In a letter to his wife in 1777, President John Adams wrote: “Posterity! You will never know how much it cost the present generation to preserve your freedom! I hope you will make good use of it. If you do not, I shall repent in Heaven that I ever took half the pains to preserve it.”
What a passionate and compelling thought to reflect on this Fourth of July. Adams knew what it took to bring forth a new nation, establish a free country, and deliver a people from tyranny. He knew it had been costly; he knew many sacrificed their lives to secure freedom for others.
But there is a richer and more profound thought to reflect on about freedom–a freedom procured for many at great cost, a freedom that those who find it should “made good use of it.”
Writing to followers of Jesus Christ in the region of Galatia, the apostle Paul stated:
It was for freedom that Christ set us free; therefore keep standing firm and do not be subject again to a yoke of slavery. (Galatians 5:1)
At great cost, the Son of God stepped into the world. He emptied Himself (Philippians 2:7). He humbled Himself (Philippians 2:8). He suffered (Hebrews 5:7-8). He became a curse on behalf of those He came to save (Galatians 3:13-14). He was crushed for the iniquities of those He would redeem (Isaiah 53:4–6). He laid down His life for His friends (John 10:15-17; 15:13).
Jesus, the Son and our great high priest, will never “repent in Heaven” as Adams insists he would if the freedom that had been procured were not made “good use of.” Jesus, our redeemer and freedom-procurer, ever lives to make intercession for those He has brought into His freedom (Hebrews 7:25).
And why is it that He continues to pray and plead on behalf of those He has laid down His life for? Undoubtedly His prayers must include interceding for the redeemed so that they would experience all the freedom, all the life, all the mercy and grace, which His sacrifice has already obtained for them.
Oh, that we would make “good use” of the freedom that we enjoy because of the costly gift given us by God through the sacrifice of His Son. That we would never again allow ourselves to be subjected to the slavery of rule-based living. That we would never again submit our hearts and minds to the accusations of the enemy of our souls. That we would never again assume that our acceptance before a holy God was dependent upon our efforts to do enough good to earn God’s approval. Oh, that we would live fully in the freedom that belongs to the children of God (Romans 8:21).