July 4th – Independence Day! I was thinking this morning, “why does a person or a nation need freedom?” Obviously, if a person or nation desires freedom it is because they don’t have it – if they don’t have freedom, they are in bondage, they are under tyrannical rule, they are being oppressed. Those being oppressed live in fear – why? Oppressed people and nations live in fear because their oppressors do not love them, they do not care for about them. Tyrants will use their slaves for their own selfish motives until one of the two is killed. That is what sin is, a cruel slave master, a tyrant. But, this tyrant is worse than any other – an earthly slave master does not hide the fact that they have no interest in making your life pleasurable, as such; those in bondage continually hope for the day they are liberated, set free. Sin, on the other hand, gives you all the pleasures and desires of the flesh in hopes that you stay right where you are at. It reminds me of movies about the Revolutionary War – you always see plantation owners who treated their slaves poorly, and you also see the ones that treated their slaves well. The latter let them sleep in the mansion and were kind to them, whereas the former made them sleep in a shack and treated them brutally. The latter slave owner is symbolic of sin – “you can stay in mansion, you will want for nothing, but make no mistake, you are still slaves under my rule.” Those in this house are ok with that, after all, they have and do anything they want – why would they leave – and they don’t leave, they stay until they die. Others consider leaving, but the tyrant says, “you can leave, but you should know, outside is a battlefield, life will be extremely difficult.” They then conclude, “why would I choose difficulty over luxury?” – and they stay until they die. What the tyrant doesn’t tell them is, his house is the domain of darkness where sin reigns, and if they die there, they will suffer the consequences of living in and for sin for eternity under the wrath of God. Others resist the tyrant’s attempt to convince them to stay, only to find out that the freedom to leave whenever they want is a lie – you cannot leave because you are a slave and the tyrant is a liar. You know if you die here that hell awaits, but you are helpless in your bonds. Up to now living in sin was not a thought, but suddenly you are aware of your bonds, you feel the weight of sin and it is crushing you. You know you can’t stay, but you have no power to leave – and just when all hope seems to be lost, a Savior knocks at the door. You answer the door and He asks, “I can save you, do you trust Me, will you follow Me?” You say, “I would like to, but I heard, all that is out there is a battlefield, and an ongoing difficult battle.” He says, “Yes, you are correct, difficulty and persecution are waiting for you out there. That is why most prefer to stay in the domain of darkness where the flesh is satisfied, and they feel safe, here they are not mocked or persecuted – they prefer it even though they know hell awaits them – but this isn’t about what most will do, what will you do? You need to decide. You can’t be certain I will knock again, today is the day of salvation. I have set before you the way of death and the Way of Life – choose Life.” Jeremiah 21:8 "And to this people you shall say: 'Thus says the LORD: Behold, I set before you the way of life and the way of death. Romans 6:20-22 For when you were slaves of sin, you were free in regard to righteousness. 21 But what fruit were you getting at that time from the things of which you are now ashamed? For the end of those things is death. 22 But now that you have been set free from sin and have become slaves of God, the fruit you get leads to sanctification and its end, eternal life. Romans 8:2 For the law of the Spirit of life has set you free in Christ Jesus from the law of sin and death. John 8:31-32 So Jesus said to the Jews who had believed him, "If you abide in my word, you are truly my disciples, 32 and you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free." John 8:36 So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed.