Memorial Day is a day to remember. Specifically, it is a day to remember those who have fought and died during battle for the cause of freedom. It is one thing to die in freedom. It is another thing entirely to die for freedom. We value sacrifice. Not as much as we used to, and not as much as we should. But we value those who volunteer to pay the ultimate price so others may live in liberty.
Human freedom is an illustration of spiritual freedom. Neither is without cost. They are bought with the sacrifice of people who believe in the idea that humans should be free from oppression. Human freedom is paid for in natural war. Spiritual freedom was paid for with holy blood. But they both have elements of the other. There is a truth that human freedom is ordained by God, and secured with prayer and righteousness. Likewise, spiritual freedom is extended through human efforts by evangelism and various ministries.
I am very appreciative for those men and women who have given the ultimate gift (their life), so that I can live free from communism and socialism. I can’t imagine living in a country where I am not at liberty to travel as I like, spend money as I wish, and worship and serve God without threat of jail or death. I do not take it lightly. I also value the spiritual aspect of my natural freedom as well. I am glad that our forefathers saw the truth about where liberty comes from and how it is secured. I am grateful that they created and died for a country where righteousness could flourish and bring forth the greatest nation the world has ever seen.
But nothing is sweeter than the sacrifices made so that I can live in spiritual liberty, alive in new life, free to walk away from the pathetic mistakes of the past, through the pressing temptation of the present, and focus on the fulfilling future I have in Christ. This reality is made possible by the life and death of two people… the Son of God, and the sons of God.
Jesus is our greatest war hero. He in no way died for himself. He was perfect with perfect holy freedom. He died so that we might live. As a perfect sinless man, He laid His life down so that we imperfect sinful people could be cleansed from and live above sin. He did not have to die. But He did… for us. We must never forget that act. We must remember it. We must treat it as a memorial. It is our key to freedom.
There are some people in this world who do not see the sacrifice of Christ simply as a special altar to remember, but as a sacred act to reproduce. Just as He offered Himself for the mission, they too have gone above and beyond the normal expression of love to a place of self-sacrifice. Men and women of God have given their lives so others may live eternally. Though their eternal freedom had been won at the cross, they took up their own cross and followed Jesus to death so others may step into their own lifestyle of spiritual liberty. It has been said that “the blood of the martyrs is the seed of the church.” (Tertullian)
The Bible tells us that God remembers those who have paid the ultimate sacrifice for the cause of spiritual freedom, and it tells us to remember them as well. The apostle Paul tells us that Christ, “humbled Himself by becoming obedient to the point of death—even to death on a cross. For this reason God highly exalted Him and gave Him the name that is above every name.” (Philippians 2:8-9) God valued the sacrificial death of His only Son.
A Psalmist puts it this way, “The death of His faithful ones is valuable in the Lord’s sight.” (Psalm 116:15) Think about that. God doesn’t just look at us and say, “Yep… you have been delivered from the penalty, power, and pollution of sin. So you should just go out there and happily die for your faith.” No… God takes special care in recognizing sacrifice, even in frail creatures.
In the book of Revelation, the apostle John gives us a glimpse into the future when saints of God defeat Satan, and saying of them, “They conquered him by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony, for they did not love their lives in the face of death.” (Revelation 12:11) These people, like many who went before loved their faith in Christ more than they loved their own lives.
So today I remember the sacrificing soldiers who handed me freedom drenched in their own blood. I remember Jesus, dying (and rising again) so I may live. And I remember the believers who have sacrificed so much so I may hear and experience the Gospel of peace.
[Bible quotes are from the Holman Christian Standard Bible, unless otherwise noted.]
Find more of David’s work at Heart Of Ministry.
My name is David, and I want to know God more, and help other people find Him.