On July 2, 1776, the Second Continental Congress voted to approve a resolution for the independence of the 13 colonies from Great Britain. A day later, John Adams wrote to his wife Abigail:
“The second day of July, 1776, will be the most memorable epoch in the history of America. I am apt to believe that it will be celebrated by succeeding generations as the great anniversary festival. It ought to be commemorated as the day of deliverance, by solemn acts of devotion to God Almighty. It ought to be solemnized with pomp and parade, with shows, games, sports, guns, bells, bonfires, and illuminations, from one end of this continent to the other, from this time forward forever more.”
Then on July 4, Congress approved the official Declaration of Independence. Although Adams wrote the celebrations would be on July 2, I love that he wrote about the need for celebrating with parades, games, sports, guns, and “illuminations.” First, however, he wrote the celebrations should include “solemn acts of devotion to God Almighty.”
Yes, freedom is a gift from God! We’re blessed to be Americans! Let us celebrate and be thankful for the freedoms we have as a nation this Tuesday!
Yet, many of us are still being held captive. In John chapter 8, Jesus addresses the need of another freedom: “Very truly I tell you, everyone who sins is a slave to sin ... you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free ... if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed.”
Several years later, the apostle Paul wrote the eighth chapter of Romans. It begins: “Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus, because through Christ Jesus the law of the Spirit who gives life has set you free from the law of sin and death.”
Yes, in Christ Jesus we’re set free from sin and death! How about we celebrate that freedom, too?
Bruce Henderson is pastor of Airport Road Church of Christ in Carson City.