Eric Dishongh, PhD
Connecting others to Jesus and His church as a husband, dad, minister, counselor, professor and friend
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On July 4, 1776, John Adams signed the Declaration of Independence, which includes the patriotic words:
"We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness."
As you enjoy this 4th of July holiday with family, food, and fireworks, I hope you also appreciate the sacrifice that occurred in order for us to enjoy this freedom.
On the day before he signed the Declaration of Independence, John Adams wrote the following letter to his wife Abigail:
"The [fourth] day of July, 1776, will be the most memorable Epocha, in the History of America. I am apt to believe that it will be celebrated, by succeeding Generations, as the great anniversary Festival. It ought to be commemorated, as the Day of Deliverance by solemn Acts of Devotion to God Almighty. It ought to be solemnized with Pomp and Parade, with Shows, Games, Sports, Guns, Bells, Bonfires and Illuminations from one End of this Continent to the other from this Time forward forever more. You will think me transported with Enthusiasm but I am not. I am well aware of the Toil and Blood and Treasure, that it will cost Us to maintain this Declaration, and support and defend these States. Yet through all the Gloom I can see the Rays of ravishing Light and Glory. I can see that the End is more than worth all the Means. And that Posterity will triumph in that Days Transaction, even altho We should rue it, which I trust in God We shall not."
It took the original pilgrims two months to travel those 3,500 dangerous miles across the Atlantic Ocean to escape religious oppression and to search for economic prosperity. They were seeking a new life because they felt trapped in Europe. They came all the way across the water in order to begin their new life. Several years later, the Colonists fought the "War of Independence" to ensure their continued freedom as Americans.
It's one thing to have freedom as Americans. But, it's something entirely different to have freedom as Christians!
"There is therefore now no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus, who do not walk according to the flesh, but according to the Spirit. For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has made me free from the law of sin and death."-- Romans 8:1-2
When it comes to becoming a Christian, the spiritual war of independence has already been fought with the toil and blood of Jesus. He died on the cross and conquered death and rose on the third day out of the grave. If we want to experience this new life, we have to come into contact with the blood of Jesus.
"What shall we say then? Shall we continue in sin that grace may abound? Certainly not! How shall we who died to sin live any longer in it? Or do you not know that as many of us as were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into His death? Therefore we were buried with Him through baptism into death, that just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life. For if we have been united together in the likeness of His death, certainly we also shall be in the likeness of His resurrection, knowing this, that our old man was crucified with Him, that the body of sin might be done away with, that we should no longer be slaves of sin. For he who has died has been freed from sin."-- Romans 6:1-7
Since spiritual freedom is for those who are in Christ, you want to make sure that you are actually "in Christ."
The Bible records the story of an Ethiopian man becoming a Christian so that he could experience the freedom of a new life in Christ:
"Then Philip opened his mouth, and beginning at this Scripture, preached Jesus to him. Now as they went down the road, they came to some water. And the eunuch said, ‘See, here is water. What hinders me from being baptized?’ Then Philip said, ‘If you believe with all your heart, you may.’ And he answered and said, ‘I believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God.’ So he commanded the chariot to stand still. And both Philip and the eunuch went down into the water, and he baptized him. Now when they came up out of the water, the Spirit of the Lord caught Philip away, so that the eunuch saw him no more; and he went on his way rejoicing."-- Acts 8:35-39
It's one thing to enjoy the life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness, but it's something completely different to enjoy eternal life, eternal liberty, and eternal happiness!
You don't have to go all the way across the water to be saved, but you do need to go all the way under!
What is hindering you from being baptized into Christ?
My life purpose is to connect people to Jesus and His church by providing a Christian example and by reaching out on spiritual, relational, academic, and community levels.