Winning Freedom

Happy Memorial Day!” It’s a conflicted greeting, isn’t it? The day arrives each year with such innate ambivalence: We rise to honor valor in conflict, while kneeling to grieve the wars that demanded it; we bow to mourn the ultimate sacrifice of a million souls, even as we celebrate the day under the freedom they gave their life to defend. Yes, there is a distinct tension about Memorial Day, though an important one, for as Solomon observed, “death is the destiny of everyone; the living should take this to heart” (Ecclesiastes 7:2). And so we do. Yet for the believer there awaits another destiny—a glorious one—eternal life, the door to which death is reduced to the station of a lowly welcome mat. So, in this week of mourning, let’s use this space to look up from our sadness and fix our eyes on the promise of new life, one more certain than death, indeed one that begins before we die and can never be taken away. Consider:

“Whoever hears my word and believes him who sent me has eternal life and will not be judged but has crossed over from death to life.” (John 5:24)

“For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.” (John 3:16)

“My Father’s house has many rooms; if that were not so, would I have told you that I am going there to prepare a place for you? And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am.” {John 14:2, 3)

Jesus said to [Martha], “I am the resurrection and the life. The one who believes in me will live, even though they die; and whoever lives by believing in me will never die. Do you believe this?” (John 11:25, 26)

“Do you believe this?” Reverberating through the generations, Jesus’ question reaches us. He has done everything for us—lived without sin to become our perfect sacrifice, incurred the punishment we deserve, burst and chains of death that surely would have fettered us forever. This is what we celebrate. This is why we hope. This is whom we proclaim: He who died—and rose—to win our freedom and give us life.

Yes, Jesus, we believe you are the resurrection and the life. Send your Spirit to lead us in freedom, that God would be glorified through our transformed lives. Amen.

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