Today is the 4th of July. For some, it is just other day. For others, it is a holiday from work. For more, it is a day of picnics, hotdogs, and fireworks. Though the 4th may be all this, it really is so much more. It is a day to remember and to reflect among the tremendous sacrifice that our founders made over two hundred years ago to help secure for a nation yet born the liberties and freedoms that we hold so dear today. Specifically, it is a day we should remember the 56 men who signed the Declaration of Independence, which rightfully can be viewed as the birth certificate of our great nation.
If asked, few people could probably remember the names of the signers apart from Thomas Jefferson, Benjamin Franklin, John Adams, and John Hancock. In addition to these men, many, many more sacrificed their secure lives for an uncertain future which held more promise for others than themselves. As in the concluding words of the declaration itself, they “mutually pledge to each other our Lives, our Fortunes and our sacred Honor”. Several of these signers, many the above mentioned, went on to prominence within our history books, yet others went into obscurity as they truly gave their last full measure of devotion. Some lost their earthly fortunes in support of liberties’ cause. Others were separated from and experienced the lost of their families for their involvement. Few gave that and their very lives in support of a cause they believed to be bigger than themselves. They ran themselves ragged, neglecting themselves and their worldly affairs to see their nation succeed. They also had it forcibly taken from them as the British inflicted it’s wrath on the signers for their treasonous deeds.
However much their sacrifice, they gave it willingly because they held to the belief that God had bestowed upon each man rights that no government was allowed to infringe upon. They believed that “All men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Right, that among these are Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness.”
Because all of them were willing to give all and because some did give all, liberty was secured for a birthing nation. We enjoy that freedom today. Not only that, but because they secured freedom for Americans then, their deeds helped formed a nation that has since stood as the guardian of freedom for a world that has known too little of it. Just over the past hundred years when evil threaten to consume the world in the two world wars, Americans, who are the spiritual heirs of the courage and resolve of those signers, stood alongside the other freedom loving peoples of the earth and put evil on the retreat. When million upon millions were enslaved behind the iron curtain of tyranny, Americans again led the charge to tear it down. As of recent, Americans have begun to impart the seeds of freedom to those in the Middle East. Though they may not have seen it then, those 56 men in fighting for the freedoms of their countrymen, helped bring freedom to the world time and time again.
And when you look at it from a spiritual perspective, it is clear to see the implications of Americans fighting for freedom. The Signers help create a nation where Christian principles of liberty and freedom flourish. From there American became John Winthrop’s and later President Ronald Reagan’s “shining city on a hill”. For over two hundred years, the good news of the gospel has proceeded forth from this blood bought shores to peoples throughout the world. In that, God has used America as His tool for reaching a lost and hurting world. I believe that this is why God shed His grace on her. Let us never forget those 56 men, the sacrifice they made, and the spiritual heritage they have entrusted to our care. We must never forget their deeds or take them for granted. As Ronald Reagan so elegantly stated, “Freedom is a fragile thing and is never more than one generation away from extinction. It is not ours by inheritance; it must be fought for and defended constantly by each generation, for it comes only once to a people. Those who have known freedom and then lost it have never known it again.” – Ronald Reagan, 1967.