In June of 1776, a five-man committee consisting of Thomas Jefferson, John Adams, Benjamin Franklin, Roger Sherman, and Robert Livingston were tasked with drafting a formal statement of America’s 13 colonies’ intention to declare independence from Great Britain.
That statement, “The Declaration of Independence,” mostly written by Jefferson, was adopted by the Continental Congress meeting in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, on July 4, 1776, a date now celebrated as the birth of American independence.
In a letter to his wife Abagail, John Adams wrote: “I am apt to believe that it will be celebrated, by succeeding Generations, as the great anniversary Festival. It ought to be commemorated, as the Day of Deliverance by solemn Acts of Devotion to God Almighty. It ought to be solemnized with Pomp and Parade, with Shews, Games, Sports, Guns, Bells, Bonfires and Illuminations from one End of this Continent to the other from this time forward forever more.” Mr. Adams would be proud to know that his vision of how to celebrate our Independence has been carried on for almost 250 years! America celebrates every 4th of July with parades, baseball games, cookouts, family get togethers, and fireworks. Mr. Adams also said the day should be commemorated as a “Day of Deliverance by solemn acts of Devotion to God Almighty.” John Adams, along with the other 55 (56 in all) signees of The Declaration of Independence, acknowledged the help and sovereignty of God. There is no denying that our country was founded on Biblical principles. The words written on the Liberty Bell in Philadelphia, which proclaimed our independence, are from Leviticus 25:10: “Proclaim liberty throughout all the land unto all the inhabitants thereof.”
In addition to the traditional celebrations of July 4th, here are a few suggestions of how we as Christians can show “solemn acts of Devotion to God Almighty” during this holiday. Take time today to thank God for the religious freedoms we have. We can attend the church of our choice, we can openly read our Bible, and outside of schools, still openly pray. In many countries you would be arrested and/or executed for doing so. Thank Him for the many men and women who have given their lives to defend our freedoms.
Please keep in mind that it’s not the Fourth of July that we celebrate, it’s “Independence!” Read and share the history and stories of our “founding fathers” fight for freedom to your family and friends. Although they declared independence in 1776, Americans were not delivered from tyranny until 1783. We need to commit our lives, our future, and our country to a Sovereign God and His will. “Blessed is the nation whose God is the Lord” (Psalm 33:12).
Ronald Reagan said, “Without God, there is no virtue because there’s no prompting of the conscience. And without God, democracy will not and cannot long endure. If we ever forget that we’re one nation under God, then we will be a nation gone under.”
Lastly, pray for America and for those in leadership at the local, state, and federal level. “I exhort therefore, that, first of all, supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks, be made for all men; for kings, and for all that are in authority; that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and honesty. For this is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Saviour.” (1 Timothy 2:1-3)
America is currently facing some of the most difficult times in her history. It’s time for Christians to stand tall for truth, showing trust in a Sovereign God, while also praying for God to continue to show grace to our beloved America!
Happy Independence Day!