By Bill Fix
At this time of year (Independence Day), we often remember the sacrifices others have made for us to enjoy the freedoms we share in the USA. We recently saw a decorative sign in a home décor store that read, “Only two defining forces have ever offered to die for you: Jesus Christ and the American G.I. One died for your soul; the other for your freedom.” However, some major differences exist between the sacrifices made by soldiers and our Savior:
- Soldiers endure many hardships: training, absence from family and friends, mental trauma, and risk of injury & death. (See 2 Tim. 2:3)
- Jesus endured hardships unlike what anyone else ever faced, including direct temptation from Satan after a 40-day fast (Mt. 4:1-11), homelessness (Lk. 9:58), betrayal by one of his closest friends (Mt. 26:21-25; Lk. 22:47-48), and a criminal’s execution (Lk. 23:32-33). “Seeing then that we have a great High Priest who has passed through the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold fast our confession. For we do not have a High Priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but was in all points tempted as we are, yet without sin” (Heb. 4:14-15).
- All Americans benefit from the service of our soldiers who fought to gain and keep our independence, even if some choose to protest it.
- While Christ died for all mankind (2 Pet. 3:9), only those “who are in Christ Jesus” and walk “according to the Spirit” will have the benefit of “no condemnation” (Rom. 8:1).
- We frequently recognize active duty military members and veterans for their service. This common courtesy shows respect for them, especially since many made a conscious decision to enlist.
- How often do we express gratitude for the sacrifice of Jesus? “Just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life a ransom for many” (Mt. 20:28).
“Greater love has no one than this, than to lay down one’s life for his friends. You are My friends if you do whatever I command you.” — Jn. 15:13-14