Mature Class Study, teacher Leslie Crain.
July 4, 1775 was when the 13 original states of America sent representatives to sign the Declaration of Independence. At the convention Patrick Henry made his famous speech (a portion of the speech):
“If we were base enough to desire it, it is now too late to retire from the contest. There is no retreat but in submission and slavery! Our chains are forged! Their clanking may be heard on the plains of Boston! The war is inevitable and let it come! I repeat it, sir, let it come. It is in vain, sir, to extenuate the matter. Gentlemen may cry, Peace, Peace, but there is no peace. The war is actually begun! The next gale that sweeps in from the north will bring to our ears the clash of resounding arms! Our brethren are ready in the fields! Why stand we here idle? What is it that gentlemen wish? What would they have? Is life so dear, or peace so sweet, as to be purchased at the price of chains and slavery? Forbid it, Almighty God! If know not what course others may take; but as for me, give me liberty or give me death”.
On March 20, 1775 delegates were selected to form the Continental Congress.
July 1 – the Continental Congress voted as a committee of the whole in favor of independence.
July 2 – the final version of the United States Declaration of Independence was written. The full congress passed the resolution.
July 3 – British Troops landed on Staten Island (would be the longest occupied land for the duration of the conflict).
July 4 – The Unites States officially declared independence from the British Empire and The United States Declaration of Independence was signed by the president of the Continental Congress, John Hancock, together with representatives from Connecticut, Delaware, Georgia, Maryland, Massachusetts Bay, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, Pennysylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina, and Virginia.
As used in the Constitution, liberty means freedom from arbitrary and unreasonable restraint upon an individual. Those who wrote the declaration listed 27 reasons for separating from the British Empire. It took much thought and prayer. Our liberty is because of men and women who bore arms to fight for our freedoms. We grew up under the freedoms given in the declaration and may feel that’s just the way it is. But our liberty can be lost. We see little freedoms being taken from us and we should be concerned because our freedoms cost many lives.
Freedom from restraint refers to freedom to act according to one’s own will, not just freedom from physical restraint. Freedom is more than freedom from restraint and to do our own will. Experience tells us that acting according to our own will often doesn’t get the results we’re expecting or hoping for. Freedom is used twice in the Bible (Leviticus 19:20, Acts 22:28).
The words “independent“ and “independence” are not found in the Bible. Liberty is in the Bible 27 times. Liberty is the state of being free in a society from oppressive restrictions imposed by authority on one’s life, behavior, or political views. Christ came to give us the gift of liberty from sin. He gives us true liberty to live in a way that’s acceptable and holy before our Father. When we turned our lives over to God, he bound our broken heart, proclaimed liberty, and opened our prison.
Isaiah 61:1 The Spirit of the Lord God is upon me; because the Lord hath anointed me to preach good tidings unto the meek; he hath sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and the opening of the prison to them that are bound;
Jesus paid the price to give liberty to the captive and to those of us who are bruised. The enemy of our soul was bound.
Luke 4:17-21 And there was delivered unto him the book of the prophet Esaias. And when he had opened the book, he found the place where it was written, The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he hath anointed me to preach the gospel to the poor; he hath sent me to heal the brokenhearted, to preach deliverance to the captives, and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty them that are bruised, To preach the acceptable year of the Lord. And he closed the book, and he gave it again to the minister, and sat down. And the eyes of all them that were in the synagogue were fastened on him. And he began to say unto them, This day is this scripture fulfilled in your ears.
Jesus spoke of the slavery of sin and liberty through him – freedom from bondage, free from guilt, free to make the right choices.
John 8:31-36 Then said Jesus to those Jews which believed on him, If ye continue in my word, then are ye my disciples indeed; And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free. They answered him, We be Abraham’s seed, and were never in bondage to any man: how sayest thou, Ye shall be made free? Jesus answered them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Whosoever committeth sin is the servant of sin. And the servant abideth not in the house for ever: but the Son abideth ever. If the Son therefore shall make you free, ye shall be free indeed.
There are responsibilities that go with our liberty. Liberty doesn’t mean we’re free to do whatever we want. Christ brought liberty from the Jewish law. The law had been burdensome and manipulative to control men. Their whole life was wrapped up in the rules of the law and it wasn’t bringing them peace or helping them in their lives. Christ came to break through that barrier so people could have a close experience with God. People also had preferences and opinions. The law only went so far in how they loved their brother. Our liberty only goes so far in that we love and don’t offend our brother by what we do.
Galatians 5:13-15 For, brethren, ye have been called unto liberty; only use not liberty for an occasion to the flesh, but by love serve one another. For all the law is fulfilled in one word, even in this; Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. But if ye bite and devour one another, take heed that ye be not consumed one of another.
Jesus example of liberty showed he always spoke in love to help others. He said the two main commandments are: to love God first and to love others as we love ourselves. When God is first, we won’t do anything that isn’t pleasing to him. We have to crucify our flesh daily and God gives everything we need to serve him. We use these things to help our brother.
Matthew 22:34-40 But when the Pharisees had heard that he had put the Sadducees to silence, they were gathered together. Then one of them, which was a lawyer, asked him a question, tempting him, and saying, Master, which is the great commandment in the law? Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets.
Sometimes our neighbor that we need to love is in our house. They are the ones we’re most critical of. If you’re typing and make a mistake, you don’t slap your fingers. Or if you say the wrong word, you don’t slap your mouth. We can’t hold such a high standard that we can’t even meet it. We need to be longsuffering and not be a stumblingblock to others.
I Corinthians 8:9 But take heed lest by any means this liberty of yours become a stumblingblock to them that are weak.
Not everything is expedient – fit or suitable for the purpose, proper under the circumstances. We don’t want to get caught up in things that don’t edify or strengthen others. Paul said he was a prisoner of the Lord five times. It was his choice to put the Father first in his ways, his words, his attitudes, and to have the Father’s fruit in his life before his own way.
I Corinthians 6:12 All things are lawful unto me, but all things are not expedient: all things are lawful for me, but I will not be brought under the power of any.
I Corinthians 10:23 All things are lawful for me, but all things are not expedient: all things are lawful…but all things edify not.
Joshua said he and his house chose to serve the Lord (Joshua 24:15). God wants us to be careful in what we allow with our liberty. God wants us to be submitted to him so he can easily lead us. Can we be with God like the faithful dog who follows you everywhere and we’re always there for God? God wants us to be near him.
Psalm 32:8-9 I will instruct thee and teach thee in the way which thou shalt go: I will guide thee with mine eye. Be ye not as the horse, or as the mule, which have no understanding: whose mouth must be held in with bit and bridle, lest they come near unto thee.
A precept is a guiding principle or rule that controls, influences, or regulates our conduct. We need God’s precepts to help us walk pleasing to God in our liberty.
Psalm 119:45 And I will walk at liberty: for I seek thy precepts.