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I remember so vividly the flag that hung in my classroom as a child. How I loved to stand, hand over heart, promising my loyalty to the stars and stripes. My heart still thrills to see our beautiful flag fluttering over schoolhouses, raised after Olympic victories, and waving festively during parades. The red, white, and blue remind me of the strength, the courage, and the sacrifice of those who have fought to maintain freedom for the American people.
But there is a greater freedom that has been won for all people; a freedom that I also remember when I gaze at our beloved flag.
The white stripes of the flag shine so brightly,
without any stains.
But no person can boast of such purity. The Bible says, “All have sinned, and come short of the glory of God” (Romans 3:23). This sin leaves a deadly stain on our hearts that separates us from God, a stain that cannot be wiped away by any human effort. Only Jesus Christ, God’s Son who became a man, has ever lived a pure, sinless life. And this perfect Man is the only one who can remove the stain of sin from our hearts and make us pure in the sight of a holy God.
Red stripes remind me of the result of sin.
The Bible says, “without shedding of blood is no remission” of sins (Hebrews 9:22). Moral living, giving money to worthy causes, good works, even baptismal water cannot wash away the stain of our sin. Because of His great love for us, God sent His Son to earth to take our sin on Himself and be punished for it in our place. It is his blood—“the blood of Jesus Christ”—that “cleanses us from all sin” (1 John 1:7). The book of Isaiah in the Bible puts it this way: “He was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement for our peace was upon him; and with his stripes we are healed” (Isaiah 53:5). But Jesus’ human body did not stay wounded and bruised. He rose to life again, conquering death.
The stars remind me of heaven.
Like standing under the evening sky, gazing at the star-scattered blue of the US flag reminds me of heaven, a place of ultimate freedom—free from sin, sickness, and death—and a place of eternal life with God. The Bible promises that in heaven we will shine like stars forever (Daniel 12:3).
But heaven cannot be entered by hoping to make it by chance or by working to earn it. You must admit that no other way can save you from the rightful punishment of your sins, and instead believe in Christ’s sacrifice for you. Place your trust in Christ alone as the one who became your substitute and died for your sins. The Bible tells us that “He that believes on the Son hath everlasting life: and he that believes not the Son shall not see life; but the wrath of God abides on him” (John 3:36).
Would you like to experience the greatest freedom of all—freedom from sin’s consequences and the fear of death? Does your heart yearn to live forever with God in heaven? If so, you can tell God your heart’s desire with words like these:
Dear Heavenly Father, I know that I am a sinner, undeserving of your love. But I believe that your Son, Jesus, took my punishment by dying on the cross, and that he conquered death by rising to life again three days later. I’m placing all my trust in Jesus for my forgiveness and eternal life. Please help me to live to please You. Amen.