True Freedom: Reflecting on Independence Day and the Liberating Truth of Jesus
John 8: 31-36

Yesterday, we celebrated Independence Day. I have come to know that it’s a special occasion for Americans, as it symbolizes the ideals of freedom, equality, and opportunity. It represents the spirit of a nation that was founded on the principles of individual rights and self-governance. We cherish the freedom of religion, the freedom of speech, and the freedom to pursue our dreams and aspirations. These freedoms are deeply ingrained in the American identity and are the core to the American Dream.

However, as we reflect on the concept of freedom, we must acknowledge that true freedom extends beyond external circumstances and goes deeper into the core of our being. Jesus Christ, in the book of John 8:36, proclaimed, “So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed.” This profound statement invites us to consider a different dimension of freedom—one that transcends earthly limitations and grants us liberation on a spiritual level.

Jesus spoke these words to the Jews of his time, who took pride in their physical freedom, just as many of us are proud to be Americans. They believed they had never been slaves to anyone, but Jesus challenged them by stating, “Very truly I tell you, everyone who sins is a slave to sin.” In doing so, he revealed that the true master in our lives is not a foreign oppressor but rather the entanglement of sin itself. When we fall into the bondage of sin, we become slaves to its destructive power.

Consider the various forms of bondage that can plague our lives—greed, bitterness, addictions, and unhealthy desires. These vices hold us captive, inhibiting our ability to live in true freedom. Jesus’ message confronts the notion that indulging in our own desires and pursuing self-gratification leads to liberation. In fact, the more we chase after our own desires, the more enslaved we become.

In the United States, we often proclaim, “It’s a free country, so I can do whatever I want!” This sentiment echoes the deception that began in the Garden of Eden when the serpent tempted Eve, saying that by disobeying God and pursuing her own desires, she would be truly free and possess the knowledge of good and evil. But the truth is that yielding to our every whim only deepens our enslavement to sin.

True freedom, according to Jesus, is found in embracing his teachings and living by the truth he offers. He said, “If you hold to my teaching, you are really my disciples. Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.” Genuine freedom does not come from political systems, countries, or the pursuit of personal desires. It comes from knowing and embracing the truth that Jesus brought to the world.

The devil’s lie perpetuates the misconception that freedom is the ability to do whatever we please. Yet, genuine freedom is not found in the unrestrained pursuit of our own desires. Rather, it is found in placing our trust in Jesus and what he accomplished for us through his death and resurrection. By accepting the redemption and forgiveness he offers, we can experience true freedom—freedom from the guilt and power of sin, freedom to live an abundant life, and the promise of eternal life with God.

For us Christians, every day is Independence Day in the spiritual sense. Through our relationship with God, we are set free from the bondage of sin and can live a life that is characterized by freedom, joy, and purpose. It is a freedom that empowers us to love one another, serve others selflessly, and live in harmony with God’s will.

As we celebrate the birth of our nation, let us not forget the ultimate source of our freedom. We must express our gratitude to Jesus Christ for the freedoms we enjoy. It is through His grace and sacrifice that we can truly experience the freedom that surpasses all earthly limitations. As we gather with family and friends, may we reflect on the blessings we have received and strive to live as “One nation under God,” embracing the truth that sets us free.  May it be so, Lord, Amen.





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