THE DECLARATION OF INDEPENDENCE: THE COST OF FREEDOM

At the end of a seemingly uneventful summer day, Britain’s King George III wrote the day’s activities in his diary: “July 4, 1776. Nothing happened today.” Oh, how mistaken he was! Something did happen that day. Fifty-six brave men pledged their lives to each other and signed their names to the Declaration of Independence.

The Declaration of Independence is grounded upon the premise that (1) every individual derives their rights from the Great Designer of the universe, and (2) the chief purpose of government is to ensure and protect those rights. No other document ever penned upon paper seeks to wed those two esteemed truths together. Within the 1,321 words of the revered document, God is mentioned four times: twice at the beginning and twice toward the end. Our Forefathers referred to the God of heaven and earth as “Nature’s God,” the “Creator,” “the Supreme Judge,” and “Divine Providence.” The chief presupposition of the Declaration of Independence is: “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.” These men were clothed with principles and truths that were anchored in “Nature’s Laws and Nature’s God.”

Of the fifty-six men who resolutely signed their names on the historical document, twenty-six were lawyers, nine merchants, six farmers, six physicians, two future soldiers, two statesmen, one planter, one surveyor, one shoemaker, one minister and one printer. Eighteen of the signers were under forty years of age, and three were in their twenties. The oldest was Ben Franklin, who was seventy years old. They declared to separate the thirteen colonies from the tyrannical rule and oppression of the King of England. These brave men, on behalf of their respective colonies, declared themselves to be free and independent from the power and authority of any other force than that of Divine Providence, whose protection they evoked. What those men signed was more than a document, but the destiny of a nation.

As soon as these men penned their names on what is now a document that is two-hundred and forty-one years old, they immediately made themselves traitors to England. An agonizingly long, bloody and horrific battle(s) ensued before the fruits of the Declaration of Independence yielded bountiful results. Many lives were lost in the American Revolutionary War, and not one of the 56 men who signed their names escaped the struggle for independence without suffering grievously.

What happened to those 56 men who signed the Declaration of Independence? Five signers were captured by the British as traitors and were tortured until they died. Twelve had their homes ransacked and burned. Most lost their businesses and their livelihoods taken from them. Two lost their sons serving in the Revolutionary Army. Another had two sons captured. Nine of the 56 fought and died from their wounds or from the hardships of the War. They knew the possible consequences and penalties that awaited, yet they signed anyway, pledging their lives, their fortunes and their sacred honor.

One truth is certain, freedom was and is not free. For that one prize, freedom, these men signed a declaration and suffered horribly. Two-hundred and forty-one years later we must not forget the price paid for freedom nor forget the spiritual and political heritage of the birth of this nation. To forget our heritage is to head down a road that will eventually lead us away from liberty back unto tyranny. In a day when political correctness sees patriotism as offensive, it is a position that will find liberty being swallowed up in the quicksand of weakness and cowardice that will lead to loss of freedoms.

One can’t help but wonder in the day in which we live where so many want something for nothing; who feel like they are owed something without earning it or sacrificing for it; who don’t believe in personal responsibility; who contend there are no eternal principles on which to base one’s life or govern society; would such individuals pay one-tenth the price those 56 brave men paid for freedom and liberty? The answer is self-evident.

As we pause to celebrate the birthday of this Nation, let us not forget the sacrifice and commitment of those fifty-six stalwart men. While our Forefathers battled the British, we today are waging a battle for the very soul of America. It is a battle of greed versus sacrifice, spiritually versus secularism, God versus godlessness, good versus evil, decency versus indecency, right versus wrong, principles versus political correctness, responsibility versus irresponsibility. To the observing eye, that for which the signers of the Declaration of Independence gave so much, appears to be slowly slipping away from you and me.

The freedoms for which our Forefather fought and sacrificed for demands that we never yield to the tyrants of vice over virtue, for when we do we will discover the brave signers penned their names in vain. May it not be so.

Have Blessed and Safe Fourth of July.

Blessings,
Dr. Dan

 

TRUE FREEDOM

At the end of a seemingly uneventful summer day, Britain’s King George III wrote the day’s activities in his diary: “July 4, 1776. Nothing happened today.” Oh, how mistaken he was! Something did happen that day. Fifty-six brave men pledged their lives to each other and signed their names to the Declaration of Independence. The United States of America was born. FlagAndCrossjpg

As the nation pauses on July 4th to celebrate its 238th birthday, we must ask if we are keeping alive the fires of freedom and respect for life and human dignity inherent in the ideals of our Founding Fathers. Are we still standing for the principles on which they stood and upon which this nation was built? We should think, not so much about the freedom from tyranny that our ancestors won, as about the chaos that freedom can bring to those who do not use it wisely. When we begin to dismiss all moral restraints from our lives and society, as we see taking place across our land today, we are headed for trouble and eventual collapse.

John Adams, a signer of the Declaration of Independence and our second President, wisely wrote in 1798, “We have no government armed with power capable of contending with human passions unbridled by morality and religion.” Yet in the day and hour in which we live we continue to cut the cords of morality and spirituality and expect to experience Heaven’s blessings. Instead of blessings we have become enslaved by a misconception of what constitutes freedom.

In our nation we need to look at some of the ugly results from the misuse and abuse of freedom: abortion, erosion of the definition of marriage, rampant crime, alcoholism, drug abuse, deadly violence in our schools, moral perversion, child abuse, and the list goes on. Do not those things stem from a distorted concept of freedom? Sadly, it will lead people to become weak and enslaved. When freedom becomes a license for people to disregard moral and spiritual values, dismissal from society the God of the Bible, a shifting of responsibility for our actions and an entitlement mentality, then it is no longer freedom, but bondage.

Peter speaks of the outcome of those who misuse and abuse freedom. He wrote, “While they promise them liberty, they themselves are slaves of corruption; for by whom a person is overcome, by him also he is brought into bondage” (2 Peter 2:19). Freedom separated from the twin-tracks of the Lord’s moral restraints and His life giving principles leads to a moral and spiritual train wreck. George Washington declared in 1796 at his Farewell Address that the twin pillars of faith and morality are the secret to  “political prosperity” and “human happiness.”  That has not changed.

True freedom is not a license to do as we please with disregard to God and our fellowman. True freedom is found in living as He intended us to live,  serving “Him without fear, in holiness and righteousness before Him, all the days of our life” (Lk 1:74-75).  When we forget that truth we are abusing freedom. And it is only in Jesus that we have the power to truly live free; to live in His power that enables us to live in the freedom of  His holiness and righteousness. Jesus said, “If the Son of Man make you free you shall be free indeed” (Jh 8:36). True freedom is found at the foot of the cross, which alone needs to be our nation’s true magnetic North. Instead of removing the cross from the landscape of our society, we need to run to it as fast as we can and kneel in repentance.

Independence Day is a time we pause to remember those brave men and women who made the choice to shake off the shackles of political tyranny. It resulted in freedom flowing like a might river throughout the thirteen colonies. Let us remember this when we see the flag we love waving in the sky. And let us seek to follow in the steps of those brave Americans who died so that it could fly. But above all, let us remember towering over the unfurled USA flag stands the Christ of the cross who alone can give us freedom and power, even in the face of the spiritual and moral declension, to live as we ought to live in holiness and righteousness before Him all the days of our lives.

And “if the Son of Man make you free you shall be free indeed.” Now that is true freedom.

Blessings,

Dr. Dan