From Jim O'Brien
July 05, 2019

Independence

Hi Friend,

July 4, 1776 our forefathers signed a document declaring their intent to be independent. It started a process that is unequaled in the history of man's existence on earth and we became the recipients of unparalleled freedom and prosperity as a result.

It's interesting that the word "independent" carries a pejorative connotation, especially in religious circles. I'm not sure why that should be, considering the meaning of the word.

The dictionary defines an independent as a person that is not under obligation to others-one not submissive to external control. Such a person votes according to principles that often differ from conventional trends.

America was called "rebellious" because we chose independence. The king claimed he answered only to God and thus the colonists were in revolt against God. Yet our forefathers were not choosing independence from God when they went to war, they were choosing independence "to worship" God.

In 1775 John Adams said, "We recognize no sovereign but God, and no King but Jesus!" In a letter to his wife Abigail on the day the Declaration of Independence was approved by Congress Adams wrote, "The general principles upon which the Fathers achieved independence were the general principals of Christianity..."

It is fitting to note in this context that the nations of Europe believed in the "Divine Right of Kings" to rule, meaning they believed that King George III was divinely appointed by God to rule America. To resist the King was, in the mind of many, the same as resisting God.

Yet the very opposite was true. James Madison said "We've staked our future on our ability to follow the Ten Commandments with all of our heart." In fact, it was Madison who proposed the plan to divide the central government into three branches. He discovered this model of government from the Perfect Governor, as he read Isaiah 33:32; "For the Lord is our judge, the Lord is our lawgiver, the Lord is our king." Madison developed the principle of independent government from Isaiah's description of God. Americans are independent because of our belief that man is made in image of the One who is sovereign.

In the New Testament the Apostle Paul refused income from the Corinthian Church so he would not be obligated to them. He said, "I am a free man and own no master...." (1 Corinthians 9:19 NIV) Paul maintained his right to be free so his teachings would not be compromised.

One cannot be free without being independent. Paul used Hagar and Sarah as metaphors to describe the difference between liberty and slavery. Christians are descended from Sarah who was free but Hagar represents those in slavery to sin.

Maybe the most enduring sign of freedom is the Sabbath. God performed a multitude of miracles to bring slaves to freedom. To demonstrate this magnificent gift God commanded that these slaves, who were forced to work seven days a week, should rest one day every week. The Sabbath was a manifest sign of independence. No man is your master. Only God!

Hope you had an enjoyable Independence Day! Enjoy your freedom.

Until next time,

Jim O'Brien