Americans Value Freedom
A few weeks ago, we celebrated the 130th anniversary of the Statue of Liberty coming to America. The statue was originally meant to be a gift from the people of France to the people of America. A group of French private citizens were discussing how much they admired American democracy. One of them, Edouard Laboulaye, presented the idea of a gift to honor the enduring friendship between America and France. He proposed that they present to America a monument to liberty in 1876, in honor of America’s 100th anniversary of its independence.
They wanted to commemorate the brotherhood and unity the two nations had always enjoyed. They hoped that by drawing attention to the ideas of liberty and democracy at this specific time in France’s history that it might influence the kind of government that France would have in the future. They knew that it would take cooperation between the two nations to accomplish such a massive project. The people of France paid for and built the statue. The people of America paid for and built the pedestal. Raising enough money was difficult for each country. It took many years for them to raise all the money they needed.
The sculptor who fashioned the Statue of Liberty named her Liberty Enlightening the World.
The torch represents the light of liberty she would bring to the world.
On the tablet that the statue holds in her left hand is inscribed, July 4, 1776 in Roman numerals.
At her feet lay a broken shackle and chain symbolizing Lincoln’s abolition of slavery.
There is a broken shackle around her ankle, a broken chain that extends around the bottom or her robe and an ax head.
This reminds me of the Eddie James song – Freedom.
Listen to it here:
He sings this line in the song:
“No more shackles, no more chains, no more bondage. I am free!”
Liberty is a universal yearning, not just a national symbol.
What did the French people of 130 years ago admire about America? They admired our Constitution and the liberty and representative government that it established. They admired our freedom from a monarch, a dictator, an oppressor.
They admired Abraham Lincoln and the way he held the country together in the midst of war and the fact that we abolished slavery so that everybody in America would have freedom and liberty. No more slavery in America. Everybody was free.
Is America still like that?
Are we still a free country?
Do we still love freedom?
Are we still a nation to be admired?
What does liberty mean?
What does freedom mean?
Definitions of “liberty”:
Freedom from control, interference, obligation, restriction, hampering conditions, etc.; power or right of doing, thinking, speaking, etc., according to choice.
From Webster’s 1828 Dictionary:
Religious liberty, is the free right of adopting and enjoying opinions on religious subjects, and of worshiping the Supreme Being according to the dictates of conscience, without external control.
Definition of “freedom”:
Exemption from external control, interference, regulation, etc.
The power to determine action without restraint.
From Webster’s 1828 Dictionary:
A state of exemption from the power or control of another; liberty; exemption from slavery, servitude or confinement. Freedom is personal, civil, political, and religious.
Christians Value Freedom
America was founded on the principles of freedom of religion and speech and conscience. Christians are great fans of freedom. Christians are set free from sin and the bondage that comes with it. Freedom does not mean the absence of authority or the right to do whatever one pleases—far from it. Freedom is a moral or spiritual condition; freedom means abandoning a life of sin to embrace the teachings of Christ. What is often called “Christian liberty” means leading a moral life.
But now –
Deep darkness is covering America.
Men love the darkness more than the light.
John 3:19 And this is the condemnation, that the light has come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil.
People are confused
They are confused about freedom.
They don’t know right from wrong anymore. They are giving up freedoms out of fear. At the same time, they have taken liberties with liberty. They think that they are happier when they have nobody telling them what they can do. They have thrown off moral restraints that are helpful and protective.
They are using the law to promote lawlessness, like abortion and gay marriage.
At the same time, they want the government to take care of them, so they let the government regulate personal freedoms, like whether to own guns, whether to give vaccines to their children, and how to educate their children.
They are making laws that take away religious freedom.
They are embracing a religion that strips freedom away from women especially. And rejecting the beliefs that have strengthened and supported families and parents and children. And taking away our freedom to practice our Christian beliefs.
The world is watching. They are shaking their heads, wondering why America is throwing away its liberty, its freedom. They are seeing a nation that is under a strong delusion, given over to a reprobate mind. Perhaps they are learning something by watching what’s happening to us.
Jesus is the light of the world.
We are the light of the world.
We Christians are called to be a light in the darkness. We are supposed to light the way for those in the darkness. We know that light overcomes darkness. When you turn on a light in a dark room, it’s not dark in the room anymore.
A city on a hill cannot be hidden.
“You are the light of the world. A city that is set on a hill cannot be hidden. Nor do they light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a lampstand, and it gives light to all who are in the house. Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven.” Matt. 5:14-16
For your light has come!
And the glory of the Lord is risen upon you.
2 For behold, the darkness shall cover the earth,
And deep darkness the people;
But the Lord will arise over you,
And His glory will be seen upon you.
3 The Gentiles shall come to your light,
And kings to the brightness of your rising.
We are called to lead people out of darkness.
We are called to lead them to the cross.
Only God Can Give True Freedom
The cross leads people to freedom from sin, darkness, superstition, selfishness, addiction, and despair.
Whom the Son sets free is free indeed. John 8:36
The world hates us because it first hated Jesus. They hate us and are trying to silence us.
But “We are the light of the world. A city that is set on a hill cannot be hidden.” Matt. 5:14
Attention is coming to the Statue of Liberty for such a time as this.
Because freedom is important and worth dying for. Freedom is something to celebrate.
And true freedom comes only through the cross of Christ.