I would guess one of the more common themes for July newsletters would be that of freedom and the fourth of July. It is one of my more common themes looking back on past newsletters of my ministry. And it is once again this year. But we are going to look at it in a different light.

The fourth of July is a great celebration that brings back many memories of hot days of family gatherings, picnics, being cooled by the lake, pool or backyard water fights; and of course, we can’t forget fireworks reminding us of the rocket’s red glare, the bombs bursting in air.  Imagine if you will this scenario: As we are celebrating our national freedoms we discuss at the picnic tables and in our lawn chairs, the desire to be once again under the thumbs of the nations that once ruled us. Can you imagine such a discussion? “It sure would be nice to be annexed by Great Britain and pay them our taxes and tributes.” Or “you know I heard that communism is pretty cool.” Or “Maybe we should no longer be a democracy and instead be ruled by a dictator.”

Of course this is exaggeration, a hyperbole for a point. As crazy as this scenario may sound, the Apostle Paul writes to the Romans and reminds us that it would be just as crazy to be freed from sin and then continue in it, in reality becoming a slave once again.

For we know that our old self was crucified with him (Jesus) so that the body of sin might be done away with, that we should no longer be slaves to sin— because anyone who has died has been freed from sin.

Romans 6:6,7

For our sermon series this summer, we have been worshipping under the theme: Summer of Sanctification.  All too often, people think that summer time is a time to relax and enjoy, eat, drink and be merry, if you will. And this societal norm can also become a temptation for Christians. We get out of the scheduled routine. We are away from home, away from other Christians, even away from God. Why not just give in to sin? Because we have been freed from sin and the eternal effects of sin to which we were once slaves. Christ freed us. We were buried with Christ to our slavery to sin when we were baptized, when we were sanctified by the Holy Spirit, when we were set apart to be free. Why would we enslave ourselves again?

Read the Apostle’s Paul’s letter to the Romans, chapter 6. Come to church this summer and be reminded again through the examples of Scripture that our lives as Christians is one of sanctification, living for Christ who lived and died for us. This is the summer of sanctification. Live this summer and everyday knowing you are free from the condemnation that your sins deserve. Live this summer and every day, not enslaved to keep sinning, but free to live for the Lord.

To live any other way as a Christian, well it would be as crazy as celebrating the 4th  of July and all the freedoms that we have and in the same moment wishing that we were enslaved to other nations.

Keep Christ First!

Pastor Chris Christenson