On this 4th of July, we celebrate our independence. A stunning number of Americans know neither who we gained our independence from or when we gained it, let alone… Why!
I believe it comes down to this…
Freedom. “It was for freedom that Christ has set us free.” (Galatians 5:1) Freedom is the heart cry of every living being and has been since the dawn of time. Jesus said that “If you abide in My Word, you are My disciples indeed. And you shall know the truth and the truth shall make you free” (John 8:31-32)
This promise of freedom rocked the Roman world 2000 years ago. The common people grabbed onto the promise of freedom found in Christ and transferred their allegiance from the corrupt Roman government (to which the religious authorities of their day swore allegiance to. See John 19:15) to the kingdom of Christ.
In a culture where Caesar was lord, it was treasonous to proclaim that Jesus was in fact, Lord. Their allegiance was to the Lord Jesus and they clung to His promises, despite the inevitable backlash and horrible persecution that followed.
Now fast forward about 1200 years to the signing of the Magna Carta.
King John of England reluctantly signed this document granting heretofore unthinkable freedoms that we consider basic rights today, such as trial by your peers, no taxation without representation, and the formation of representative government (parliament).
Who won these milestone liberties for the people without a drop of blood being shed? It happened when a great army like none other before it, gathered in the Runnymede meadow within sight of Windsor Castle and the king of England.
Who was this brave army that defied the previously uncontested will of the cruel King John of England? It was none other than the Army of God, so named because of their dependence on and allegiance to, the King of Kings, not the king of England. The rights they won that bloodless day in June of 1215 put a permanent and widening crack in the rule of tyrants everywhere.
Over the next 561 years, the rights they won began to erode…
And by 1776, British subjects living in the new world, once again, had had enough of their own government’s authoritarian rule. They believed the audacious idea, that all men had certain rights that could never have a lien put against them, and… “among those rights were Life, Liberty (freedom) and the pursuit of Happiness”.
They also believed that “whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government” and enshrined this belief into the Declaration of Independence for future generations to remember. Try finding that in any other country’s founding documents! You won’t!
So, officially on this day in 1776, British subjects threw off the authoritarian rule of their own government and transferred their reliance for safety and sustenance to the Providence and provision of Almighty God.
Oh what a mighty fortress is our God!
What gave these brave citizens the courage, confidence and conviction to entertain such a treasonous act? None other than the claims and promises of Christ as brought afresh to the colonies through the Great Awakening a few decades earlier through the preaching of men like Jonathan Edwards and George Whitefield.
On the heels of that great period of revival, preachers like Samuel West lit up the colonies preaching out of Romans 13 in his sermon “On the Right to Rebel”. Oh, that preachers today would quit preaching blind allegiance to government and rightly discern the God ordained limits of governmental authority.
Our freedoms have always come from God and when we forget that, as we do over the centuries, we see those freedoms lost for a season, until some future generation locked into slavery, wearied by its brutality, awakens once again to the sweet, sweet sound of freedom that Christ died to purchase for us.
Now today, we see an America that has lost its way.
We have found other loves. Our hard fought freedoms have become to many, a license to wanton sin. Even in the church. And that sin leads to death. Those rights we cherish become once again the property of the state through usurpation on their part and neglect on ours.
This is not new.
We can turn the tide once again. Because the tide always turns. Selah. The tide turns against us whenever we abandon the responsibility to “Stand firm then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery.” (Galatians 5:1)
The tide turns in our favor when those who are called by His Name, humble themselves, pray and seek His face and turn from their wicked ways. It is never incumbent upon the wicked to do this so a nation can be blessed. It is always and only incumbent upon those who are called by His Name.
What better response to the 4th of July than to recognize how far we have fallen and turn once again to the giver of Life, Liberty and Happiness. Mark my words, the tide is changing even as I type these words. I’m not sure if you have ever seen the tide change, but in the fiords of British Columbia I have traversed the changing of the raging tide.
It is in one sense, an act of sublime violence.
Huge volumes of water changing direction and flowing through narrow channels at the pulling of forces unseen. Just as it begins to turn, there is a brief period of tranquility, followed by the rushing of the water. During that period of tranquility, it is easy to think all is well and nothing will change. But that is foolishness. Change is constant. And we must be ever vigilant.
But as a nation, our vigilance has lapsed and the water is fast flowing out of the inlet. The people awaken when they find themselves sucked out into the sea, into a world with enemies living by a different creed. A world they do not recognize. The young see it as all they have ever known and are eager to embrace the serpent of the sea who they’ve taken in, unaware that it is poised to bite them on the neck and kill them if it could.
But there’s always a Whitefield or an Edwards, a Moody or a Wesley in the wings, ready under the pull and power of Almighty God to turn the tide once again and lead this nation back to its bountiful place of freedom found in the inlet carved out of the mountains by God. Are you one called and prepared for such an hour as this?
The tide is well on its way to emptying the inlet and its pace has picked up.
Who among us will stand up and preach the true liberty that only comes from Christ? Who among us will bellow the blessings and warnings of God to a generation who has lost its way? Who among us will fill in for Moody or Whitefield or Samuel West?
Who among us will scale back the egregious encroachments made by unchecked government? Who among us will study the lessons of history and teach them to this generation? Where are the Peyton Randolphs, John Hancocks, and Henry Laurens, our 1st, 3rd and 4th presidents that your teachers never told you about?
Where are the Patrick Henrys who famously asked “Is life so dear and peace so sweet as to be purchased with chains and slavery?” I believe that right now in the year of our Lord 2016, there are patriots arising and preachers awakening to the liberties and freedoms promised by God and purchased by Jesus Christ on the cross. These men and women are fierce in their determination, fearless in the face of threats and relentless in their love of God and country.
Where are the likes of Lucy Knox and Abigail Adams? Or of Mercy Warrens, Nancy Hart and Sybil Luddington? Revolutionary women who risked life and limb to warn, succor and save their countrymen. I am married to such a woman and I see that fierce loyalty and bravery in her siblings and her son.
Yes, the tide has washed many out to sea, but the time is now and we are the people who rise out of ordinary station to bring our great nation back to its first love and first principle. The principle of freedom, found only in the gracious benevolence of our Creator. Government exists to enforce what the Lord has freely given us.
Let’s take our country back.
Let’s turn the tide once again with a ferocious love of God and country, unfettered by the fear of man, the desire for riches or the lust for other things entering in. The field is white unto harvest. Let’s seize the sickle of God’s Word and reap the harvest of souls who long for truth and freedom.
Let’s pass on the torch of freedom to the emerging generation so they can know the Prince of Peace and enjoy the fruits of peace. Let not this torch be extinguished on our watch, or on the watch of any future generation. By the grace of Almighty God, may it burn ever brighter until the day of His coming.
Yes, I love this land, the greatest nation on earth. America.
Though we are temporarily disoriented and drunk on the world, we will sober up shortly, (through whatever means necessary) and return to the God of our Fathers, the Ancient of Days, the Lord God Jehovah and His Son, Jesus Christ! May He hasten the day!