Tomorrow is Independence Day–the day we celebrate American’s freedom from Great Britain. On July 4, 1776, in Philadelphia, 56 courageous men signed the Declaration of Independence.
While the signers held varying religious beliefs, they were believers in God. This grand document is not only a revered part of our history, but the foundation of our republic. The Declaration has five references to God—two in the first paragraph, one in the middle, and two in the last.
Jehovah is called “the Creator,” “Nature’s God,” “the Supreme Judge.” and the one who provides for us the protection of “Divine Providence.”
It’s apparent that our founding fathers were men of deep religious convictions based on the Bible. 24 of the 56 men who signed the Declaration of Independence held seminary or Bible school degrees.
When Norma Jean and I visited Mount Vernon this summer and went through the museum and education center, there was ample evidence of George Washington’s belief in God.
John Hancock, the first signer of the Declaration, admonished, “Continue steadfast and, with a proper sense of your dependence on God, nobly defend those rights which heaven gave, and no man ought to take from us.”
John Adams, our second President wrote, “The general principles on which the fathers achieved independence were the general principles of Christianity. I will avow that I then believed, and now believe, that those general principles of Christianity are as eternal and immutable as the existence and attributes of God.”
Thomas Jefferson affirmed, “God who gave us life gave us liberty. And can the liberties of a nation be thought secure when we have removed their only firm basis, a conviction in the minds of the people that these liberties are of the Gift of God.”
“Here is my Creed, “ declared Benjamin Franklin. “I believe in one God, the Creator of the Universe. That He governs it by His Providence. That He ought to be worshiped.
On this 238th anniversary of our nation’s birthday forces are fast at work to deny our God honored history. Pride, laziness, immorality, disrespect for the life of the unborn and disregard for the sanctify of marriage, are all issues chipping away at the moral foundation of our country.
The Psalmist raised an importance question 3000 years ago, but is still relevant to our day, “If the foundations are destroyed, what can the righteous do?” (Ps 11:3)
What can Christians do?
(1) Trust in the sovereignty of God (Jer. 18:7-10). He is in control. Governments exist because he allows them to (Rom 13:1-2). When he is ready to bring a country to its knees, He will. In the meantime, let’s trust in God.
(2) Pray for our leaders. (1 Tim 2:2) It’s very easy to criticize them. Call names. Hurl insults. Question their integrity. And even demean the office. Let’s pray more and criticize less.
(3) Make your faith apparent. Live in the world. Don’t hide! Don’t become a hermit! Don’t isolate yourself from others. Be salt. Be light. Make a difference. There is an old Chinese proverb that says, “Better to light a candle than to curse the darkness.” In your job, social circle, or neighborhood, exhibit the character of Christ.
(4) Fortify your family. Make your family a Christian home. Men, love your wives. Lead your home. Teach your children. Ladies, be the Christian wife and mother than the Lord expects. You can’t isolate your children from the world, but you can insulate them with divine principles that will fortify their faith.
(5) Celebrate your citizenship. Yes, we’re proud to be Americans! You may march in a parade. Fly your flag. Support a political party. Or give a speech. But let’s remember our real citizenship is in heaven (Phil 3:17-21). We are pilgrims. Strangers. Aliens. Truly “this world is not our home. We’re just a passing through!”
We would do well to remember the words of President Ronald Reagan when he spoke at a prayer breakfast on August 23, 1984.
“If we look back through history to all those great civilizations, those great nations that rose up to even world dominance and then deteriorated, declined, and fell, we find they all had one thing in common. One of the significant forerunners of their fall was their turning away from their God.”
“Without God, there is no virtue, because there’s no prompting of the conscience. Without God, we’re mired in the material, that flat world that tells us only what the senses perceive. Without God, there is a coarsening of the society. And without God, democracy will not and cannot long endure. If we ever forget that we’re one nation under God, then we will be a nation gone under.”
–Ken Weliever, The Preacherman