Independence is celebrated on July 4th each year in the United States of America. Of course this independence was won 200+ years ago, giving us freedom from the oppression of England in that day.
What is Independence?
The United States of America formally declared their independence from England on July 4th, 1776 with the signing of the Declaration of Independence.
What most people don’t understand is that they are also under the tyrannical reign of none other than Satan himself. Just because they don’t see him in front of their noses doesn’t mean that he doesn’t exist and doesn’t reign. The people of the American colonies did not see the king of England. In fact many of the colonists had never even stepped foot in England, but yet they were under his rule and oppression. In fact they might, on occasion, even see a British soldier and at times even squads and whole armies of them.
We, no matter where you might live (this applies to you too), don’t see Satan himself or even his soldiers that we would normally call his demons, which are usually in spirit form. Frequently, most people are influenced by one or more of his demons and some people have even made their bodies the homes of some (one or more) of these demons – we would normally say that these people are possessed by the demons. And, yes, it is very real. It is not something that was made up in a story book or movie or t.v. show.
Why is this so important? Because if we follow, or even allow ourselves to be controlled by Satan and his minions, we will follow him to eternal death. Some will call this HELL!
Why is Satan so bad? Think about what Satan is related to in our own terms today. What is he known for? He is the “Father of Lies”; he is behind everything evil and bad. How far down on the “ruler of bad” does his influence go? All the way down! Even to the smallest white lie or even a bad thought.
Why should it be so important to us?
You see, Satan is so crafty that he makes bad (henceforth referred to as SIN) look so enjoyable and fun – not to say that all things enjoyable and fun are sins – that most people that do it don’t even think twice about it because it doesn’t seem wrong.
But when you look at the outcome of sin, it always comes out bad, sometimes even to the point of the death of themselves or even someone else. Immediately, it might seem or even be harmless, but, you see, the evil has already been done.
When a person starts smoking a cigarette it doesn’t kill them. But maybe, many years later, after that person has smoked all of their life since, one day a doctor tells them that they have lung cancer. But at the beginning it didn’t seem so bad. It didn’t seem to hurt anyone. It did smell up the house quite a bit, so maybe it would be a better idea to smoke outside. Hmm.
He didn’t realize that while smoking obviously causes damage to the lungs, the “bad” that the cigarettes do in the lungs doesn’t stop there. It gets into the bloodstream and it gets into other organs and tissues and starts killing them too.
He didn’t realize that because he smoked, it makes his likelihood to contract any other type of cancer 50% more. In any organ or tissue in his whole body.
He didn’t realize that just the exposure of the smoke to others who might not smoke, increases the other person’s chances of contracting cancer as well as many other diseases (and deformities). He didn’t even think that he might be hurting someone else at the same time.
I write this passionately because some of this has happened to me, you can read about some of it here.
You see, I may not have total liberty and freedom from the effects of the sins that I have committed in my mortal body, but I have the awesome promise that when I no longer have this human body and my soul lives on in eternity, I will have a beautiful and perfect body (Phil. 3: 21; 1 Cor. 15: 42-44; 1 John 3: 2); I will experience no pain – at all! (Rev. 21: 4)
I suffer on a regular and constant basis as a result of my sin but it serves as a reminder of the grace of God.
You see, just as sin will eventually lead to death (physical and eternal), eternal life requires a penalty as well. Because God cannot live in a place where there is sin, and because of the fact that everyone has sinned (Rom. 3: 23; Rom. 3: 10), there is no way that any person on earth – past or present – has lived a perfect and sinless life so that we could warrant entry into God’s presence.
Time for celebration now – God figured out a way that we can get into heaven (His home). He figured out a way that someone else could take the penalty of sin – death – for us! What joy! But who would be able to do that? It would have to be none other than God Himself.
How could that be? How would He do it? It just so happens that God has 3 parts to Him (just like we have 3 parts – body, soul and spirit): God the Father (Who lives in Heaven), God the Son, Jesus (the One that has the physical body); and God the Spirit (the spirit that is in all places at all times). God determined that He would send His Son to die for us – to take our place in death, so that we could have eternal life.
Jesus, in human form (actually we are in His form, but that is another story), was sent to earth as a baby, to be born of a virgin – Mary. He was raised by Mary and her husband Joseph until He was around 30 years old all the while Jesus didn’t sin one time – He lived the perfect life that we couldn’t live. Then Jesus started His ministry years – about 3 years. During which time, He did many miracles such as: Turning water into wine; Healing the sick and disabled people; He raised dead people. He proved that while He was still man and sinless, He was still God and All Powerful!
But then came the penalty. Remember that Jesus was sent to earth by The Father to take the penalty for our sins which would be death!
He would have to die for us.
You know, Jesus, being God still, had the ability to call it quits at any time He wanted to while He was still on earth – and with everything that He went through, I would have called it quits early in His life, I think. But He didn’t! He stuck it out here on earth and dealt with all of the cuts and bruises and all the temptations that we would go through. But He was still sinless, perfect and still a man!
God loved us so much that He sent His Son to die for us – so that we don’t have to. (John 3: 15 – 16; Rom. 5: 8) Could you imagine, willingly handing your only son over to have him blatantly murdered? There would be no one left to pass on your family name. All of the love that you have given and received from/to your son… gone – as a human, never to return – forever!
Jesus knew why He was there. He knew what He had to do. DIE!
He died in the most horrific, barbaric and painful way that they had at that time – the cross. Two pieces of good sized trees, cut to go one across the other.
One of the tree poles was longer so that it would stick up in the air and so that they could put it in a pretty deep hole to prop it up. Furthermore, they publicly humiliated Him by forcing Him to lift up His own cross and drag it along the path, up the hill to Mt. Golgotha (meaning: the place of the skull).
Once they got to the top of the mount, they then took His hand and held it to the other piece towards the end and used a spike that was about 9 inches long to drive through his hand and then into the wood so that it wouldn’t pull off. Then they did the same to the other side, stretching His arms as far apart as they would go.
They took his feet and, using the same kind of nail, drove the spike through both of His feet together and then into the wood.
Since the Jews hated Him, thinking Him to be a heretic and full of blasphemy because He called Himself the Son of God and God Himself, they mocked Him calling Him, “The King of the Jews”. Because of this, they fashioned a crown out of thorn branches. The thorns were said to be nearly 2 inches long. They then put the crown on His head and then shoved it into His scalp as far as it would go. They then put a sign at the top of the cross above His head that said “King of the Jews”. They mocked Him and tore His beard out of His face by the clumps. They gave Him vinegar on a sponge to drink, which, of course, He couldn’t drink or even swallow. In fact it stung His face in the wounds that had been given Him through His beatings.
After all that, a group of soldiers lifted Jesus, being attached to the cross, up, putting the bottom of the pole into the hole and let it drop – probably a couple of feet – and it fell down. Then it stopped, ripping and tearing at His flesh on His hands. In fact, when He hung on that cross, His rib cage was lifted up into a position to where He couldn’t get a breath of air. He had to push Himself up with His nail-torn feet. Oh, what excruciating pain that must have been. And it was for you and for me.
While on this cross, Jesus took upon Himself the weight of ALL of the sins of the world – past, present and future (Is. 53:4, 5; 1 Peter 2: 24). In fact, for a period of three hours, the skies turned dark, like an eclipse except it lasted for three hours (Mark 15: 33). During those three hours, God the Father turned His back from Jesus, likely, because He couldn’t look upon all of that sin.
Mark 15:34 says, “And at the ninth hour Jesus cried with a loud voice, saying, Eloi, Eloi, lama sabachthani? which is, being interpreted, My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?”
After that He said, “It is finished.” Then He bowed His head and died. Soon after He died, the soldiers came to Him to make sure He was dead. Instead of breaking His leg like the other two that He was crucified with, and seeing that He was obviously dead already, they just took a spear and jabbed it into His side and blood and water gushed out.
He was buried in a borrowed tomb with a huge round stone rolled in front of the doorway so that it couldn’t be rolled away without much effort. In fact, it took two to three men to move it in or out of place. Once it was in place, the Romans placed 2 soldiers at the tomb to guard it because they had heard that Jesus said that He would rise again after He was crucified, so they figured that if they placed guards there for a few days (He said that it would happen on the third day) to make sure that the disciples didn’t come to rob the grave and make it look like He had risen.
God is so much more powerful than that. He caused the guards to fall asleep and then God’s angel rolled the stone away from the tomb and Jesus was risen from the dead. Not because of the angels but because He is God and He caused Himself to be risen from that grave.
Mary Magdalene was the first to come to the tomb to pay her respects to “the dead”, Jesus, and when she got there, she saw that the stone was moved and she looked inside and saw two “men” – actually angels – sitting in the place where the Lord was laid. They asked her why she was crying and she told them because they had taken her Lord and she didn’t know where they had taken Him.
After that she turned around and there was a man (Jesus) standing at the tomb opening and, Mary supposed that He was the gardener. He then asked her why she was crying and whom she was looking for. She asked Him if they had taken Him somewhere and that she would like to know where.
Jesus said to her, “Mary”. She recognised His voice and said, “Master”! He told her not to touch Him yet because He had not yet ascended unto the Father.
Mary ran and told everyone else – the disciples. The same evening, all of the disciples were sitting in a room together and the door was closed then Jesus just appeared in front of them and He told them to be calm and not worry. They recognised Him and He showed them His scars in His hands and feet and his side and they knew that they had seen the Lord. (John 20: 11 – 20).
You see, Jesus was truly God! If He wasn’t, He couldn’t have raised Himself from the dead just like He told everyone before He died.
The fact of the matter is here, that Jesus did all of this for you and for me. To take our sins away from us so that we are no longer looked at by God as sinners, but as redeemed or bought back by the blood of Jesus. Jesus’ blood was shed to cover all of the sins of the world, so that God no longer sees them as sin that we are accountable for. We can now go to Heaven to be with Him when we die.
We are now set free from the sin and the eternal death that goes along with it (Romans 6: 23). We are now able to be called “Christians”.
But wait! It doesn’t stop there!
God wants to give us this independence from sin, but He doesn’t just give it to everyone and they don’t know it. He wants us to come to Him and ask Him for it (Romans 10: 9 – 10; Romans 10: 13). That is why “everybody” isn’t saved from the eternal death in Hell. That is why it is so important that I tell you this story. That is why we, as Christians, have an obligation to spread the Word about Jesus Christ and what He did for us.
You see, that is True Independence!
Just like our soldiers went to war and fought and died (some of them) so that we can have the liberties that we have and the independence from the oppression of an evil dictator, Jesus went to war against sin and the Devil and died – but as He died (and rose again), He won the war against the Devil and paid the price so that we can have independence from the penalty of sin.
Friend, if you have not yet asked Jesus for His salvation, His independence, I urge you to do it right now. Please, with all sincerity, repeat this little prayer (talking to Jesus) after me:
Dear Jesus, I know that I’m a sinner . . . and I deserve the penalty of death and hell. . . . Jesus, I’m sorry for my sins, . . . and I want you to take away my sins . . . so that I can go to Heaven to be with you when I die. . . . I want you to be the Lord of my life . . . and make me a new and better person . . . so that I can reflect the changes . . . that you have made in my life. . . . and so that I can share the great news . . . to my friends and family and everyone I know . . . so that they can see You in me. . . . Thank you, Jesus . . . for removing my sins from me . . . so that I can have eternal life. . . . In Your name, Jesus, . . . Amen.
Christian, if you just prayed that prayer with me, I’d like you to just make a comment at the bottom of this page or go to my About/Contact Us page and just let me know what you have done. It is something that all of us can rejoice about and we want to rejoice with you about it. It shouldn’t be anything embarrassing to you to let me/us know about this life changing decision that you have just made that is going to change your life and who you are, for the rest of your life.
The wonderful thing about being a Christian is that when we ask Jesus to take away our sins and to forgive us, He comes in to live in our life (some people even say that He comes in to your heart – same thing) and He will NEVER leave you, no matter what you might do that might displease Him. If you do something again that is a sin, just ask God to take that sin away and forgive you of it, and He will.
Let’s all live a life of True Independence!
In Christ’s Name and in His love,
©2013 Mark Davis
Continued Reading – These articles are strongly recommended: