With Independence Day upon us, I know many Americans are preparing to celebrate our freedom from British rule. At the same time, some may have heavy hearts right now across the country. It seems for one group to gain a freedom, another must relinquish theirs. Our religious freedom as Christians is under a lot of fire right now. While I love the words of The Declaration of Independence, a document we have clung to for our country’s preservation, I have been more motivated in the past week to look to God’s word.
I think it is important to remember that Jesus Christ is our true Founding Father. If we are looking around right now thinking things have gone grim in our country, how much more do we think the Father must hurt after sending His son to die on a cross after his ministry? Sin would be all encompassing and all consuming had it not been for the Savior. We know true life comes from death to self…a death from the things of this world. Now, we not only have the way to our Father as believers, but through Jesus, we’re given the model of discipleship to lead the lost to Him.
John 14:6 “Jesus said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.”
James talks about the ‘law of liberty’ twice. It is first referring to the gospel, not a law of enforcements, but an offer of pardon based on God’s truth that is offered freely. It is a declaration of righteousness and salvation by Christ, and a promise of eternal life through Him.
“But whoever looks intently into the perfect law that gives freedom, and continues in it—not forgetting what they have heard, but doing it—they will be blessed in what they do.” James 1:25
Christ was the only one who could fulfill the “perfect law” of the Old Testament with his perfect liberty. Freedom from the bondage of sin allows us to obey God through our faith acceptance of Him. Christ alone can set us free and give us true liberty (John 8:36).
James next mentions the “law of liberty” in James 2:12. He is warning that we should not show partiality or be concerned about how someone else is upholding the law. We should look inwardly to be sure we are acting in the Spirit. We should heed this advice now in the face of our government. Not pardoning or bowing to things that are against God’s will, but making sure we are reacting in a Christ-centered fashion.
“So speak and so act as those who are to be judged under the law of liberty.”
PURSUIT OF HAPPINESS
The world would have us pursue many things that bring a false sense of happiness, fortune, fame, authority, and gratification. Any happiness derived from these things can easily be ripped away. God says to turn away from these things! “But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.” Matthew 6:33
Where should our true happiness come from? David tells us in Psalm 1:1-2–
“Blessed is the one who does not walk in step with the wicked or stand in the way that sinners take or sit in the company of mockers, but whose delight is in the law of the Lord, and who meditates on his law day and night.”
DECLARATION OF INDEPENDENCE
In 2 Corinthians chapter 3, Paul talks about how happy he is with the Corinthians. He says that he doesn’t need letters of recommendation because they themselves are a better testimony than a piece of paper. It was common for early Christians to carry a letter of recommendation rather than just saying “Paul sent me here.” He was so proud of the way that they were showing Christ in the way they were living that he felt it was better than a plain old piece of paper. He said God used him to be the pen to write on their hearts.
I am not at all discrediting a historical document of our country’s freedom. What I am saying is that at the end of the day, it’s still a piece of paper. What’s more important is what is written on our hearts. Our Declaration of Independence should be in the way we live our lives–free from the bondage of sin! True sons and daughters of the liberty in Christ, looking to love our neighbors! That is where we should be putting our hope for this country during these trying times. Where the words of man may come to fail, God’s word is always true, and His liberty bell continuously rings.
God bless America!
May His face shine on each of you,