Freedom is never free.
As Americans are about to celebrate another national birthday, it’s good to think about the nature of freedom. Wrapped around all of our thoughts concerning the Fourth of July are, I hope, thoughts concerning the price that untold thousands of men and women have paid to obtain and perpetuate the freedom we enjoy in this country.
If you’ve heard the late Paul Harvey’s famous account of the very real price that the founding fathers of this nation paid simply by signing their names to the Declaration of Independence, you know what a costly commodity freedom for this nation was and is.
Many of those courageous patriots lost personal fortunes. More important, many lost families and loved ones. All lost their comfort and security at least for a time—if not forever. They paid a high price so that we could live in freedom. Freedom, you see, is never free. It is always costly and precious.
Of all people, Christians should know that. We serve a Lord who died on a cross to purchase our spiritual freedom.
I know, of course, that justification by grace through faith in Christ is the gift of God freely offered to all. It is given as a gift and can only be accepted as such. In that sense, it is most certainly and most beautifully free and completely unearned.
But, like any gift, someone had to buy it, and God’s Son paid the price. More costly to him than we can imagine, salvation, freedom from sin, was anything but free.
We have freedom in this nation today because our forefathers were courageous enough to pay the price for it. Our best tribute to them is never to forget what freedom cost as we do our part to keep the dream alive.
By the way, the loss of Paul Harvey earlier this year was the loss of a national treasure. We need to remember his oft-repeated warning: “Self-government without self-discipline will not work.”
Freedom is not a gift beneficently bestowed by any government. It is the gift of God to all, a gift we must cherish, and it is a blessing to live in a land where, for most of our history, that gift has been recognized and honored.
As Christians, we have spiritual freedom because the Author of our faith was willing to take all the sin of the world to a cross to defeat Hell itself.
As his followers, our best tribute to our Lord is to live our lives in light of the cross as we reflect to the Father and to our neighbors the unselfish love illustrated by his prayer on the night before he died: “Not my will, but Thine be done.”
Freedom. It can only be bought and nurtured by those who care more about what is right than about their rights.
No one else will pay the price. And freedom is never free.
Curtis Shelburne is pastor of 16th & Ave. D. Church of Christ in Muleshoe. Contact him at: firstname.lastname@example.org