The 4th of July is one of my favorite holidays, because of the Christian reminders that come with it.
1. The 4th of of July can remind us that our nation was founded by men who recognized God was their Creator.
The 4th of July celebrates the adopting of the Declaration of Independence by Congress on July 4, 1776. The document begins with Thomas Jefferson’s famous words:
“We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of happiness.”
There’s quite a bit to notice from this one sentence:
- The words, “all men are CREATED equal” reveal Thomas Jefferson did not believe in evolution.
- Thomas Jefferson believed men have a “Creator.”
- With the words, “endowed by their Creator” Thomas Jefferson gave credit to God for the “Rights” we have. He called them “unalienable” because he knew they were given by God and couldn’t be taken away.
Thomas Jefferson saw the authority for our freedom and liberty coming from God Himself.
2. The 4th of July can remind us of our true freedom.
I’m thankful for independence from Great Britain. But I’m more thankful for the greater independence Jesus has given us from the Law:
- Romans 10:4—Christ is the end of the law for righteousness to everyone who believes.
- Galatians 3:24-25—Therefore the law was our tutor to bring us to Christ, that we might be justified by faith. But after faith has come, we are no longer under a tutor.
Our independence from the Law motivated Martin Luther to take a stand for the Gospel. The freedom we have as Americans is great, but the infinitely greater freedom we have is from having to be saved by works.
3. The 4th of July can remind us of our dual-citizenship.
I’m thankful for my American citizenship, but I’m even more thankful for my citizenship in heaven:
- Ephesians 2:19—So then you are no longer strangers and aliens, but you are fellow citizens with the saints and members of the household of God.
- Philippians 3:19—But our citizenship is in heaven, and from it we await a Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ
- Hebrews 11:16—But as it is, [the heroes of the faith] desire a better country, that is, a heavenly one. Therefore God is not ashamed to be called their God, for he has prepared for them a city.
4. The 4th of July can remind us of the freedom we’re supposed to forfeit.
Paul said Christians should see themselves as slaves:
1 Corinthians 6:19-20—Do you not know that you are not your own? You were bought at a price; therefore, glorify God in your body and in your spirit, which are God’s.
In becoming Christians we’ve chosen to give up our freedom to live for Christ (see also Romans 6:6, 1 Corinthians 7:22, Ephesians 6:6). This entails giving up some of our freedoms for our brothers and sisters in Christ:
- Romans 14:21—It is good neither to eat meat nor drink wine nor do anything by which your brother stumbles or is offended or is made weak.
- 1 Corinthians 8:13—Therefore, if food makes my brother stumble, I will never again eat meat, lest I make my brother stumble.
5. The 4th of July can remind us of the sacrifices that were made for our freedom.
We think about the sacrifices countless soldiers who have lost their lives, and I don’t want to minimize their sacrifices remotely. Without their bravery we wouldn’t have many of the blessings we enjoy today.
But we should think about the greatest sacrifice that was made for our freedom. There is a common saying: “Freedom isn’t free.” To enjoy the freedom we have in our country, people had to pay for it. Likewise, someone had to pay for the freedoms we enjoy from the Law and the punishment our sins deserve:
Philippians 2:6-8 [Jesus] being in the form of God, did not consider it robbery to be equal with God, but made Himself of no reputation, taking the form of a bondservant, and coming in the likeness of men. And being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself and became obedient to the point of death, even the death of the cross.
In John 10:18 [Jesus said], “No one takes [My life] from Me, but I lay it down of Myself.” Jesus was saying, “I have the freedom to keep my life, but I’m willing to give it up for you.”
As Christians we enjoy many wonderful freedoms. Let’s be reminded of them each 4th of July, recognizing it’s only because of Jesus’ willingness to give up His freedom for us.
- What else makes you thankful on the 4th of July?
- Can you think of some other Christian reminders associated with this holiday?
- What other freedoms do you have because of Christ?