During the 1800’s, Alexis de Toqueville, a famous French political philosopher, visited our nation seeking to uncover the secret of our greatness. He traveled from town to town, asking questions and examining every facet of our society. When he finished he then wrote his conclusions in his famous work, “Democracy in America.”
Presidents Eisenhower, Reagan, & Clinton have quoted from it. And I believe the message of the following quote is very relevant today.
“I sought for America’s greatness. I found it not in her fields & forests. I found it not in her mines & factories. I found it not in her Congress and great tribunals. It was only when I entered her churches & heard her pulpits thundering against sin & preaching righteousness that I discovered her greatness. America is great because America is good. If America ever ceases to be good, America will cease to be great.”
One of our Presidential candidates is running on the promise to make America great again. If America is no longer great, it is because America is no longer good.
I am by nature an optimist. I choose to see the glass half full. I think America is still good. You won’t get that impression by reading the news. It is full of the sensational and the negative. But I believe the majority of the citizens of this great country are still good people.
I would like to think if de Tocqueville entered our churches today he would still hear pulpits thundering against sin and preaching righteousness. This might not be the case in all settings. I realize many are now preaching a watered down gospel that is pleasing to the ears of the members and designed to appease the masses. But I trust the simple truth is still being proclaimed across this great land.
As we observe our Nation’s 240th Independence Day, let us remember ours is a great nation not only because of the people but also because it has been built upon the principles of Scripture. Our very law is gleaned from the pages of the Old Testament, and many of the founding principles were based upon God’s Word.
Therefore, it should come as no surprise that the opening words of the Declaration of Independence declare “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.”
Our nation’s forefathers found that Scripture spoke about freedom, and so they determined that this new nation would be dedicated to creating that atmosphere. They foresaw America to be a place where freedom would be the foundation of everything they sought to do. Because of that determination, we in America have been blessed with many freedoms that other nations don’t have. Oh, how thankful I am for our freedoms.
But even with that foundation for our country, there is one freedom that America cannot give its citizens. In fact, no government on the face of the earth can supply that freedom.
Beginning in John 8:31, Jesus said, “If you abide in My word, you are My disciples indeed. You shall know the truth and the truth shall make you free.”
The Jews did not understand. They thought of themselves as being free. But Jesus continued by saying, “I say to you, whoever commits sin is a slave of sin.”
Jesus was talking about the freedom from sin and He made clear that freedom comes through the knowledge of the truth.
There are two things to note.
- This freedom is conditional. Jesus said “If you abide in My word.” One must be in the word and abide in the word in order to be disciples and be free.
- You shall know the truth. There are those today who say there is no such thing as truth. Pilate asked the question, “What is truth?” You shall know the truth clearly implies truth exists and it can be known. And it is only through this truth that we can experience the freedom from sin.
I love this country and the freedoms we enjoy. But I realize there is a freedom that is only found in Christ. And as much as I love all the freedoms we have here, I realize the freedom from sin is that which will make all the difference in my eternal destination.