While watching an old Gaither Homecoming video recently, an old Patriotic song brought my thoughts to the cost that was paid for my liberty. It sent me on a word study, where I discovered that the word liberty is used some 27 times, in the 66 books of the King James Bible. There are 10 different Hebrew and Greek definitions for the word that is translated “liberty.” Most of them are very similar and some derivatives of the same root word. There are repeated phrases like “set at liberty” and “proclaim liberty” and “your liberty” and “my liberty.” The meanings range from “broad, large, roomy, wide” to “freedom/pardon/forgiveness” to “relieve” and “release” and “rest.” Liberty.
This month of July in America starts off with a celebration of who we are – the crafters and proclaimers of the Declaration of Independence, victors in the Revolutionary War, the ones who are truly the free and the brave. That’s us!
Sometimes, amidst the fireworks and the barbecue dinners, time with family and friends, and maybe even on a campground for an old fashioned Camp Meeting, we forget that the freedom we celebrate was not free. It came only after hard-won battles. Lives were lost. Families were fractured. Freedom was not free. Maintaining that freedom for ourselves and others continues to come, even today, at a high price.
As we look then, to our spiritual freedoms, we have to also ever remember the price that was paid for our spiritual liberty. Sin bound us all. Yet, from the foundation, there was a Lamb slain. There was precious blood spent to purchase you and me.
The flag of the United States is a thing of beauty with it’s red and white stripes and blue background with stars. The Statue of Liberty, with her lighted torch, and the plea of “Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free” is awe-inspiring.
On the other hand, there it is a beautiful terrible cross where Jesus Christ died to purchase our salvation. Healing was in the stripes He suffered but it was gruesome not gorgeous. “He is despised and rejected of men; a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief: and we hid as it were our faces from him; he was despised, and we esteemed him not.” Yet, it was the price He paid for us for our liberty.
How grateful we should be for the men and women who protect and serve our country and maintain freedom for us and others. How much more grateful must we be to the God who robed Himself in flesh to walk among us to suffer and die on Golgatha’s hill that we might be free.
I close with the lyrics of the song that got this thought process started. I am proud to be called an American . . . glad to be called a Christian. I will honor our flag and the statue of liberty. And I will cling to the old rugged cross . . . where He purchased my liberty.
In New York stands a lady
With her torch raised to the sky
And all who see her
Know she stands for liberty for you and me.
I’m so proud to be called an American
To be named with the brave and the free
I will honor our flag and our trust in God
And the statue of liberty.
On lonely Golgatha stood a cross
With my Lord raised to the sky
And all who kneel there
As all the saved can testify
I’m so glad to be called a Christian
To be named with the ransomed and whole
As the statue liberates the citizen
So the cross liberates the soul.
The cross is my statue of liberty
It was there that my soul was set free
Unashamed I’ll proclaim that the rugged cross
Is my statue of liberty.