“We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness…”
Ah, the Declaration of Independence. Most Americans know that this statement was adopted July 4, 1776 and announced that the thirteen American colonies regarded themselves as independent states, no longer under the command of the British Empire.
But have you ever considered the similarities between what is written in the Declaration of Independence and what is written in the Word of God?
Let’s take a look.
All Men Are Created Equal
Although equality was written into the Declaration as a ‘self-evident truth’, it was years before the United States of America began to truly value all people as equal. However, if you look to the Bible, you will find many verses supporting the truth of that statement:
God created man and woman in His image (Genesis 1:27).
A servant is not greater than his master, nor is a messenger greater than the one who sent him (John 13:16).
God shows no partiality (Romans 2:11).
We are all one in Christ Jesus (Galatians 3:28).
Life, Liberty & the Pursuit of Happiness
I imagine that the founding fathers viewed the American Dream a bit differently than we do today. Rather than living a life of freedom, many Americans find themselves slaves to their jobs trapped in the bondage of mortgage payments, credit card bills and student loan debt. Are 1 in 10 Americans taking anti-depressants, in pursuit of happiness? (Harvard Health)
According to Scripture, Jesus is Life. Jesus is Liberty. Jesus is Happiness. Pursuing happiness means pursuing Jesus.
From the very beginning life was breathed into us, not on our own account (Genesis 2:7).
Jesus is the way, the truth, and the life (John 14:16).
We have freedom and eternal life with Christ Jesus our Lord (Romans 6:23, John 3:16).
Jesus came that we may have an abundant life (John 10:10).
With Jesus we are free from the law of sin and death (Romans 8:1-2, John 8:36).
Freedom from Oppression
The American colonists sought freedom from British rule. Jesus brought freedom from a law that only He could fulfill. It’s important for us to remember, as Americans and as followers of Christ, that we are free but that doesn’t mean we can’t fall back into ‘yoke of slavery’ (Galatians 5:1). That would be a foolish waste of the gift of grace God has given us in His Son.
We are to serve in the new way of the Spirit, not in the old way of the written code (Romans 7:6).
The law doesn’t make us righteous, only Christ can do that (Romans 3:20, Romans 10:4).
With Jesus we are not under the law but under grace (Romans 6:14).
The New Covenant, Our Declaration of Independence
In speaking of a new covenant, Jesus made the old covenant obsolete (Hebrews 8:13). He freed us from a law whose wages were sin and death. He cancelled our debt (Colossians 2:14). In Christ we have no condemnation (Romans 8:1). In Christ we are equal. As children of God we are co-heirs with Christ (Romans 8:17). The New Covenant gives us certain unalienable rights that among these are eternal life, freedom from sin and death, and supreme happiness in Jesus Christ.
How to Obtain Independence
Lucky for us, declaring our personal independence is much easier than going to war with Great Britain. Romans 10:9,10 gives us a pretty cut and dry formula:
“…If you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For with the heart one believes and is justified, and with the mouth one confesses and is saved.”