Something to think about on Memorial Day weekend:
On April 15, 2002 near Kandahar, Afghanistan, a bomb was detonated by a terrorist.
Four American soldiers were killed. Staff sergeant Jeff Pugmire was the sole survivor of the explosion. Six days later, he sent an email to his wife and daughters in California from his hospital bed in Germany.
“I am here because I believe in Democracy and that our freedom is worth the lives of my fallen brothers. I would gladly give mine in defense.” (Grace under Fire, Andrew Carroll)
We are free from tyranny and oppression because thousands of individuals like Jeff Pugmire served our country and the cause of freedom in the American Revolution, the Civil War, and both World Wars. In addition, the United States has been engaged in conflicts throughout the world in order to secure freedom for people in other countries as well. Those patriots made a sacrifice; they paid a price. We are grateful.
Giving one’s life to achieve freedom for others is not something new, but it was an innovative concept 2000 years ago. It had never been done before.
To liberate humankind from the tyranny of sin, Christ suffered at the hands of the Romans and breathed His last breath on the cross. His death was a sacrifice that accomplished forgiveness. To those who believe that Jesus Christ is Lord and that He died for us, freedom from the oppression of sin has become a reality. We can break free from the bondage of our own sinfulness and we can be excused from the consequence of sin, namely eternal death.
All that is required of us is to believe in Christ. It is not magic; it is the fulfillment of Christ’s promise to His disciples – “Whoever believes in me, though they die, yet shall he live and anyone who lives and believes in me shall never die.” (John 11:25 ESV)
This promise could only be fulfilled because the One who made that pledge was sacrificed as a guarantee of that promise. The substitutionary death of Christ on the cross has freed us from the tyranny of sin and the oppression of death. Thanks be to God!
Jeff Pugmire was wounded and his four brothers-in-arms died for our freedom. Thousands of Americans have died for our freedom. Christ also died for our freedom.
Members of the American military who died for us have followed the example of Jesus Christ.
On this Memorial Day 2017, perhaps, you will visit a cemetery and observe small flags on several graves. Or, you may notice a cross on one of the headstones. Think about what these powerful symbols represent and mediate on these words,
“For freedom Christ has set us free; stand firm therefore, and do not submit again to a yoke of slavery.” (Galatians 5:1 ESV)