Nations come into being in many ways. There might be a military coup, a civil strife, treachery and heroes, or a host of other conflicts between the old order and the new.
Regardless of the manner that produces the rise or fall of a nation’s government, the Lord reveals the simple truth about all nations and governments: “There is no authority except from God, and the authorities that exist are appointed by God” (Rom. 13:1).
June of 1776 was a hive of activity for thirteen colonial states of Great Britain located on the continent of North America. Representatives from every state had been sent to Pennsylvania for the Second Continental Congress. On July 4, 1776 this Second Continental Congress adopted “The unanimous Declaration of the thirteen United States of America.” This document, which gave this nation its defining moment, is known by its more familiar title, “The Declaration of Independence.”
The Declaration of Independence made the claim–astounding in any age–“that all men are created equal.” It listed a number of grievances the states held against Great Britain’s rule. The Declaration also expressed “certain unalienable rights to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.” It was signed by the representatives who pledged “to each our lives, our fortunes, and our sacred honor.” Some of its language was later adopted into the Bill of Rights and the U.S. Constitution. A brief summary of our nation’s beginning document is enough to fill the heart with patriotism, stirring up images of parades, marching bands, fireworks, and Old Glory flying in the wind.
God’s Word records a very different declaration of independence. Though God had created Adam and Eve perfectly, and they had received from God everything necessary to dwell before God in righteousness forever, our first parents declared their independence from God. They chose to follow a direction which only led away from their Maker and Provider.
A True Patriot
Mankind became truly equal in sin and death! No parades here. Sinful man was left with a spirit of rebellion against his Creator God! No mutual pledge of support to one another here. The history of fallen man overflows with broken hearts and shattered lives bent on a wild pursuit of ungodly pleasures or riches. We fly no flags for this kind of independence.
In contrast, we underwrite the Scripture in declaring our complete dependence on God for everything in this life and in the one to come. God’s Son won our freedom from sin’s curse that we might live before God in the righteousness of Christ Himself.
Believers in Jesus Christ ever look for ways to serve their Lord and Savior. They rejoice in the freedoms with which God has chosen to bless our great country. They know the true value of our nation’s Declaration of Independence is God’s creation of a free country in which we may serve our Savior-God freely and without hindrance. Instead of being thrown to the lions for confessing the name of Christ Jesus, we can count on our government to protect its citizens.
According to Webster’s Dictionary a patriot is one who loves, supports, and defends his country with devotion. Should our devotion be limited to parades or fireworks on July 4th? What would happen to this great nation if its support and defense were neglected?
The Christian knows how to be a true patriot according to the Lord’s will. The apostle Paul wrote: “Therefore I exhort first of all that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks be made for all men, for kings and for all who are in authority, that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and reverence” (1 Tim. 2:1-2).
May the Lord continue to bless our nation and its leaders, and mercifully fill our hearts with all thanks to God that we might always cherish the freedoms we enjoy–by God’s grace alone–in the United States of America!
–Pastor Rick Grams