Galatians 5: 1, “It is for freedom that Christ has set us free. Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of bondage.”
Out for my morning hike, I passed by an office building. There was a sloped area along the road and it was grown up with grass and small trees. Realizing I was hearing a sound that was unusual, I stopped and looked into the brushy area, but saw no sign of life.
It sounded small; possibly like a chipmunk or maybe even an armadillo; but nothing! Starting up my walk, the sound started again. What could that whopping sound possibly be?
Finally, realizing there was a flagpole in the yard of the building, the sound was obviously the American flag blowing in the breeze. My heart almost exploded; what a beautiful sound the flag was making and I did not recognize it! The sounds of freedom at times fall on deaf ears.
We fail to stop and say “Thank you Lord for this great country and allowing me to be here, a citizen of the great United States of America.” Freedom and being an American are among our greatest blessings.
Those sounds of freedom are all around us and we rarely notice. The sound of cars and trucks on our many highways is a sound of freedom. People in many parts of the world must have government permits to travel, even within their own country, and those are often denied. Americans have the freedom to come and go, when and where we please. Travel is restricted in many communist countries.
Even at the current cost of gasoline, we have the freedom to buy the product and travel as we please. In most European countries, gas is now over 10 U.S. dollars per gallon. With a passport we can travel to most any country with few restrictions. Many countries will not allow their citizens to leave without extreme vetting and investigating into their purpose.
Close akin to the travel restrictions are right of assembly freedoms. Communists governments are so oppressive of their citizens, to assemble is banned. The governments live in constant fear of a revolt. They know they have to intimidate citizens to “keep them in line.”
An example of oppression is the Tiananmen Square incident in 1989 in Beijing, China. The student-led protests demanding democracy and an end to communism resulted in numerous deaths. Numbers of casualties were estimated from in the hundreds to the thousands.
The military was called to suppress the protesters and that they did. When people experience communism first-hand, they quickly decide they don’t want it. Everything is for the government hierarchy and citizens are considered less than human and valued only for the work they do.
A saying we have heard in the last few years is, “You can vote your way into socialism, but you have to fight your way out.” The purveyors make it sound good for the masses, but people who live under such systems do not verify that.
Printing presses running are a sound of freedom. Freedom of the press is precious and must be preserved even though it has been perverted by the politically corrupt. A free press is essential to a democracy in that the people have a “right to know.” Freedom of the press is not freedom to mislead, lie and advance the publisher’s political opinion.
Opinions are not news and neither is speculation. “What if” constitutes nothing newsworthy and certainly is not worth our time to evaluate.
A young person going into a bank to open his or her first checking account is a sound of freedom. A college or vocational technical school opening its doors to new students is a sound of freedom. A teacher enlightening students about career opportunities is a sound of freedom.
The sound of children pledging allegiance to the flag is a sound of freedom. The sounds of a high school football game or the academic team competing with other schools’ teams are sounds of freedom. The clip-clop of an Amish buggy is a sound of freedom.
The sound of “The Star-Spangled Banner” playing at a veteran activity is a sound of freedom. The veterans have paid a very high price for our freedoms of speech, the press, assembly and many others. They deserve the best of everything this country has to offer; without them, there would be no country.
There are 172 national cemeteries with an undetermined number of graves because the number changes daily. There are over 400,000 graves in Arlington National Cemetery alone. The sound of silence in these is a sound of freedom that is deafening.
The sound of a handgun being racked or a rifle being bolted by a hunter is a sound of freedom. Many countries around the world have taken the freedom of owning a gun away from their citizens. In that action, citizens have limited methods of self-defense from the increasing criminal element this entire world is experiencing.
The sounds of hymns coming from a church on a mountain or in a valley are sounds of freedom. Many in the world have no freedom of religion. America was founded and established based on freedom of religion.
“It is for freedom that Christ has set us free.” This statement by the Apostle Paul in Galatians 1, tells us of a purpose of Christ’s crucifixion. By His sacrificial death, mankind has freedom from the “yoke of sin” the world had previously experienced.
From the writing of the Ten Commandments until Christ’s resurrection, the Jewish people had lived under the burden of being human, but being expected to adhere to those commandments of God. Their atonement/redemption came by offering a blood sacrifice on the altar (Hebrews 9: 22). The laws for offering the sacrifice are stated in Leviticus and Deuteronomy in the Old Testament.
Then came Christ Jesus! The sounds of the Roman soldier’s hammer driving the nails into our Jesus’ hands and feet were sounds of the freedom He offered us by bleeding, suffering and dying for our sins. The sound of the stone being rolled away to allow Him to exit the tomb, resurrected and alive, was a sound of freedom.
Have we as a people, both Americans and Christians, tuned out those sounds and taken what we have for granted? Well, it was not granted easily. The prices paid were enormous. We think of the dead military men and women, but they had families; mothers, fathers, sisters and brothers that also suffered immeasurably at their loss.
Their sacrifice set us free from an oppressive government. It is for freedom from sin that Christ has set us free. Only by forgiveness of sin based on His cleansing blood (1 John 1: 9) may we be saved. The suffering of Jesus is unimaginable in today’s world of medicines/painkillers.
Are there words to express how precious freedom is! If there are, I do not know them. These great treasures of being an American and salvation through a crucified and resurrected Christ Jesus are priceless. Don’t take them lightly.
As you go through the day, the week and the year, listen for the sounds. The flapping of the flag on a breezy morning really got my attention and I pray those sounds will get yours.
President Abraham Lincoln said, “America will never be destroyed from the outside. If we falter and lose our freedoms, it will be because we destroyed ourselves.” The church is built on Christ the solid rock of freedom and our steadfastness to the Gospel will keep that freedom alive.