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 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. Usually unseen, 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.
What is the source of America’s cherished freedom?
Some would say it is a gift of government. If government is the source of freedom, it is subject to the whims of frail and flawed politicians. Do you trust the same government which once said blacks counted as half a human being to grant your rights and freedoms? The government which grants freedom can take it at any time.
As grateful as we are for the life sacrifices of soldiers, sailors, and airmen, their sacrifices are not the source of American freedom either. Men and women with guns may defend our freedoms, but if it is their lives which are the source of liberty, every war would spawn freedom.
The Declaration of Independence set out the reason for the creation of the United States. It 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 and some irreligious – agreed that life, liberty, and the ability to pursue of happiness are gifts from the Creator. They believed that freedom flows from a Divine Source greater than ourselves.
The world yearns for the political freedom which issues from the Judeo-Christian God, but the liberty this God gives the human soul from the chains of sin is far surpassing. Through the sacrificial death of Jesus upon a crude cross, He bought freedom for all who accept His death on their behalf. In Him alone the burdened find glorious freedom; freedom from condemnation, eternal death, God’s wrath, and 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).