On July 27, 1 the forty-second anniversary of the Korean Armistice, Washington dedicated the Korean War Memorial. This memorial recognizes the “forgotten” veterans and victims of the Korean War. Of the total 472,193 lives lost in the conflict, 415,004 were from Korea. In addition, during those thirty-seven months, 54,246 American service personnel died, almost as many as in the fourteen years of the Vietnam War.
The Korean War Memorial features a triangular field with nineteen stainless steel sculptures of soldiers dressed in full field gear. They appear to be going forward on uncertain terrain in staggered formation. Etched on a mirror-like wall behind this scene are the words, FREEDOM IS NOT FREE.
Freedom? The Lord Jesus told His generation, “if the Son therefore shall make you free, ye shall be free indeed,” John 8:36. Although those who heard Him boasted of political freedom, He promised to make them “free indeed.” There must, then, be a freedom more significant than political freedom. That freedom is spiritual and includes the forgiveness of sins. Sin robs man of peace and brings him under bondage and oppression. The Bible tells us, “All have sinned, and come short of the glory of God,” Romans 3:23. Each of us is constituted a sinner through Adam’s original disobedience. The Bible plainly says that we are born sinners. In addition, we have each made our own choice to sin.
Not only does sin destroy future peace, but it affects our present life. The Lord Jesus referred to sin as bondage when He said, “Whosoever committeth sin is the servant of sin,” John 8:34. This bondage means that we cannot change our condition. Reformation or religious affiliation cannot deliver us from the oppression of sin. As a result, we each need to be delivered from both the penalty of sin in the next world and the tyranny of sin in this life.
When the Lord Jesus spoke of making man “free indeed,” He was offering freedom from sin’s oppression in life and assurance of peace when life is past. This is the message of the Gospel, a message of freedom that God’s Son alone can give. Peter tells us, “Who His own self bare our sins in His own body on the tree,” 1 Peter 2:24. Again he wrote, “Christ also hath once suffered for sins, the Just for the unjust, that He might bring us to God,” 1 Peter 3:18.
FREEDOM IS NOT FREE. Man’s freedom from sin cost Christ more than we can measure. “For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son,” John 3:16. The Lord Jesus His life. He shed His precious blood so that God can justly forgive sin. We read, “The blood of Jesus Christ His Son cleanseth us from all sin” 1 John 1:7.
How can I know this freedom? “Through this Man (Jesus Christ) is preached unto you the forgiveness of sins: and by Him all that believe are justified from all things,” Acts 13:38-39. Those who trust Christ for salvation receive from Him both deliverance from sin’s penalty and the power to be delivered from sin’s bondage. Just as the Korean War Memorial points out that some have paid a price so others could enjoy freedom, the gospel declares that Christ has paid the price for spiritual freedom. Those who enjoy this liberty receive it as a gift. Have you ever acknowledged your need to know your sins forgiven? Have you received the Lord Jesus Christ as your Savior? Do you have this FREEDOM?