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      Nurturing people in the image of God since 1868.                                                                          POB 397/520 Dry Creek Rd./Smithville, TN

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The High Cost of Being Free!

Over two hundred twenty-five years ago the great American patriot Patrick Henry spoke words that continue to stir the souls of freedom-loving people everywhere. He said, "Is life so dear, or peace so sweet as to be purchased at the price of chains and slavery? Forbid it, Almighty God! I know not what course others may take, but as for  me, give me liberty or gi  ve me death!" Soon after Henry spoke these words, the Revolutionary War proved that freedom does, indeed, come at a high price. Thousands upon thousands died so that America could become the land of the free.

The Civil War gave witness again to the high cost of freedom. President Lincoln issued "The Emancipation Proclamation" which stated that as of January 1, 1863, slaves "shall be then, thenceforward,  and forever free " Freedom from slavery came at the price of a bloody Civil War which cost hundreds of thousands of American lives in the North and South. A letter from Lincoln to a Mrs. Bixby of Boston reveals the extreme cost some paid, on the battlefield and off, so that others could be free. The letter reads as follows: "Dear Madam, I have been shown in the files of the Adjudicate General of Massachusetts that you are the mother of five sons who died gloriously on the field of baffle. I feel how weak and fruitless must be any words of mine that would attempt to beguile you from the grief of a loss so overwhelming. But I cannot refrain from tendering to you the consolation that may be found in the thanks of the republic they died to save. I pray that our Heavenly Father may assuage the anguish of your bereavement, and leave you only the cherished memory of the loved lost, and the solemn pride that must be yours to have laid so costly a sacrifice upon the altar of freedom. Yours very sincerely and respectfully, Abraham Lincoln." Before and after Lincoln wrote those words, many paid the high cost of freedom by laying and sacrificing their very lives on the "altar of freedom."

The Gospel reminds us that political and personal freedom is not the only kind of freedom that comes at a high  cost. Romans 6 explains that Jesus died for  our sins and that we must die to our sins. After explaining our need to die to sin and be are buried with Christ in baptism, the apostle Paul says, "But God be thanked that though you were the servants of sin, yet you obeyed from the heart that form of doctrine to which you were delivered. And having been set free from sin, you became slaves of righteousness" (vs 17-18). May God help us as Americans and as Christians to be willing to pay the high cost of being free.

Dan Gulley
Smithville church of Christ