July is a wonderful month.  We celebrate our national freedom with picnics, parades, gatherings and remembrance of those who have purchased freedom for us on a specific day.  We get time off of work to celebrate freedom, taking vacations as a freedom from our work and go visit relatives, friends, and interesting places. 

As Americans we relish and cherish our freedoms purchased by the sweat and blood of our countrymen.  Yet, are we truly free:  from the cost of government; from threats to our liberty and way of life by enemies foreign and domestic; and from the debts we incur as part of living?

July is a wonderful month!  We celebrate our spiritual and eternal freedom in Christ: with the Lord’s Supper; marches for the protection of Christian liberties and responsibilities; gathering; together as a family to study God’s word and pray; around God’s word and sacraments each Sunday with our brothers and sisters in Christ, Bible Studies; together in organizations such as LWML, Dorcas, Stephen’s Ministry; and the National Youth Gathering in New Orleans.  We take time off to support and attend these gatherings.

As children of God we relish and cherish our freedoms purchased by the sweat and blood of our Lord and Savior.  Yet, are we truly free:  from the curse of the Law; threats to our liberty and way of life by our spiritual and physical enemies; and the debts we incur as part of travailing through this world?  Jesus died to fulfill the demands of the Law, freeing us from the burden and curse of its demands (John 8:31-38; Galatians 3).  He assures us that this is true.  Yet, we must daily drown our Old Adam by the power and means provided by the Holy Spirit.  God knows that our sinful nature would lure us back under the curse of the Law by forsaking Christ’s righteousness for our own self-righteous works (Galatians 5:16-26).  Jesus’ redemptive work on the cross and resurrection has defeated our enemies: sin; death; and the power of the devil.  Still, they have not been utterly destroyed but continue to war against the new creation in Christ (Romans 8:3-13; 2 Corinthians 10:3-6; Galatians 5: 16-18) .  God knows that our flesh would get us to abandon true worship and enslave us with religious ritualism and foolishly rush forth with physical weapons of our own choosing and abandon the whole armor of God (Ephesians 6) and gifts of the Holy Spirit (1 Corinthians 12) as we move upon the spiritual battlefield of this world.  Christ paid our entire debt of sin once and for all on the cross and clothed us in His righteousness.  Even now, God knows that we are inclined to abuse His grace by neither confessing nor repenting of even the sins we committed in the last sixty seconds if it were not for Holy Spirit who “calls, gathers, enlightens, and sanctifies the whole Christian church on earth, and keeps it with Jesus Christ in the true faith.  In this Christian Church He daily and richly forgives all my sins and the sins of all believers.  On the Last Day He will raise me and all the dead, and give eternal live to me and all believers in Christ.  This is most certainly true.”  (Luther’s Small Catechism, The Creed, Third Article: Sanctification)

July is a wonderful month where we can celebrate our national independence and freedoms.  However, today and every day are wonderful days where we can and should celebrate our spiritual independence and freedom in Christ Jesus.  For the Son has set us free and we are free indeed (John 8:35-37).  Amen and Amen.