. In our country, there are laws about crime. If we commit a crime, the penalty is determined by more than just the degree of the crime; but
also by
what or who has been harmed.

For example, if we smash a rock in anger we generally suffer nothing. But if we kill a man in
anger, we go to jail because a man is more valuable than a rock. Likewise, God is perfect and infinitely valuable. If we disobey His laws, we have harmed His infinite glory and marred His perfect plan.

Since we sin against an infinite God, our penalty is even greater because of who we have harmed. Each sin we commit demands an infinite punishment no matter how “good” we may or may not be. Imagine a murderer pleading to a judge, “Let me go— just look at all of the people that I have not killed!” Real justice is still required. Likewise, with God, a “good” life cannot balance out even one single sin. Because of sin, we owe God an infinite debt of punishment. Since God, whom we have harmed, has infinite value, we must pay with infinite time in an eternal Hell

Is There Any Hope?

There are two ways to attempt to pay off an infinite debt or punishment. One way is to
make a payment that is infinite in quantity. The only thing that human beings have that is infinite is our time. So if we attempt to pay off sin’s debt it requires an eternity in Hell.

The only other way to pay an infinite debt is to offer something that is infinite in perfection. The only One who is perfect and infinite is God. Therefore, because of His love towards us, God sent His son Jesus Christ to offer Himself as the infinite and sinless payment for our sins. 2 Corinthians 5:21 says, “He made Him who knew no sin to be sin on our behalf, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.” Because of Jesus Christ’s death on the cross and His resurrection, the enemy is conquered—sin is defeated! Those who are spiritually dead can be made alive! Jesus Christ has made us free indeed! This freedom only comes through faith in Jesus Christ’s sacrificial death on our behalf.

The Bible God’s Word says in Eph 2:8 says, “For it is by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God; not as the result of works, so that no one may boast.” Having faith means believing what the Bible says about you, your sin and trusting only in Christ's death on the cross to satisfy God’s justice.

To receive this gift, confess to God that He is holy and that you stand before Him a guilty, lost and helpless sinner. In sincere repentance, ask Christ to save you and take His rightful place as the Lord of your entire life and enable you to live for Him.

There is hope indeed! Romans 10:9 promises, “If you confess with your mouth Jesus as Lord, and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you shall be saved.”

Those who trust Christ for their salvation are children of God. The Bible says, “But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, even to those who believe in His name.”—John 1:12. If this is true of you, then get to know your Lord through prayer, the faithful study of His Word and involvement in a good Bible teaching church so that God can use you for His glory and your joy!

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