From Jim O'Brien
July 01, 2016

Hi Friend,

Why Independence Day?

Do you know why July 4, 1776 is considered the birth date of America? British troops were all around; American citizens still paid taxes to Britain; most Americans still considered themselves citizens of England and regarded George III as their King! Military skirmishes had occurred but there was no general recognition of America as separate from England until the Declaration of Independence was signed.

What goal were the residents of the colonies seeking by "declaring" themselves free?

Revolution is an "overthrow or repudiation" of an existing government. But America did not revolt against the basis of laws that governed the country. In fact, the overwhelming desire of American citizens was to maintain ties with England. They even wanted to continue paying taxes to the crown.

Americans were fighting because the citizens on this continent were not allowed the same rights as all other Englishman enjoyed. Americans wanted to be represented in Parliament, to have a say in how they were taxed, and to have a voice in how they were governed-just like the people in England.

They wanted the same thing the citizens living in England had-and what they had had before leaving England. They wanted representation under the English system of governance.

It wasn't a revolt AGAINST the culture or the governing laws. It was an act to gain the rights that system granted, from the Magna Carta on, for peaceful citizens to participate in how they are governed. That participation conferred justice by allowing independent thought.

But becoming independent meant that the citizens must be self-sufficient. It is written into the eternal constitution of things that dependent people cannot be free.

Simply stated, Americans wanted to be treated as citizens, not slaves. They did not rebel against law, or obedience to laws. They rebelled against slavery because a slave has few rights under the law.

Where did this concept originate? It came right out of the Bible. In fact, the Apostle Paul fought the same battle against the Pharisees, some of whom had converted to Christianity without accepting the tenets of the faith.

There was a time when men came down from Jerusalem-headquarters-to restrict the rights of gentiles as Christians. The gentiles, according to these leaders, must first become Jews by being circumcised. That is, they must become slaves to men to be accepted by God.

Circumcision was the ritual that made a man a Jew. Paul evangelized gentile areas with great success only to have his work threatened. He was blunt in his letter to the Church at Galatia, "...false believers had infiltrated our ranks to spy on the freedom we have in Christ Jesus and to make us slaves. We did not give in to them for a moment...." (Galatians 2:4-5 NIV)

Paul is saying that circumcision does not make a man righteous before God. If that were so then all the Jews would be righteous without accepting Jesus Christ. Jews and gentiles alike needed forgiveness of sin.

If circumcision did not save a Jew, why should it be required of a gentile? The gentile wanted salvation, not citizenship in Israel. Circumcision amounted to enslavement to the Jews.

The Apostle Paul was not rebelling against the Law of God but against religious tyrants who were attempting to enslave others. The Law of God was protection for the layman just as the Magna Carta was protection for the common man from the oppression of the king. Paul went on to say, "It is for freedom that Christ has set us free. Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery. Mark my words! I, Paul, tell you that if you let yourselves be circumcised, Christ will be of no value to you at all." (Gal. 5:1-2) He was arguing that gentiles had the same access to God through Jesus Christ that Jews had-apart from circumcision.

The early colonists recognized the value of these words. Americans had a right to freedom because our rights come from God. If people living in America allowed the British to enslave them, what value were the sacrifices that had been made to get here in the first place?

Living in America was valuable only so long as the laws applied equally to all citizens. It is time for both Christians and Americans to recommit to the Laws of God and declare their independence from tyrants.

Until next time,

Jim O'Brien