As we approach our Independence Day festivities, let’s pause from our activity planning to reflect on the liberty we gained as a result of the Declaration of Independence. First, let’s examine the following statements from the Declaration.
We hold these Truths to be self-evident, that all Men are created equal, That they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness. That to secure these Rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just Powers from the Consent of the Governed, that whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these Ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or abolish it, and to institute a new Government, laying its Foundations on such Principles and organizing its Powers in such Form, as to Them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness.
This document was signed by fifty-six men that recognized that the Lord created us equally and gave us human rights. They understood that we should have free-will to pursue life, liberty, and happiness. They were so firm in these convictions, that they were willing to sacrifice all. The words at the end of the declaration demonstrates their commitment. And for the support of this Declaration, with a firm reliance on the protection of Divine Providence, we mutually pledge to each other our Lives, our Fortunes, and our sacred Honor. These were not empty words as we often hear from our statesmen today, but on the contrary, the signers knew far well that by signing this document they would be signing their death warrants; they were committing high treason against King George. If they were found they would certainly be executed. Benjamin Franklin said, “We must indeed hang together, or most assuredly we shall all hang separately.” The potential implications were fully understood. History shows us that some did either lose their lives and/or family members. Some lost or forfeited their homes and fortunes for the cause of independence. What motivated them to stand against Britain and their earthly sovereign, King George, at the risk of personal peril? The Declaration provides a long-standing list of the King’s tyrannical behavior towards the Colonies.
They knew they would have to have a well-founded system to replace what they had under Britain. The founding fathers strove to weave the Biblical principles and precepts that they were so devoted to throughout the government’s foundational documents. The following quotes are only a few that give insight to their thinking.
George Washington, “You do well to wish to learn our arts and ways of life, and above all, the religion of Jesus Christ. These will make you a greater and happier people than you are.”
John Adams, ”The Christian religion is, above all the religions that ever prevailed or existed in ancient or modern times, the religion of wisdom, virtue, equity and humanity.”
“Suppose a nation in some distant region should take the Bible for their only law book and every member should regulate his conduct by the precepts there exhibited. . . . What a Eutopia – what a Paradise would this region be!”
John Adams and John Hancock (unconfirmed quote), “We recognize no sovereign but God and no king but Jesus.”
Resulting from the signers’ prayerful commitment and from the countless men (and women) that bore the cause of independence on the battlefield, we have been granted the liberty to pursue life and happiness as we see fit. Unlike having a monarchy to order governmental affairs, we the people have the right and obligation to direct our government by voting for leadership that will best uphold our rights and Christian values. We are given this guidance as exampled by two of our founding fathers in the following quotes. John Jay, the original Chief Justice of the US Supreme Court, said, “Providence has given our people a choice of their rulers, and it is the duty as well as the privilege and interest, of a Christian nation to select and to prefer Christians for their rulers.” Noah Webster, Revolutionary Soldier; Judge; Legislator; Educator; said, “When you become entitled to exercise the right of voting for public officers, let it be impressed on your mind that God commands you to choose for rulers, just men that will rule in the fear of God. The preservation of government depends on the faithful discharge of this duty.” Obviously, the voting public has moved away from this guidance. Nevertheless, we the Church should vote in accordance with God values and in support of the continuation of our freedom and rights.
Thank you to our founding fathers that carefully and prayerfully began this great experiment called the United States of America and to each soldier from then to now that have sacrificed time, life, and limb so that we all can continue to be free.
It is wonderful to have the freedom to pursue our rights and liberty. However, the larger blessing is freedom of religion. As believers, we are free to worship as we wish and free to choose Jesus and His liberty which transcends all earthly liberty. The liberty of God means we are no longer bound to our sinful nature which guaranteed our eternal separation from the love of God. The Lord knew we could not be reconciled to Him through our good works. Therefore, He paid the ultimate price for our sins with His death on the cross. His resurrection paved the way for our resurrection to a new life with Him, first on earth and then life everlasting. We are free to choose to be water baptized in Jesus name for the remission of sins and to choose God’s resurrection power in the infilling of the Holy Ghost. We were once dead men walking imprisoned by sin, but now we have been liberated to become heirs of salvation, having the promise of eternal life with Him, the author and finisher of our faith, forever.
-Written By Vicki Schultz