It was a hot, sticky, humid day Philadelphia, Pennsylvania when they gathered. They were dressed for work, in an early version of a suit and tie. The building they occupied contained no central air and the stench indicated that many could have used a bath, however there were much weightier matters on their minds than the heat, the stench, or their clothes. The men were gathered together for a vote, a vote which could change the future forever, a vote which could have a devastating and deadly outcome, a vote that would endanger their very lives, and many others. They were the members of the Second Continental Congress and the vote was for independence against Great Britain. By that vote, and later, the signing the Declaration of Independence, the men were also authorizing their own death warrants, should the bid for American Independence fail.
Today, these men are remembered as brave and ambitious men, who had an integral part in making the United States of America a nation free from tyranny and oppressive rule. We remember these men every July 4. We celebrate with cookouts, fireworks, swimming, friends, and family. What could be better?
On that hot and sticky day in Philadelphia, those men gathered to overthrow the oppressive rule that was suffocating them, kicking off the American Revolutionary War. It was not the first revolutionary war, nor would it be the last. Yet no matter how many wars for independence are raged, we will continue to live in a world of oppression: the oppression of sin. Since sin entered this world, we are slaves to it. By ourselves, we can never win the war against sin. However, it is a war we do not have to fight, because it has already been decided.
“The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim liberty to the captives and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty those who are oppressed," (Luke 4:18)
Jesus answered them,“Truly, truly, I say to you, everyone who practices sin is a slave to sin. The slave does not remain in the house forever; the son remains forever. So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed. (John 8:32-34, ESV)
Nearly 2,000 years ago, Jesus Christ, the Son of God, came to this earth as a man. He encountered the same temptations we face every day. He fought the war against sin. And He won! Jesus won the war through His death and resurrection. Through belief in Him, eternal salvation from sin is given. The war against sin has already been decided, it is now up to us to determine who we support.
We can continue to live our lives as we choose, as a slave to sin, or we can accept the gift of independence (salvation) through Jesus Christ. With salvation, we will continue to fight battles against sin every day, and some battles will be lost, but we can take heart that the war has already been won!
As you gather with friends and family this July 4, celebrate this nation's independence, and consider your own independence. Have you been set free from the oppression of sin?