By Lynette Kittle, Crosswalk.com
Many Americans may be wondering this 4th of July, what does freedom looks like in the midst of COVID-19 restrictions, racial unrest, and more?
For Christians living in uncertain times, we can to look to God for wisdom in how to freely live. Like Daniel 2:21 explains, “He changes times and seasons; He deposes kings and raises up others. He gives wisdom to the wise and knowledge to the discerning.”
Even when facing restrictions and national turmoil, in Christ we can freely practice what 1 Timothy 2:1-2 advises, “I urge, then, first of all, that petitions, prayers, intercession and thanksgiving be made for all people—for kings and all those in authority, that we may live peaceful and quiet lives in all godliness and holiness.”
Furthermore, despite current chaos, we can freely do what Romans 12:21, urges, “Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.”
So what does freedom in Christ, along with the rights granted to us by the Declaration of Independence, look like in light of America’s troubling landscape?
Photo Credit: © John Silliman/Unsplash
What Are America’s Freedoms Based On?
Historian and author of American Amnesia Jerry Newcombe writes, “The essence of Americanism is God-given rights to ‘We the people.’”
Newcombe points out how when the Declaration of Independence was written, it was unlike any document written by any other nation because it stated above all, our rights come from God.
As the second paragraph explains: “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.”
Newcombe notes how author and theologian C.K. Chesterton wrote, “The Declaration of Independence dogmatically bases all rights on the fact that God created all men equal.”
Historian and author, Bobbie Ames, writes in her book, Land That I Love, “In all the writing and journals of the founding period of America, our forefathers rejected all ideas, theories, and schools of thought that failed to affirm God as man’s Creator and the sole source of his rights."
Likewise, President John F. Kennedy in his 1961 Inaugural Address stated: “The same revolutionary beliefs for which our forebears fought are still at issue around the globe—the beliefs that the rights of man come not from the generosity of the state, but from the hand of God.”
Although some groups in America’s history have failed to grasp the truth that all individuals are created in God’s image and granted the same rights and freedoms, “God-given rights are non-negotiable,” writes Newcombe, and “God-given rights supercede rights granted by man.”
Will “We the People” Use Our Freedom for Racial Equity?
Newcombe wrote in a recent article, “Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. once said that America’s problem is not with its creed—that all men are created equal. It’s that we have not been living up to that creed.”
As well, Dr. King’s niece, evangelist Alveda King, once told Newcombe in an interview how, “We could solve much of the racial conflict in this country if we would just accept what the Bible teaches: You go to Acts 17:26, "Of one blood God created all people to live together on the earth.’ Now, if we are separate races, we cannot possibly be brothers and sisters. So, we have to see ourselves as one race, one human race, created by God, and we’re supposed to live together in this world as brothers and sisters. So, that’s a fundamental truth that America has not yet embraced.”
Romans 2:11, explains how God is not partial and does not show favoritism among people. Likewise, Galatians 3:28 describes how God sees people, “There is neither Jew nor Gentile, neither slave nor free, nor is there male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus.”
Revelation 7:9 gives us a glimpse of God’s will for His Church, “After this I looked, and there before me was a great multitude that no one could count, from every nation, tribe, people and language, standing before the throne and before the Lamb. They were wearing white robes and were holding palm branches in their hands” (Revelation 7:9).
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Are “We the People” Free to Seek Reconciliation?
Evangelist Billy Graham wrote: “Racism is a sin precisely because it keeps us from obeying God’s command to love our neighbor, and because it has its roots in pride and arrogance. Christians who harbor racism in their attitudes or actions are not following their Lord at this point, for Christ came to bring reconciliation—reconciliation between us and God, and reconciliation between each other.”
Like 2 Corinthians 5:18 explains, “All this is from God, who reconciled us to Himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation.”
Because racism is a spiritual condition of the heart rooted in sin, God calls individuals to examine their hearts. “Examine yourselves to see whether you are in the faith; test yourselves. Do you not realize that Christ Jesus is in you—unless of course, you fail the test” (2 Corinthians 13:5).
As well, Psalm 26:2, encourages all to seek God’s help by asking, “Test me, Lord, and try me, examine my heart and my mind."
As Christian Headlines reports, Pastor Tony Evans believes the Church in American has the answer to heal the divide, stating it will happen when Christians cross racial lines to serve others in need. He believes the Church needs to lead the way rather than merely reacting to what people are doing at either extreme in our culture.
Like Galatians 5:13,14 explains, “You, my brothers and sisters, were called to be free. But do not use your freedom to indulge the flesh; rather, serve one another humbly in love. For the entire law is fulfilled in keeping this one command: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’”
Are “We the People” Free to Be Forgiven and to Forgive?
As Newcombe explains, despite all of America’s flaws and all the ugly chapters in its history, our foundation is based on the truth that all individuals are created in the image of God, which comes with the belief that all people are born with an unalienable right to freedom. He emphasizes how Jesus Christ makes it all possible with His free gift of Salvation to all who freely receive it. Like John 8:36 declares, “So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed.”
Furthermore, 1 John 1:7, explains how the blood of Jesus purifies us from all sin. Because racism is rooted in sin, only the blood of Christ is powerful enough to cleanse us and wash it away, ridding sinful hearts of its destructive effects.
As 1 John 1:9 explains, “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.”
Likewise Isaiah 1:18, describes how God’s arms are open wide to us when we come to Him with repentant hearts. “’Come now, let us settle the matter,’ says the Lord. ‘Though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they are red as crimson, they shall be like wool.’”
Graham wrote, “Only the supernatural love of God can change our hearts in a lasting way and replace hatred and indifference with love and active compassion.”
As forgiven people, Colossians 3:13 urges us to “Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave you.”
Lynette Kittle is married with four daughters. She enjoys writing about faith, marriage, parenting, relationships, and life. Her writing has been published by Focus on the Family, Decision, Today’s Christian Woman, kirkcameron.com, Ungrind.org, StartMarriageRight.com, and more. She has a M.A. in Communication from Regent University and serves as associate producer for Soul Check TV.
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