Living in Shackles
The grill is heating up, the drinks are cooling down, and temperatures are on the rise. It must be the fourth of July−Independence Day. A day when we Americans celebrate unshackling ourselves from the heavy yoke of Mother England. In hindsight we yoked ourselves much worse than she ever was of a mind to. We are burdened with regulations and taxes and thousands of laws and we have done it to ourselves. Because we failed to throw off all the shackles that imprisoned us.
The motivation for any man under the thumb of his oppressor is freedom. And there is only one true oppressor in this life and that is Sin, with a capital S. You can be removed from any and all outside shackles but you will always be indentured to your Dark Lord, the one who has you tied up in knots. Unless, of course, you achieve independence.
Dependence & Independence
Freedom from sin is the only independence day really worth celebrating. But it’s a misnomer to call such a thing independence because it is actually dependence. It means trading one master for another. We are creatures and will always be owned by someone and it’s just a matter of who we choose to serve, or rather, who chooses to own us.
It has been said that “The price of freedom is eternal vigilance.” John Philpot Curran was perhaps the author of this sentiment: “The condition upon which God hath given liberty to man is eternal vigilance; which condition if he break, servitude is at once the consequence of his crime and the punishment of his guilt.” He was talking about servitude from above but more valid would be its application to servitude from within.
We possess more than enough rope formed from the strands of our DNA to hang ourselves. We, like our father Adam, will choose wrongly if given the choice. Every time. There is no hope for us to escape a life of misery and an eternity of horror. We have not been eternally vigilant, not in the least. So we had to have an independence day. We had to have a revolution and that revolution had to have a hero.
A Bit of Latin
Theologians have stated it thusly about the work of our Hero: we were once non posse non picare (not able not to sin) but now are posse non picare (able not to sin). The work of Jesus on our behalf has moved us from a state of permanent slavery to one of hope and life outside the bonds. His burden is easy and His yoke is light. And the day will come when all who have been called out of darkness into His marvelous light will be non posse picare (not able to sin). Not able to sin. Imagine that, what a day that will be!
Years ago I sat on Laurence Windham’s porch while a group of us celebrated Memorial Day. He reinterpreted that holiday for me then and forever more. He said that while it is a very good thing to stop and honor the memory of the men who died in service to the freedom of our country it is perhaps a more natural and necessary act to honor those who died in service to our King. We are but temporary members of the United States but permanent members of the Kingdom of Jesus Christ.
In that vein, I suggest that as we eat our hot dogs and wave our flags on Saturday, that we of the Kingdom, take a moment to reflect on what true independence means and the sacrifice that it cost one good Man on behalf of so many, here in America, but also in China, in Russia, in Canada, in Myanmar, in Iran. Both now and into eternity will our freedom ring.