Let Freedom, Let Liberty Ring!
by Rector Jim Murphy
Likely, the most familiar part of the U. S. Declaration of Independence, reads as follows, “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.”
Amazing, there was unanimity among all of the representatives of the thirteen original colonies who endorsed the Declaration. Our beloved country was brought into being with the common understanding that the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, the Creator-God, had baked into the cake, so to speak, as self-evident truths and rights: Equality, Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of Happiness.
In 8th chapter of John’s gospel, Jesus is quoted as saying, “If you abide in my word, you are my disciples indeed. And you shall know the truth and the truth shall make you free… if the Son makes you free, you shall be free indeed.” (31-36, NKJV) Jesus, the Son of God took that occasion to explicate the derivation of “these truths” that the authors of the Declaration found to be, “self-evident.” Equality, Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness find their nexus in God’s word. All of our liberty, every one of our freedom’s rest upon the foundation of he who is the Way, the Truth, and the Life: Christ Jesus, the Word of God. A robust, faith-filled relationship with God’s Word is the very definition of freedom.
Of course, this foundation is what animated many of the settlers who came to America. It was for the sake of religious freedom, for the sake of crafting an entire country upon the truth of God’s word. This foundation undergirds not only the Declaration, but also the U. S. Constitution and nearly all of the documents and correspondence of our formative years. Let freedom, let liberty ring!
How can it be then that we have failed so miserably in terms of equality? Where the voices of many are not heard in the public square. How can it be that we have failed so miserably in terms of life? Where millions of children have been denied their right to life, killed for the ‘right’ of another. How can it be that we have failed so miserably in terms of liberty? Where a declaration was been made recently on the floor of the U. S. House of Representatives that God’s will is of no concern to the proceedings of Congress. How can it be that we have failed so miserably in terms of the pursuit of happiness? Where federal agencies have been weaponized to intimidate law abiding citizens to do so.
The apostle Paul encouraged the citizenry of Galatia to “Stand fast therefore in the liberty by which Christ has made us free, and do not be entangled again with a yoke of bondage.” (Galatians 5:1, ibid.) In many respects, it seems that through the years we have exchanged one yoke of religious oppression for another. Generally speaking, we have exchanged the God who grants liberty and freedom for shackles of a strawman without morality or divinity, the god of unbelief. The Creator whose “self-evident” truths undergird our “unalienable rights” has been effectively banned from the having a voice in the proceeding of U. S. government.
The bondage of sin or slavery to the devil, the father of lies, has in many respects blinded 21st century America from attainment of the Declaration’s ideals. Nevertheless, on the occasion of Independence Day 2021, Jesus’ arms are open wide for all who seek to restore true freedom and liberty. A whole-hearted return to the Word and a living relationship with the Creator, will turn our miserable failures into fantastic successes. We can rebuild a free country on that.
Originally Published in The Highlander’s “Spiritually Speaking” Column, July 1, 2021.