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Millions of Americans will celebrate their freedom and independence today, but this independent spirit often leads us to ignore what is most important. Tim Chaffey, AiG–U.S., explains.
Every year on the Fourth of July, millions of Americans celebrate freedom. This day marks the anniversary of the signing the Declaration of Independence, a document which announced the American colonists’ desire to be independent from England, which was later accomplished by victory over the English in the Revolutionary War.
The American people have a rich tradition of cherishing independence. Over the years, the “American Dream” has developed into the notion that anyone can achieve their goals and dreams by pulling themselves up by their own bootstraps and working hard.
While I wholeheartedly believe we should work hard and strive to reach certain goals, many people have fallen for the lie that they do not need to depend on anyone in this life. Our sinful nature leads us to think we can determine truth apart from God, including the idea that if we are “good enough,” then God will let us in to heaven. Our independent spirit has led many to think that they can earn salvation by their good works and thereby escape the judgment of our holy God. But they are gravely mistaken.
We pride ourselves on our solutions to the minor problems we encounter, but we can never conquer our greatest problem—sin.Popular psychological teaching bolsters man’s independent thinking by telling him that he is inherently good and can solve his problems on his own. However, the Bible teaches the opposite. Man’s “heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked; who can know it?” (Jeremiah 17:9). We pride ourselves on our solutions to the minor problems we encounter, but we can never conquer our greatest problem—sin—in our own strength.
We have all sinned and fall short of the glory of God (Romans 3:23). So, no matter how many “good” deeds we do (Isaiah 64:6), apart from Christ we will still face God’s judgment for the sins we have committed. Good deeds do not wash away our sins; they only mask them in the eyes of others. However, God sees through our self-righteous veneer and knows every sin we have ever committed.
Thankfully, God sent His Son, Jesus Christ to earth. He is “the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world!” (John 1:29). Jesus did not come so that we could tell cute nativity stories or so that we would think of Him as simply a good teacher. No, Jesus came to die an agonizing death on the Cross. He came to take our punishment on Himself. He died on the Cross, was buried, and then rose from the dead three days later, demonstrating that He has power over death, that He took the wrath of God for our sins, and that He has secured our hope of eternal life.
On the night before His Crucifixion, Jesus said, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me” (John 14:6). This statement directly contradicts the man-made religious concept that a person can earn his own salvation. His declaration is extremely offensive to the modern “tolerance” mindset which refuses to tolerate the exclusive claims of Jesus Christ. Jesus unequivocally declared that He is the only way to the Father.
This is why it is so important for us to learn to become dependent on Jesus Christ. If we truly want to be free, then we need to depend on Jesus Christ who said that “if the Son makes you free, you shall be free indeed” (John 8:36). This freedom is a freedom from the punishment of our sin and from the ungodly burdens of this world. Salvation from sin is available to all who turn from their sin (repent) and place their trust in the Lord Jesus Christ as their Savior and Lord.
We may cherish our independence and freedom in the United States, but that independence and freedom is eroding and can be taken away. The further we drift from the authority of and obedience to God’s Word in this nation, the less freedom and independence we will possess. The more we reject God’s authority as a nation, the less godly we will become as a people, and the more laws will be required to govern our sinful behavior. We have witnessed the stripping away of personal freedoms in this nation and this directly corresponds to the loss of biblical authority in society.
We must depend on our Creator and Savior Jesus Christ for our salvation, for the strength to make it through each day, for the power to forgive and show grace to others, and for the ability to live a life that pleases Him. If you have never placed your faith in Jesus Christ and asked for His forgiveness, please repent of your sins and call on Him today. If you do this, then you will experience true freedom, and this Fourth of July can be your first “Dependence Day.”