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Celebrating two kinds of freedom - Jason A. Smith

Many of us have been hearing a lot, in recent days, about one word: "freedom."

Fireworks erupted through the skies Monday, as families gathered to celebrate our liberty as Americans.

As is often the case whenever a major holiday arrives, some of the celebrations may have focused more on cookouts, visits to a lake or water park, and a day off from work.

I'll admit, I was excited to have a weekday to myself to wake up when I felt like it, and to spend the afternoon and evening with my wife and baby, instead of being at the office. But, that's not everything the Fourth of July is about.

Those celebrations are great, but they should never overshadow the reason we are able to celebrate Independence Day in the first place. We are a free nation, because our forefathers bent over backwards to create this concept we call America, and because our military fights to protect us.

Why are the efforts of everyone from Benjamin Franklin, to Sgt. John Q. Soldier, only celebrated one day a year? As Americans, we should be in a constant state of amazement and gratitude for the freedoms we have in this country.

That brings me to another kind of freedom which isn't celebrated as much as it should be -- particularly for Christians.

I'm not just talking about the religious freedom we have in America, although that definitely sets us apart from many other nations around the world. I'm talking about the freedom which accompanies belief in a sovereign God -- freedom from the bondage of sin, and the punishment of Hell.

Just as Americans should take more time to be thankful for the sacrifices of men and women in the Armed Forces -- many of whom have given their very lives -- Christians should constantly be thankful to God for the sacrifice of His Son.

But, there's at least one very important difference between the freedom we have as Americans, and the freedom which accompanies being a Christian.

We Americans must be mindful that there are those in this world, who want to take away our liberty. If our military isn't given the tools it needs to protect us, and if lawmakers pass legislation which nips way at our rights, those freedoms could eventually be gone.

Christians, however, don't have to worry about this from a spiritual standpoint. Christ's death on the Cross is just as effective now as it was 2,000 years ago, in saving God's people from the penalty of sin. Once God draws His people to Himself, it's a done deal, and no one can snatch them from His hand.

That's worth a lot more than fireworks one day a year. It's worth a lot more than making an appearance in a pew every Sunday. For the Christian, it's worth everything we have, and everything we are.

Jason A. Smith covers government and politics for the Henry Daily Herald. He can be reached via e-mail at jsmith@henryherald.com.