Every first Sunday of the month is Communion Sunday for us at EFCC. That doesn’t mean that we don’t recognize the implications and mandates of the cross each week (or each day) – we simply dedicate a significant amount of service time at the beginning of each month to intentionally focus on Jesus’ sacrifice for us.
This month, Communion Sunday happens to fall on the Fourth of July weekend, which is quite interesting. What do Jesus and America have in common? Sure, you could play the history card by saying we were founded on Christian principles, but does that really hold any value today? Seems like our nation is more concerned with dabbing and cat videos among other things. Jesus and Christianity definitely aren’t on our “top values” list. Nevertheless, after much thought and input from the Captain, I discovered a connection; freedom. On the Fourth of July, our nation celebrates our freedom as citizens and on Communion Sunday, the Church celebrates our freedom in Christ. Stay with me, I’ll explain.
Ephesians 2 provides a clear picture of the freedom we now have in Jesus. Verses 1-3 outline our state before the cross; we were hopelessly dead. There was no way for us to be made right in the eyes of God. No amount of ritual, regulation or ceremony could ever make us righteous enough. Then verse 4 delivers the two most powerful words in the human existence; “But God.” You see, “but” is a nullifier. Everything said before it doesn’t really matter. It’s all about what comes after it. (That’s why my wife and I try not to use “but” statements when we’re arguing. “I’m sorry that I hurt you, but….” It never ends well.)
In light of salvation and eternity, “but” is an essential piece of our saving grace. Verses 4-10 read, “But God, being rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us, even when we were dead in our transgressions, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved), and raised us up with Him, and seated us with Him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, so that in the ages to come He might show the surpassing riches of His grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus. For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God; not as a result of works, so that no one may boast. For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand so that we would walk in them.”
Isn’t that incredible? We are free from living as slaves to our flesh because of “but God”, because of Jesus, because of the cross. We have new purpose, identity and the promise of His presence forever regardless of our past, present and future. Jesus is our only justification in the eyes of God. The debt He paid through his death and resurrection clears each one of us forever. That’s huge! Should we use this freedom to live however we want? Absolutely not. Our freedom in Christ allows us to live beyond mere inhabitants of the earth. In Him, we are now children of God (Galatians 4:1-7).
Thank You Jesus For The Cross. That’s my response to Ephesians 2, as well as one of the songs that we’ll sing in Resonate this weekend. The songwriters shared how when people individually sing the words, it creates new meaning and depth to the lyrics. I pray that the song ministers to each of our lives as we sing the words together this Fourth of July weekend. If the Son makes you free, you will be free indeed (John 8:36).