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by Van Yandell

Romans 8:1-2
“Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus, because through Christ Jesus the law of the Spirit who gives life has set you free from the law of sin and death.”

I became acquainted with Charles in the late 1980s. He was a World War II veteran who joined the United States Army immediately after the Pearl Harbor attack on December 7, 1941. Charles shared stories of his experiences on D-Day and in France and Germany in the 1940s. Without adequate food and medicine, he and thousands of his brothers in arms endured conditions that many in today’s generations would refuse to consider.

Months of exposure to freezing temperatures, sleepless nights, and clothing incapable of withstanding the bitter cold made their suffering incomprehensible. Resistance to diseases was at a low point in their lives, and many died of pneumonia and other respiratory conditions. Their hardships compounded upon each other, and the chance of survival was minimal. Some historians believe more died from the harsh conditions than from enemy fire. The presence of the Nazis, intent on their death, was ever-present.

For the millions of Americans who take our freedom for granted, it most certainly wasn’t free. The amendments to our precious United States Constitution state many of those freedoms that were bought by those who endured the hardships of war. Freedom was paid for with the blood and lives of millions of Americans. To shrug off their sacrifices is unconscionable. Using our precious flag as an article of clothing or tablecloth is as un-American as burning it. The flag is a symbol of freedom, but to those who desecrate it, the level of pure ignorance is beyond imagination.

World War II claimed over 400,000 American lives. From the Revolutionary War (1776-1783) until the present, over 1.3 million lives have been lost in wars. Countless others have come home with missing limbs, paralyzed, or suffering from Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). The mental anguish of living through war experiences has perpetuated thousands of suicides among veterans. Twenty-two servicemen die from suicide every day in America. While fireworks are a dynamic part of the celebration of our Independence Day, many combat veterans find them distressing and triggering, accelerating their PTSD, according to Veterans Affairs.

Since the 9-11 terrorist attacks, over 30,000 active military personnel and veterans have taken their own lives. Many more have died by suicide than have been killed in action. The suffering to preserve our freedoms has been unimaginable to today’s Americans, preoccupied with hedonistic pursuits. We certainly do not desire another war to wake up our country to the price paid for our personal, religious, and organizational rights. To those who understand, we must tell those who do not.

Matthew 24:6
“And ye shall hear of wars and rumors of wars: see that ye be not troubled: for all these things must come to pass, but the end is not yet.”

Based on scripture and the concept of man’s inhumanity to man, wars are and will continue to be a part of human existence. This does not make them necessary or make the servicemen any lesser heroes. Even God initiated wars between the Israelites and their enemies. God, of course, did not consider them enemies for political or imperialistic reasons as men do. It was because of their idolatry, and He did not want His people influenced by them.

Deuteronomy 20:17
“But thou shalt utterly destroy them; namely, the Hittites, and the Amorites, the Canaanites, and the Perizzites, the Hivites, and the Jebusites; as the LORD thy God hath commanded thee.”

God will not tolerate being usurped by idols. While we in America must memorialize, care for, and admire the sacrifice of our veterans, all glory belongs to our Creator. Freedom is a cherished possession. As much as we enjoy our freedoms in our earthly existence, we have an eternal freedom that surpasses anything we could ever imagine.

The Old Testament Jew lived according to the laws of Moses stated in Exodus, Leviticus, and Deuteronomy. In order to receive atonement for sin, they were required to offer a blood sacrifice on an altar, such as in the Jerusalem Temple on Mt. Moriah.

John 1:17
“The law was given by Moses, but grace and truth came through Christ Jesus.” This verse gives us the greatest definition in the Holy Bible of the change for all mankind that Jesus made. No longer is anyone in the bondage of the law, but we have a freedom bought by the blood of Christ Jesus on the cross.

By being born of a virgin (Matthew 1:31) and living a perfect, sinless life (1 Peter 2:22), He was willing to offer Himself as a blood sacrifice for the sins of the world. We must always teach that eternal salvation is attained by a faith-based belief (Ephesians 2:8) in Christ Jesus crucified (Matthew 27:35) for the remission of sin (1 John 1:9) and resurrected (Matthew 28:6). We have freedoms many do not accept, realize, appreciate, or believe. Our servicemen, such as my friend Charles, paid a very dear price for our earthly freedoms. Christ Jesus suffered a horrible death on the Cross of Calvary for our eternal freedom from sin.

John 15:13
“Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends.” Remember, the only ones to ever lay down their lives for you were Jesus and the American serviceman.

Van Yandell is a retired Industrial Arts teacher, an ordained gospel evangelist, and a commissioned missionary.

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