Many people enjoyed fireworks and festivities yesterday, celebrating the two-hundredth and forty-second anniversary of the USA’s 1776 Declaration of Independence. Today, people were no doubt a bit sluggish to get up and get moving, back to their regular lives. Folks tend to fall into one of two categories on July 4th; either they stay up late shooting fireworks, or their stay up late listening to their neighbors shoot fireworks. Either way, sleep doesn’t happen like normal.
So here we are, the day after.
I wonder what July 5th was like for the USA founding fathers? Their declaration would take more than a day to reach the ears of King George III so they probably spent the day making preparations for the retaliation that was to come. Of course, by July 1776, the Revolutionary War had already begun, even if it wasn’t known by that title. Lexington, Concord, and Bunker Hill had already seen battles, and George Washington had already been appointed the head of the Continental Army. In fact, one year earlier, on July 5, 1775, the Continental Congress (many of whom would later sign the Declaration of Independence) send an olive branch to King George III, asking for peace and restoration of the colonies to English rule if the King would just remove a few taxes and restore some of the rights he’d taken away from the colonies.
George refused and that was that; the people said “forget the King, we’ll go on our own!”
So the Declaration was signed, war raged on and, thanks to a big assist from the French, the war was won. Then what? That’s probably a question many citizens and non-decision makers were wondering after the Treaty of Paris was signed. Soon after, the US Constitution was crafted, structuring the new union of states into a federal body. Ben Franklin was famously asked what kind of government the people were to have going forward. He replied:
A republic…if you can keep it.
The phrase “What comes next” was clearly on the mind of the elder statesman.
So here we are, two-hundred and thirty-two years after that, and for the most part the USA has “kept it.” I say all that to say this: Christians also are living in the era of “what comes next.” We who have been saved by the blood of Jesus need to be thinking about our lives and about what kind of people we are to be going forward. The USA’s framers settled on a representative government, as opposed to the monarchy they’d been under previously.
Christians now belong to a monarchy, serving under King Jesus, having left the self-rule of sinfulness behind.
As Paul said in Romans 6: What shall we say to this new life? Shall we continue sinning? No. We are dead to sin and should not live in it any longer. We were baptized into Jesus’ death, buried with Him, and raised alongside Him to walk in the newness of a new life. Our old person was put to death, and with it sin was destroyed. Because of that we no longer serve sin. We are dead, and he that is dead is freed from sin.
We’re living in the day (era) after our independence from sin. What kind of people should we be going forward?
A serving people, bending the knee to King Jesus.
Don’t forget your King!
Enjoy your weekend; we’ll see you Sunday!