Weekly devotional

Independence Day has been a federal holiday in the United States since 1941. For many, it is their favorite holiday of the year. It is a celebration of our heritage and freedom (independence) from Great Britain, which involves fireworks, hamburgers, hot dogs, parades and many other fun events. Its roots stem from July 4, 1776, when delegates from each of the thirteen colonies signed the Declaration of Independence. Signing that document meant that their former lives were behind them; there was no turning back. In the months and years to follow, many people gave their lives in pursuit of this cause. Freedom did not come free!

Similarly, the freedom that has been offered to all people also comes with a cost. Such liberation involves being set free from sin, of which the “wages” thereof is “death” (Romans 6:23). The ultimate price and sacrifice that was made for this offer of freedom was Christ himself, dying and shedding his blood on the cross for all time (6:10). Without that debt being paid, which was our debt and not his, there could be no independence from the grasp of sin. There is however another price that each person must pay if they are going to receive Christ’s invitation to freedom. That price involves dying to sin the way that Christ died for sin, in the waters of baptism. The Apostle Paul speaks to this in saying “Therefore we have been buried with Him through baptism into death, so that as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, so we too might walk in newness of life” (6:4). One who believes in Christ, repents, and is baptized (buried in water), dies to sin (6:2). Lastly, Paul says that the old person (pre-baptism) has been crucified with Christ (in baptism), so that our sinful self would be done away with, no longer enslaved to sin, because the one who has died (been baptized) “has been freed from sin” (6:6-7).

Freedom comes with a price. It was true regarding our independence as a country, and it is certainly true concerning our freedom from sin. Christ paid the ultimate price that we could never pay. However, God expects us to sign the document, our Declaration of Independence, by dying to sin in baptism and receiving the gift of “eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord” (6:23). Once this is done, there should be no turning back, but only forward to the glory that awaits us. When was your Independence Day?