Today, June 12, 2017, the Philippines is celebrating its Independence Day. It has been 119 years since our country achieved independence from Spain after more than 300 years under their rule. But the declaration of independence on June 12, 1898 was sadly not recognized by Spain and the United States of America. Spain even ceded the Philippines to the USA in the Treaty of Paris which prompted the Philippine-American war. Late on July 4, 1946, the USA granted independence to the Filipinos. The two dates continue to be a point of debate among historians even until now — what is the proper date of our Independence Day?
But what about the date when we received Jesus Christ as our Lord and Savior. Can you still remember your freedom day — freedom from the clutches of sin and darkness?
Paul wrote about bondage and freedom in Romans 6:20-23.
First, we were slaves to the power of sin. Before Jesus Christ came into our life, we had no obligation to do what is right and good. We were actually free to do anything that we want — we are actually now ashamed of the things that we used to do. If not for Jesus, then we were doomed eternally.
Second, freedom in Jesus Christ means that we become servants of God. This seems to be a contradiction or a paradox but it is not. We are set free to serve God and the people. We are now obligated to do what is right and pursue holiness in every thing that we do. We seek the will of God, and follow it as a testimony of our commitment to our Lord and Savior. We embrace life-giving and life-affirming situations, and protest against any form of activity that leads to death and death-like circumstances. This is our kind of life the moment we were marked as “Christian” — we belong to Christ, and must follow Christ.
Let us remember our freedom day, and seek out those who are still in bondage and let them know how it is to be free in Christ Jesus.
Rev. Francis Neil G. Jalando-on
June 12, 2017