Freedom is defined as "the condition of being free from restraints. The liberty of a person from slavery, detention, or oppression, and political independence. Today, we celebrate the fourth of July. The day that America was set free from the restraints of England, the day that she became independent, the day that the political hand of oppression was lifted and she began her new life of freedom from restraints.
Last night, while I was putting our daughter to bed, she asked me; "Mom, what's the 4th of July?" So I got out my phone and googled it that I may be able to tell her correct dates and times..."On July 4th of 1776, America became a country, in which they were free from the British and able to write our own rules and laws called the Declaration of Independence....It's America's birthday!" My answer seemed to appease her. But, as I thought more about this day and what it really stands for I couldn't help but think of my own life as a Believer. As I look at the definition of freedom...I see myself. My old life caught in sin and bound with chains and my new life of freedom from slavery and oppression. For Believers, it's all about knowing the truth and being set free. The Bible is our Declaration of Independence. It sets us free as we read of the truth found in the Word of God. We read of the price that Jesus paid for our lives that we may live a life of freedom from sin, freedom from guilt and freedom from eternal separation from God. If Jesus never came...America would never be... because America was founded upon the Word of God and upon Biblical principals.
Recently, while in New York City John and I stumbled upon the Declaration of Independence at the New York City Library. The thing that was so unique about this particular copy is that it was one of only six copies ever handwritten by Thomas Jefferson himself and only one of two that remain in tact to this day. It's considered one of the rarest and most important documents in American history. On June 28, 1776, the finished draft of the Declaration of Independence was submitted to the Continental Congress. Before it was ratified on July 4, a number of changes were made, including the exclusion of Thomas Jeffersons lengthy condemnation of the slave trade. Because this troubled Jefferson so much, he hand wrote six copies of the Declaration of Independence underlining that which had been taken out to appease delegates from Georgia and South Carolina. The document that we saw with Thomas Jeffersons signature was one of those original documents! This was an amazing find for us to happen upon...but what we saw next was even more amazing! Walking around this beautiful, ornate building we walked right by a glass case off to the corner of the library. John stopped as he recognized a painting of Moses with the 10 commandments, and there to our great surprise was the Gutenberg Bible. This is believed to be the second printed version of the Bible, written in Latin by Johannes Gutenberg in Mainz Germany in the 1450's. Only 48 copies have survived and are considered to be among the most valuable books in the world. As we stood and starred at the large Bible my wise husband said "Which do you think is more important ...the Declaration of Independence or the Bible?" I said;" the Bible." John respond; "That's right! for without the Bible there would be no Declaration of Independence!
Let's remember that today as we celebrate our freedom! While you are picnicking, beaching or barbecuing think of where you would be without the instruction in the Bible, without the godly men that fought for our freedom and dared to make it happen...and think of the greatest sacrifice of all time..the only sacrifice that really matters...Jesus's death for you and for me on the cross of Calvary! Celebrate your freedom today! "For whom the Son sets free is free indeed."John 8:36