June 27, 2013
For freedom Christ has set us free; stand firm therefore, and do not submit again to a yoke of slavery. Galatians 5:1
The U.S. Declaration of Independence said it beautifully and well: "We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness."
Those words sound good on paper, but for 14 New Hampshire men who fought for the cause of freedom during the Revolutionary War, that's all the Constitution ever was: words on paper.
Their story is an interesting one. On November 12, 1779, while the war was still being fought, 14 men who were in the military, 14 slaves who were in the military, submitted a petition to the New Hampshire Legislature. Their document maintained that this freedom for which they were fighting ought to belong to everyone.
They put forth a progressive argument ... maybe too progressive.
The request of the slaves fell on deaf ears, and their document was filed away in the state archives, where it was forgotten. It sat forgotten for almost 200 years. Thankfully, when the present New Hampshire government rediscovered the petition, they took action. Recently, Governor Maggie Hassan signed the bill, which posthumously emancipated those ex-slaves. Unfortunately, the action was taken too late to do those patriots any good.
Every one of us ought to give thanks the Lord didn't get bogged down in politics and bureaucracy, when it came to freeing us from the slavery of sin.
On the contrary, without any motivating petition from us, the Lord decided to take unilateral action and do all which was necessary to win our freedom.
To that end He sent His Son. For 33 years the Savior lived for us. He kept all of God's laws. He resisted all of Satan's temptations, and He fulfilled all of the prophecies that had been made, so the promised Messiah might be identified.
Then, when all the rest had been accomplished, Jesus carried our sins to the cross. There on those rough-hewn timbers He gave up His life to win our freedom and emancipate our souls from our evil masters. With His third-day resurrection from the dead, He has shown His victory over sin, the devil, and death is total and complete.
Now, the conquering Christ holds out His blood-bought salvation to all of humanity. To those who are brought to faith, there is forgiveness of sins, salvation and spiritual freedom.
As Jesus said, "If the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed" (John 8:36).
Oh, one last thing: this freedom that was won by Jesus' sacrifice and becomes ours through Holy Spirit-inspired faith, is never given posthumously. Unlike New Hampshire's emancipation of the Revolutionary War slaves, our freedom can only be received while we are yet alive.
THE PRAYER: Dear Lord, I give thanks You have sent Your Son to carry my sins and win my soul's salvation. May I use that freedom in a way that is a blessing to others and a show of thanks to my Savior. In Jesus' Name. Amen.
Pastor Ken Klaus
Speaker emeritus of The Lutheran Hour®
Lutheran Hour Ministries