Jul 22 11

The Declaration of Dependence on God

vmsmith

“Looking for that blessed hope, and the glorious appearing of the great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ;  [14]  Who gave himself for us, that he might redeem us from all iniquity, and purify unto himself a peculiar people, zealous of good works.” (Titus 2:13-14)

On the July 4th weekend, we were blessed to celebrate two hundred thirty-five years of American independence. One of the greatest freedoms we enjoy is the right to worship God according to the faith of our choosing. One of the vital principles our founding fathers insisted upon was freedom from the state church that so often persecuted dissenters. Even though they were against the establishment of any particular church, they were very much in favor of giving allegiance to the God who is the Creator of heaven and earth. The first two paragraphs of the Declaration of Independence each contain a reference to God. In the first paragraph, He is “Nature’s God,” and in the second He is the “Creator” who has “endowed” us with “certain unalienable rights.” In the last paragraph, the signatories declared their “reliance on the protection of Divine Providence.”

There is no doubt the founders were in unanimity as to the identity of “Nature’s God,” the “Creator,” and “Divine Providence.” John Quincy Adams said, “The highest glory of the American Revolution was this: It connected in one indissoluble bond the principles of civil government with the principles of Christianity.” This means the founders were duly bound to the God who promised to one day rule the world with a perfect government. The founders were intent on producing the best government humanly possible. In their minds, combining the principles of Christianity with this government was the only way this could be achieved. Although they were against a state church, they by no means thought their government would survive without obeying the “Creator” any more than they thought they could survive the Revolution without “the protection of Divine Providence.”

It is very clear the men that so desperately wanted to declare independence from the tyranny of the British Crown were eager to declare their dependence upon God. The beginning of the last paragraph also includes an appeal to the “Supreme Judge of the world for the rectitude of our intentions.” Compare this to Paul’s statement in Titus 2:13-14. They expected the “glorious appearing of our great God and Saviour, Jesus Christ,” who would come to judge the righteousness of their cause. They truly believed they were “zealous of good works,” which included rightly governing with a godly government. Some may think it wrong to apply these scriptures this way. However, we must remember the mindset of these men. They believed they existed to glorify God. There is no doubt they had various opinions about how to do this, but they were unified in their opinion that God would not excuse them if they did not build their government upon Christian principles.

Two hundred thirty-five years have passed since this courageous decision. So much time has passed, but the years have not dimmed the same basic need of all people no matter what type of government rules them. We will all stand before the “Supreme Judge of the world” to give account of our lives. I hope when you meet Him that you will be judged righteous in your actions. You will be if you have declared your dependence upon the Great God and our Saviour, Jesus Christ.

Pastor V. Mark Smith