As we celebrate Independence Day and the courage of our founders, we must ask: Independence from what to what? The signers of the Declaration of Independence knew, but most Americans sadly don’t. It’s time to reexamine the foundation of liberty and the source of rights that made America great. Liberty can’t be understood without the Bible, as civil freedom starts with understanding spiritual freedom.
John 8:32 says, “and ye shall know the Truth and the Truth shall set you free.” Without experiencing this spiritual freedom from the power of sin that only faith in Christ can bring, no nation can ever experience lasting civil freedom. The Liberty Bell in Philadelphia says it all; from Leviticus 25:10, Proclaim liberty—the liberty that comes from obeying God’s commands—throughout all the land and to all the inhabitants therefore.
Liberty, as identified in our Declaration, hinges on God and understanding Him. We are endowed by our Creator—independence and liberty start with spiritual freedom, which comes from God our Creator and is experienced personally as spiritual freedom in Christ. Recognizing God and God the Creator—the foundation of the Judeo-Christian worldview—is where liberty starts. This God is Supreme, the same Judge of the Universe appealed to in the Declaration of Independence. This God is Truth, Sovereign, pre-existent, greater than all people and governments.
In true civil freedom, God must first be acknowledged as Supreme and Source of all moral truth. Our founders recognized and started with this truth. The fact that we are endowed by our Creator is the core of America’s civil freedom. If we are created by God in His image, then He gave us the faculties to know and obey Him. If created, then we didn’t evolve nor are we mere accidents in time. We are human beings with value, purpose and the ability to enjoy God’s creation. Since created, then we are given the rights to life, liberty and the enjoyment of private property—rights from God to be protected by government, not rights from government to be manipulated and trampled.
By the same token, life results when God creates. The sacredness and sanctity of all life, born and unborn, exists because God is the Creator. It’s this life that government is to protect, and which governments stand in dire judgment from God the Judge when unborn babies are murdered, and life is snuffed out. Liberty is that which comes from experiencing spiritual freedom through Jesus Christ and then extended by just law in civil freedom and then governments which protect and cherish life and liberty.
Our founders recognized this profound reality and wisely chose to bend their desires and thoughts into conformity with God’s plan for society and nations. It’s past time we return to their wisdom. If liberty is to remain in America, we must once again—as did our Founders—appeal to the Great Judge of the Universe to hear our pleas and intercede on our nation’s behalf. It’s clear that no nation can survive that rejects God as Creator, Christ as Redeemer, life as sacred, liberty as a gift of God and private property as a blessing from God.
Recognizing and defending life as sacred, and liberty and rights as coming from God, is a great way this Independence Day to begin the return to the wisdom of our Founders and God’s blessing on our nation.
(The Hon. Sam Rohrer is president of the American Pastors Network, a national network of pastors with constitutional and biblical teachings that discusses today’s pressing issues. He was a Pennsylvania lawmaker for 18 years and hosts the daily “Stand in the Gap Today” national radio program on more than 400 stations and Host of the “Stand in the Gap” national television program.)