Chaplain (Capt.) Ronaldo Pascua
Strong Bonds Chaplain, U.S. Army-Pacific
It is the Fourth of July week.
Right now we are preparing for festivities and to celebrate the birth of our nation as we enjoy a day off with family gatherings, barbecues, parades and, of course, fireworks.
It may be a busy time, with the planning, preparation and execution of activities, but in the hustle and bustle of celebrating, we must take time to remember that the freedom we enjoy in America today is because of the price that others have paid.
More than 200 years ago, men and women gave their lives for the sake of freedom. They left their homes, their comforts and ultimately died so that others could be free.
We must remember all of those who give their lives, even now, to keep our freedom.
We must also remember that freedom isn’t free.
As I reflect on the sacrifices of these brave service members, it makes me reflect on my own faith and my belief in the one who died 2,000 years ago. The Bible teaches that he gave his life so that all people from every nation might be free. The Bible says, “He gave his life to purchase freedom for everyone. This is the message God gave to the world at just the right time.”
I encourage you to reflect on your own faith as well.
I understand that the majority of religions seek to reconcile to God, in essence to free man from separation from God. As you reflect on the spiritual freedom offered by your faith background, I would like to share why I celebrate my spiritual freedom.
I am no longer a slave to sin. I believe Jesus paid the price for me. Jesus said, “I tell you the truth, everyone who sins is a slave of sin. A slave is not a permanent member of the family, but a son is part of the family forever. So, if the son sets you free, you are truly free.”
I believe I have been freed from sin. Sin separates me from a holy God. That results in guilt, shame and feeling bound. But I discovered that because Jesus offers me forgiveness, I don’t have to carry my guilt around with me. I am no longer bound by my past.
What a wonderful thing to reflect on — forgiveness of our sins and freedom from guilt, condemnation and hell. That is something I can celebrate every day and for eternity.
I hope we will all reflect on our own spiritual freedom, which is greater than political freedom. Call on God and trust him to be with you this week. The apostle Paul said, “But whenever someone turns to the Lord, the veil is taken away. For the Lord is the spirit, and wherever the spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom.”