Celebrations and parades broke out all across America in the early months of 1973 as Operation Homecoming brought 591 prisoners of war (POWs) home. The soldiers had been held captive in North Vietnam, some for as long as eight years. The emotions of the freed captives were expressed beautifully by Major General Ed Mechenbier of the United States Air Force: “When we got airborne, and the frailty of being a POW turned into the reality of freedom, we yelled, cried and cheered.”
For a former POW, there’s a clear distinction between living as a prisoner and living as a free man. Many Christ-followers, however, struggle to understand and embrace the freedom they’ve been given. As children of God, we were part of the ultimate rescue mission. Once held captive by sin and under the control of Satan, Jesus rescued us through His death and resurrection. He paid the penalty of our sin. At the moment we trusted Him as our Savior, He set us free from the power of sin. This is the gospel, the good news, that the apostle Paul celebrated and was eager to proclaim:
“I am not ashamed of the gospel, because it is the power of God for the salvation of everyone who believes. For in the gospel a righteousness from God is revealed, a righteousness that is by faith” (Romans 1:16-17).
We should continually celebrate the salvation and freedom God has given us. By His power, we can overcome every struggle with sin:
“In freedom Christ has made us free — completely liberated us; stand fast then, and do not be hampered and held ensnared and submit again to a yoke of slavery” (Galatians 5:1).
Will you embrace and proclaim the freedom you have in Christ? In the words of hymn writer John Newton and Christian artist Chris Tomlin:
“Amazing grace, how sweet the sound that saved a wretch like me. I once was lost but now am found, was blind but now I see. My chains are gone; I’ve been set free. My God, my Savior has ransomed me. And like a flood His mercy reigns. Unending love, amazing grace.”