Today is June 6. The sun is bright above my window. Wispy clouds paint white the sky. Outside, cars are moving effortlessly over the roads; they weave to shops and malls and a big white church up the hill. People mill about the sidewalks, alive in the new summer heat. Conversation around me is easy, flowing, casual. But here and there I see a passerby wearing a shirt or baseball cap marked with a bright red, white, and blue. Smiles and bright hello’s tumble form their lips, and they pass on their way, almost unaware it seems, to the significance of the tricolor allusion. I watch them go and begin to ponder the meaning, the significance, the many facets of freedom – for here on this sunny afternoon, this life, and the bright eternal life that comes tomorrow.

D-Day landings on Omaha Beach

In 1944 we gave France a kind of freedom when we took the shores of Normandy from an oppressing foe. This was a glorious day, a day of victory, a day to be praised and celebrated. But it was also a day of sacrifice and death, a day when men lost their lives, their friends, their future. But all this was in the name of freedom, in the name of honor and peace.

It almost seems like an injustice that so many men had to die for this abstract thing called freedom. Is it worth the pain and loss? Many today have asked the question, and many should rise up to answer that, yes, freedom is worth that much, and indeed it would not be justice to allow our people go undefended. Yes, the freedom to live and worship is worth that much.

But there is another freedom that is also often misunderstood – a greater freedom, one also bought by blood. It is also a freedom of many facets – of love and grace and joy, peace and everlasting pleasure. It is the freedom of God, given to us by the priceless blood of Christ, His Son. It too has been called an injustice, a kind of cosmic abuse – unnecessary, heartless, even cruel. Thoughts like these remind us of the many misunderstandings that the workings of freedom face. They remind us that we have a duty to perform, not only a duty to defend these freedoms, but to defend the reasons that we do.

"Calvary" by

And humility is why we defend freedom. The act itself does not make a thing worthy, but the motive. Men did not merely meet in war and fall in gunfire. The motive is important, and in these men we find a noble, self-sacrificing love for family at home and fellow lives beside them. They fought for this reason and did not die in vain. Without their service, our enemies would have marched victorious into the free world, and we would have been living and dying in the tyrannical result of an attitude that was not completely selfless. Freedom for another is why they gave their lives.

Likewise is it with our great and noble Victor. Some say His sacrifice was worthless, that it is hard to understand why God would do such a thing as send His Son to die. But the truth is far from these, far, far and away more wonderful and glorious, because both the Father and the Son knew and understood the cause for the greatest sacrifice that was to come, and knew that its end would be honor to God and freedom for His beloved children.

In Christ’s death was fulfilled these both. In His sacrifice He reconciled the just wrath of God and His embracing love. In this act He preserved God’s righteousness, so that a holy God could love unholy man, so that the wrath of God against evil would be swallowed up in His sacrifice and we would be free from sin. And He did this to glorify His Father and to make us His children.

Humility precedes the greatest acts that gives the greatest gifts. Christ humbled Himself to give the greatest gift, salvation; He became a man to set us free. We were since birth under an oppressing foe, one over which we could not conquer – a tyranny in which we ourselves participated and wrongly loved. But when God touched our lives, we realized the horror we had shrouded upon ourselves, and discovered the lowly Lamb Who had crushed the serpent’s head.

June 6, 1944

And then we were free. From the bondage of sin we had been taken, and we were taken to a land where our souls were free to praise God and love Him, where our consciences no more haunted us with visions of our wickedness. We were free to experience God’s love as only someone righteous in His sight could experience, and we are free to live Heaven through no acts of our own.

And this is true freedom. But as this day, this sixth of June, now fades into the calm, cool dark of night, we can remember also this freedom’s dimmer mirror, the freedom from mortal tyranny and manmade oppression. And we can use this day of victory as a cause to recall our own spiritual deliverance and our own precious Deliverer. For it is because of days like these that we have the freedom to read God’s Word, to proclaim His Name, to love Him in our hearts and in our homes; for it is days like these gave us the freedom to be free.

Christ died to set us free.