On this day in 1862, just after the Battle of Antietam, Abraham Lincoln issued a proclamation calling on the rebellious Southern states to return their allegiance before the end of the year. If they failed to do so, their slaves would be declared free men. As no state responded to the threat, the Emancipation Proclamation was issued on January 1, 1863. One result of this action was the recruitment of black soldiers to the Union, resulting in nearly 180,000 men enlisting during the remainder of the war. Lincoln considered the proclamation “the central act of my administration, and the greatest event of the nineteenth century.”
But the first proclamation came on September 22, 100 days before the final edict.
Here’s the lesson for us today. A declaration of freedom is not the same thing as freedom. Jesus died to set us free – 2,000 years ago. But until we accept that gift personally, freedom will remain beyond our grasp.
On the cross, Jesus said, “It is finished.” He paid the price. Your freedom has been purchased for all time. The next move is yours.