The Real Independence Day

During my teenage years, my favorite band without a doubt was the Christian ska-core-turned-rock outfit Five Iron Frenzy. After they broke up, I put them aside for a few years, venturing instead down the rabbit trails of blues rock, blues and psychedelic rock which ultimately and naturally led me to Jimi Hendrix who is now my favorite musician.

But sometime late last year I happened to run across the long-awaited FIF documentary that front man Reese Roper had been working on for what seemed like decades. In watching that film, I was reminded just how many really good songs the band had. I was initially drawn into Five Iron Frenzy by their silliness, listening to the song "Superpowers" with my brother and my friend Grant who owned the band's second album, titled "Our Newest Album Ever". It was because of the band's sense of humor that I started listening. But the greatest strength of Five Iron Frenzy was its ability to make you laugh one minute then strike a deep emotional nerve the next. Look no further than the lyrics to Four Kids In Memphis—a true story about some kids who offered Reese money to write a song about themfor the light-hearted side:

Four kids in Memphis,
should pay me five dollars.
I wrote this song and they said they would pay me,
and I want to buy a hot dog.

As for the emotional side, the final song on “Our Newest Album Ever” is one of the rawest I have ever heard. I've listened to it probably one thousand times since I first heard it in 1998, but I still get a bit emotional whenever it comes through the earbuds—especially when I get to the end and Reese sings these words:

Healing hands of God have mercy on our unclean souls once again.
Jesus Christ, light of the world burning bright within our hearts forever.
Freedom means love without condition, without a beginning or an end.
Here's my heart, let it be forever Yours,
Only You can make every new day seem so new.

The reason I even bring this up is because of all of the times I have listened to this song, I don't think I ever paid attention to the key phrase, "Freedom means love without condition, without a beginning or an end."

It stuck out to me this time because of that key word freedom. Independence Day is today in the United States of America, and we often talk about freedom. Hearing this song made think about the concept in a different way. I didn't write the lyrics, so I am not going to try to interpret the author's meaning, But what they mean to me begins with the most famous scripture in the Bible, John 3:16:

For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.

God had such a great love for us that he gave his son as a sacrifice so that we may no longer be bound by the chains of sin, but instead have freedom in the love of Jesus Christ. Paul writes about this to the Romans:

For we know that our old self was crucified with him so that the body ruled by sin might be done away with, that we should no longer be slaves to sin—because anyone who has died has been set free from sin (6:6-7).

Jesus himself also spoke about slavery to sin:

Very truly I tell you, everyone who sins is a slave to sin. Now a slave has no permanent place in the family, but a son belongs to it forever. So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed. (John 8:34-36)

Jesus fulfilled His conditional statement “if the Son sets you free” when he carried our sins to cross and died a sacrificial death. The unconditional love of Christ frees us to live our lives knowing that whatever happens, whatever we do, he will always love us. He loved us before we were born, and he will love us forevermore. We are free of the curse of the law, by which we deserved death (Galations 3:13). This is why Jesus said, “I am the way, the truth and the life” (John 14:6); it is through Jesus that we have eternal life. We do not have to worry about being perfect, being bound to the Law of Moses. Instead we accept the fact that we are sinful in nature, that we are flawed and embrace God’s love and grace.

So although we celebrate our freedom on July 4th, the day you accepted Jesus Christ as your savior, confessed your sins, and believed in Him is the real Independence Day. 

That my friends, is freedom. Happy Independence Day.

Currently Listening To:

Jimi Hendrix
Experience Hendrix: The Best of Jimi Hendrix

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