Farmville Enterprise July 4, 2018

Today in the United States we celebrate the adoption of our Declaration of Independence. On July 4, 1776 the Continental Congress declared that the 13 colonies were free from being part of the British Empire. Many of the original colonists fled religious persecution in hopes that they could practice their faith in freedom in the New World. According to The Thomas Jefferson Center, “The Founding Fathers felt that religious freedom was paramount to the functioning of a moral free society. Early Americans entwined views of liberty along with religious beliefs that one could not separate from the other. Religion was an essential part of everyday life in the newly formed United States. Though the Founding Fathers felt it was important to separate church and state it was essential that religious morals prevailed in all government dealings. George Washington believed that religion and morality were the pillars of society and provided the greatest possibility for human happiness. The Founders believed, because of our disposition and habits, that religion and morality were essential elements of political prosperity.”

The Bible is replete with the theme of spiritual freedom.

“To the Jews who had believed him, Jesus 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.’”  “So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed.” (John 8:31-32, 36) In the apostle Paul’s letters to the churches at Rome and Galatia he spells out how each Christian was formerly in bondage to sin but was set free from the law of sin and death in Christ.

“But thanks be to God that, though you used to be slaves to sin, you have come to obey from your heart the pattern of teaching that has now claimed your allegiance. You have been set free from sin and have become slaves to righteousness. I am using an example from everyday life because of your human limitations. Just as you used to offer yourselves as slaves to impurity and to ever-increasing wickedness, so now offer yourselves as slaves to righteousness leading to holiness. When you were slaves to sin, you were free from the control of righteousness. What benefit did you reap at that time from the things you are now ashamed of? Those things result in death!  But now that you have been set free from sin and have become slaves of God, the benefit you reap leads to holiness, and the result is eternal life. For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.” (Romans 6:17-23)

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. For what the law was powerless to do because it was weakened by the flesh, God did by sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh to be a sin offering. And so he condemned sin in the flesh, in order that the righteous requirement of the law might be fully met in us, who do not live according to the flesh but according to the Spirit.” (Romans 8:1-4)

“It is for freedom that Christ has set us free. Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery.” (Galatians 5:1)

You, my brothers and sisters, were called to be free. But do not use your freedom to indulge the flesh; rather, serve one another humbly in love.” (Galatians 5:13)

Happy Independence Day.

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