Free Indeed!

bgh_liberation flyer_2014
We in the British Isles owe the freedom we enjoy to the service men and women who were prepared to lay down their lives for their country in World War Two. In our busy lives it is easy to forget those dark days or sadly take for granted the freedom we enjoy today.  It is therefore fitting to celebrate this special day; serving as a reminder that freedom is not cheap, and provoking our hearts to thankfulness for the many privileges we enjoy. One wonders what would have been our lot if everything went contrary and we would have lost in that awful five year conflict.
W.W.2 was commonly known as "the war to end all wars"! So great a price was paid and so many lost their lives in the quest to gain victory once for all. Unfortunately as we look around us it is evident that conflicts continue among nations and among individuals, and the quest to end all wars was not as successful as once anticipated.
For five long years our little Island was cut off from the outside world while under enemy occupation. Although for the main part the German officers were hospitable, certain regulations were enforced: such as curfews and confiscations of any forms of communication with the outside world. Little handmade crystal radio sets were used to listen in to broadcasts from the UK but only in secret for fear of severe punishment. Towards the end of Jersey's  occupation there was a grave shortage of food and supplies which was relieved in part with the welcome visits of S.S. Vega bringing Red Cross parcels containing very much needed basic supplies.
Picture from
When at last on May 8th 1945 the occupying forces surrendered, news quickly found its way to Jersey with welcome news that 'our dear Channel Islands' were going to be liberated the day after. Everyone who was able made their way to the Royal Square where official announcements were made which made our Island officially liberated. Down at the Weighbridge the German Swastika flag was replaced by the Union flag once more and it there flew in all its glory from its rightful place outside the Pomme d'Or Hotel, which had earlier been taken over as the enemy headquarters.
Could any of us imagine what joy everyone must have been feeling back then? Free after living for five years in fear and in the constant shadow of an occupying force that was forbidding people to live freely. Although liberation finally came, it took several years for Islanders to get back to some kind of normality. The Island had quite literally been brought to its knees with trade, agriculture and finance having to start from scratch - but we got there in the end!
Photo by Harry Shepherd
And here we are today living in the good that liberation brought us all those years ago. But are we really free? If we were honest with ourselves we would have to admit that there are realities we are afraid of and prefer not to think about. We seek to dismiss these niggling questions from our minds and fill time with much busyness, and our minds with much noise in order to drown out the constant reminders that we must face these realities in the end.
Here is the raw truth - we are all afraid of dying because this is something we cannot escape from. We are afraid of promised judgement, which is also certain. Deep down we know that we are not prepared for this impending doom, in spite of pretending so well. We are afraid of facing the living and Holy God one day and in an attempt to suppress this fear some deny Him altogether, others partake in religious activities, while others just attempt to live a good life in the hope everything will turn out right in the end!
But God never meant for anyone to live in fear and uncertainty and did something wonderful in order that you and I might be "Free indeed".

While it cannot be denied that one day each of us in turn will die because of the presence of sin in our lives; the following quotation is in essence a bad news, good news statement:
"... The wages of sin is death;
the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord."
Romans 6: 23.
How gracious of the Author of such words to quickly follow that startling news with the remedy for our fearful circumstances. Does God have the answer to our fears? Can He really do something for us? And is He willing? The answer to all these questions is a resounding YES!
Long ago, another battle took place at a place called Calvary. It was a conflict like the world had never seen before. It was not a conflict between nations and armies but it involved One Man and a multitude of people rejecting Him. This is the place where the Lord Jesus was nailed to a cruel cross, lifted up, and left to die!

One would think looking from our perspective that He was a tragic victim of some terrible plot against Him. After all, what had He done to make everyone express themselves against Him in this base manner? He had done nothing but bless those with whom He came into contact.
the cross
He did things for needy people that no one else could do while at the same time refraining from doing other things that were normal for the rest of us. Because He was the Son of God He was perfect in every way and He could not sin. Yet He was dying on the centre cross as if He was the worst of all offenders! How could this be?
The cross may have been what the human race offered to Him but His real reason for being there was to accomplish a work no one else could do - once for all time. The Bible tells us that He bore in His own body what our sin deserved, and died as a substitute for people like us. Our sin caused Him indescribable suffering so that we might be "Free indeed". What a tremendous price He paid for our real freedom, and it never needs paying for again! All those years we have been denying our fears of the reality of dying, judgment and all that is to follow, and all the while the Bible has been telling us that Jesus became human so that He might face death and through His death defeat the enemy of our souls: "And deliver them who through fear of death were all their lifetime subject to bondage." Hebrews 2: 10.
This has been our real problem - we without the living God in our lives are under enemy occupation. We are bound by our sin and its consequences and without hope without the living God to come to the rescue. Thankfully He did come to the rescue but we have a part to play in all this. God requires us to have a certain attitude to our condition and His remedy.
"[God] now commandeth all men every where to repent."
Acts 17: 30.
That is to about turn about in our thoughts about our condition and agree with God about the sin that has separated us from Him for which Jesus paid for in full on the cross. Sin is something we must turn from and extremely dislike.  What must we then do? The Bible tells us to:
"Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and thou shalt be saved."
Acts 16: 31.
That is to trust fully, believe completely, and lean wholly on God's beloved Son who is God's only remedy and our only hope.

Could we imagine what joy it must be to live without the fear of dying, without the fear of facing a holy God unprepared, and without the fear of being judged? This is a wonderful reality in the lives of every true believer who has trusted in what Jesus accomplished on the cross. This could be your wonderful reality also the moment you put your complete trust in the One who made this precious promise:
"If the Son therefore shall make you free,
ye shall be free indeed."
John 8: 36.

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