On July 4, 1776, there was signed in the City of Philadelphia one of America’s most important historic documents: The Declaration of Independence. It marked the birth of our nation. The closing words of this document declares: “With a firm reliance on the protection of Divine Providence, we mutually pledge to each other our lives, our fortunes, and sacred honor.” The fifty-six men who signed that document understood that if they succeeded, the best they could expect would be years of hardship in a struggling new nation. If they lost, they would face a hang-man’s noose as traitors.
But, they considered liberty much more important than the security they enjoyed. Of these fifty-six men, five were captured by the British and tortured before they died. Twelve had their homes from Rhode Island to Charleston looted, occupied by the enemy, or burned. Two lost their sons in the army. One had two sons captured. Nine died in the war from its hardships or from battle. They fulfilled their pledge. They paid the price. And freedom was won.
“What we obtain too cheaply, we esteem too highly; it is dearness only that gives everything it value. Heaven knows how to put a price upon its goods, and it would be strange indeed if so celestial an article as freedom should not be highly rated.” (Thomas Payne)
Thomas Jefferson once asked, “Can the liberties of a nation be secure, when we have removed the conviction that these liberties are the gift of God?”
“How little do my countrymen know what precious blessings they are in possession of, and which no other people on earth enjoy.” (Thomas Jefferson)
As believers in Christ Jesus we also have a freedom that many other people do not enjoy, the freedom from sin and death. The apostle Paul said, “For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has made us free from the law of sin and death.”
Jesus said, “If you hold to My teaching, you are really my disciples. Then you will know the truth and the truth will set you free . . . so if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed.”
When I was serving as a pastor, every Memorial Day, Independence Day, and Veterans Day, we honored those who had served or were serving our country in the military. We would pledge allegiance to the flag of the United States of America, to remind us of the freedoms we enjoy and men and women have fought and died for. We would also pledge allegiance to the Christian flag to remind us of the freedoms we enjoy that Christ Jesus died for.
Reflection: Take time to be thankful for your freedoms.