Welcome to “Word from The Center” MONDAY, a devotional word from the Center of our faith, Jesus Christ, with reflections from His Word. I’m Gregory Seltz. Today’s reading is Galatians 5:1, where the Bible says,   

“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 slavery.”



Memorial Day was last month, and we commemorated the sacrifices of the soldiers who scaled the cliffs at Normandy to help win World War II. In fact, we honored the sacrifice of all those who have given their lives for our country in all the wars that the United States has fought to defend and protect FREEDOM. This coming weekend, the July 4th weekend, also reminds us that, in this sinful world, there is a cost to freedom. We will remember again the sacrifices of people in our history who risked everything so that we could live in freedom and peace in the United States this very day. If you and I are free today, and we are, someone paid the price to make it so.

July 4th always reminds me of a broadcast by Paul Harvey. He was the radio guy who often concluded by telling us about “the rest of the story.” His July 4th broadcast in 1974 reminded us of the price that was paid for the liberties we enjoy today in America. He spoke about “the rest of the story” for those who signed the Declaration of Independence.[1] They risked everything so that they, and those they loved, could be free. He included the following:

….Carter Braxton,  a wealthy planter and trader, after signing saw his ships swept from the seas and to pay his debts, he lost his home and all of his property. He died in rags.

…Thomas McKean of Delaware was so harrassed by the enemy that he was forced to move his family five times in five months. He served in Congress without pay, his family in poverty and in hiding.

...Thomas Nelson, Jr. of Virginia raised two million dollars on his own signature for provision for our allies, the French fleet. After the War he personally paid back the loans wiping out his entire estate; he was never reimbursed by his government. He died bankrupt.

...John Hart was driven from his wife’s bedside while she was dying; his thirteen children fled in all directions for their lives. His fields and gristmill were laid waste. For more than a year he lived in forests and caves and returned home after the War to find his wife dead, his children gone, his properties gone. He died a few weeks later of exhaustion and a broken heart.

Paul Harvey concluded by noting that, of the 56 signers of the Declaration, few were long to survive. Five were captured by the British and tortured before they died. Twelve had their homes--from Rhode Island to Charleston--sacked and looted, occupied by the enemy or burned. Two of them lost their sons in the Army; one had two sons captured. Nine of the 56 died in the War from its hardships or from its more merciful bullets. They had learned that liberty is so much more important than security, for that they pledged their lives, their fortunes, and their sacred honor. They fulfilled their pledge--they paid the price, and political freedom was born.

It’s hard to imagine anyone paying such a high price so that others might be free. But July 4th pales in comparison to Good Friday, when the Son of God died on the cross so that ALL PEOPLE might be eternally “set free,” free from guilt, sin, and deserved condemnation, and free to live eternally with the God who created and redeemed them. Christ’s work on the cross brought a freedom into this world that only He could bring. This coming weekend, as we remember those who sacrificed in history so that we might enjoy “July 4th freedoms,” St. Paul, in Galatians 5, reminds us of the true, enduring freedom that comes by faith in Jesus Christ. He sacrificed His life on the cross, took upon Himself our sins, and graciously gives us a freedom that this world can never take away. So, rejoice and give thanks for the freedoms that you and I are privileged to receive, and then to share with one another, now and forever.

PRAYER: Dear Jesus, thank You for the liberty You have won for us through Your life, death, and resurrection. Give us wisdom to put that freedom to work to give You glory and to serve others faithfully in Your name! Amen!


[1] See https://www.chron.com/neighborhood/article/Declaration-of-Independence-9397478.php

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