Standing on a small island in a bay separating the states of New York and New Jersey, is a gift we call the Statue of Liberty. Envisioned by a law professor in 1865 and designed and built by Frederic Bartholdi, Lady Liberty was was given by France to the people of the United States of America in 1886.
In her left arm is a tablet of the law, inscribed with the date of July 4, 1776, the date when the Declaration of Independence was accepted. Her right arm is raised with a lit torch, shining freedom and progress to all those around her. Around her head is a diadem (crown) with seven rays, representing the sun, the seven seas, and the seven continents. Mostly hidden by her long, flowing gown, is a broken chain. The Statute of Liberty stands today as a beloved symbol of freedom for generations of Americans. She still calls out to millions of people from across the globe to the freedom that the world sees in the American Republic.
If you were to do a quick survey, it would be interesting to know how people answer the following question: “What is the source of freedom for the American people?”
If the government is our source of freedom, it is subject to the whims of frail and flawed individuals. Any government which grants freedom can take it at any time.
As grateful as we are for the daily sacrifices of soldiers, sailors, and airmen, they are not the source of American freedom either. They may defend our freedoms, but even their life-blood at the end of a gun or bomb cannot be the source of liberty.
The Declaration of Independence which sets out the reason for the creation of the United States says that Americans are: endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness. The Founding Fathers – some Christians, some deists, some barely religious in any sense – agreed that life, freedom, and the pursuit of happiness come from the Judeo-Christian Creator.
As marvelous as our God-given rights and freedoms are as Americans, the liberty God gives to the human soul from the chains of sin is far surpassing. Through the sacrificial offering of His life upon a crude cross, Jesus bought freedom for all who accept His death on their behalf. In Him alone we find lives of glorious freedom. Freedom from condemnation. Freedom from eternal death. Freedom from God’s judgment. Freedom to live as the Creator intended humanity to live.
If the Son therefore shall make you free, ye shall be free indeed (John 8:36).