Good Morning Brothers…
“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” Declaration of Independence July 1776
Words that birthed a nation. Words written by Thomas Jefferson and reviewed and edited by the Continental Congress until they were just right. Words that were laughed at and ridiculed by the newspapers in England because 13 of the 20 signatures at the bottom of our Nation’s declaration…were by slave owners. Our Nation celebrated 238 years of these unalienable rights a couple days ago. Even though the crafters of the Declaration could not protect themselves from the cries of “Hypocrisy”…they still led a revolution from the system they knew to a system they didn’t know. We look back now, with the advantage of history, and see how their decisions, their arguments, their passion shaped a Nation. Even though they realized they weren’t perfect, they weren’t living out the ideals expressed in their Declaration, they soldiered on, intent on providing an environment in which these ideals could be possible.
Are we so different…?
“It was for freedom that Christ set us free; therefore keep standing firm and do not be subject again to a yoke of slavery.” Galatians 5:1
While our Founding Fathers freed a Nation about 200 years ago, our Savior freed the world about 2000 years ago. From the very beginning of the Church, the truth of freedom has been expressed by sinful men. These men, like you and I, expressed and sought after freedom, even though the cries of “Hypocrisy” were never far off. Only Jesus Christ, the Son of God, lived truly free. The rest of us pursue freedom. In John 8:31-32 it says, So Jesus was saying to those Jews who had believed Him, “If you continue in My word, then you are truly disciples of Mine; and you will know the truth, and the truth will make you free.” Now Jesus was talking to the Jews who have believed in Him. If He had been talking to Americans, then verse 33 would read like this, They answered Him, “We are descendants of our Founding Father’s; Thomas Jefferson, John Adams, John Hancock and the like…and have never yet been enslaved to anyone; how is it that You say, ‘You will become free’?” Jesus answered them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, everyone who commits sin is the slave of sin. The slave does not remain in the house forever; the son does remain forever. So if the Son makes you free, you will be free indeed.
Jews, Americans, whoever…sin enslaves.
In the first part of this passage Jesus says ,”the truth will make you free” and in the last part of this passage He says, “if the Son makes you free, you will be free”. It’s not a stretch to connect the dots here and realize that the “truth” and “the Son” are linked. In fact, we can say that Jesus is the TRUTH. What this means to us Americans is quite simple, freedom is only found in Jesus. If we find ourselves subject again to the yoke of slavery, or sin, we need to seek Jesus. If our lives have grown hectic and we find ourselves chasing the dollar, chasing the kids, chasing after accreditation an applause, then we have given up truth for untruth, we have given freedom for chains, we have given up Jesus for the world. What is really interesting about the end of the passage is this, “you will be free indeed…period.” It doesn’t say that we will understand the “idea” of freedom, or that we will be motivated by freedom, it says that we will be free. It reminds me of the ‘Sermon on the Mount’ when Jesus says, “You are salt” and “You are light”. We have to remember that we shouldn’t pursue saltiness or shades of illumination or freedom…He says we are…thus we are.
We are free…
“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”
Our Life is found in Jesus, our Freedom is found in Jesus, our Joy is found in Jesus, our pursuit is for more Jesus. Even though we realize that we aren’t perfect, we soldier on to provide an environment for our children, our family, our friends, our nation…that we would all pursue Jesus.