Happy Independence Day! On this patriotic day as we celebrate the birth of our nation, we can’t help but ponder the tremendous blessings that come to us as citizens of the United States. Sometimes we as Americans may take some of those blessings and freedoms for granted. But we shouldn’t. We hear of and feel for so many who would stand on the other side of our borders and rebuke us if they caught us taking our blessings lightly. Our country and our citizenship are a heritage that has been passed down to us, paid for by the hard work and literally hard-fought battles of those who have gone before us – all of which we want to do our part in passing down as a heritage to those who come after us as well.
And, of course, it goes without saying, as the hymn verse says: “Praise God from whom all blessings flow!” Take time on this Fourth of July to thank God above for our homeland – with whatever flaws or weaknesses it might have. Thank the Lord and don’t take for granted that which has been passed down to us from him through others.
At the same time, as precious as our earthly citizenship is – or as precious as it ever has been to other people of other times and places – we know of something even greater. The Apostle Paul wrote this to the Philippians in chapter 3: “But our citizenship is in heaven. And we eagerly await a Savior from there, the Lord Jesus Christ.”
They were proud of their Roman citizenship in Philippi. It was a proud group, a proud place and a proud time in history to be a Roman. Many good things had been passed down to them from their forefathers, some of which those living there had helped earn and fight for themselves. Peace and wealth and opportunity – good things! Yet, like all good things that are earthly in nature, they were temporary things. But the Christian knows of something more …
Our greatest heritage is eternal salvation that comes to us through Christ. In God’s undeserved love, sinners have been justified by the life and death of Jesus which becomes our own through God-given faith in him. The hard work and hard-fought battles that bring us to heaven were carried out by our Savior. There’s a hymn, “Oh, for a Thousand Tongues to Sing” that says, “He sets the prisoner free. His blood can make the foulest clean; his blood avails for me.”
I didn’t earn heaven. I didn’t win my forgiveness. I deserve just the opposite, just like you. But rest easy. Jesus did it for you. And your citizenship is in heaven. You will see your Savior from there, the Lord Jesus Christ! Think about your heavenly citizenship as you celebrate our earthly Independence Day today.
A blessed July Fourth to you!