So Jesus said to the Jews who had believed him, “If you abide in my word, you are truly my disciples, and you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.” They answered him, “We are offspring of Abraham and have never 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 practices sin is a slave to sin. The slave does not remain in the house forever; the son remains forever. So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed. I know that you are offspring of Abraham; yet you seek to kill me because my word finds no place in you. I speak of what I have seen with my Father, and you do what you have heard from your father.” (John 8:31-38 ESV).
The beginning of the Declaration of Independence begins: “When, in the course of human events, It becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bonds which have connected them with another, and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the laws of nature and of nature’s God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation. “
It was signed in the Continental Congress July 4, 1776. The document proclaimed the independence of 13 British colonies on the eastern seaboard of North America from Britain. The document was the culmination of a political process that had begun as protest against oppressive restrictions imposed by the mother country on colonial trade, manufacturing, and political liberty. The signing of the Declaration would lead ultimately to a revolutionary war and the establishment of a new nation.
It was a declaration of independence from a dominant oppressor; and as such it was a serious matter. It is, therefore, not something people do for amusement, or on a whim. They do not do it to be comfortable or fashionable, or with a flippant notion that somehow just saying it will make it happen. They do it because they are deeply convicted of the idea that freedom is infinitely more desirable than oppression and that it is worth the risk of pain and suffering. It was the kind of statement that called for shouts of “Give me liberty or give me death!”
It is that kind of an issue. The stand taken against oppression in the Declaration of Independence is, or should be, well known to every citizen of this country. However, to many , this is boring history. It hardly raises our blood pressure one point. To the Signers of the Declaration, though, their lives and fortunes were on the line. In the same way that members of those original 13 colonies took their stand against the oppression of the King of England 239 years ago, so Christians, through the ages have taken their stand against the oppressor of this world. We have decided that it is worth risking all we have in order to be free from his domination. We “signed” our declaration publicly the moment we declared our allegiance to Christ. What we may not understand is the commitment it calls us to make. When we did that we tied our future and our fortunes to the outcome of the battle that would inevitably come at that great day when Jesus shall come riding a white horse to tread the winepress of the wrath of God Almighty! How “independent” are you today from the world, the flesh, and the devil?
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