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Liberty And Justice For All

Liberty And Justice For All

       Many, upon reading the title of this article, will recognize this as a line from the “Pledge of Allegiance”.   Sadly, some won’t recall these words as a part of the pledge because it is decreasing in use in our schools and among our civic organizations.   This is a sad commentary on the status of the minds of the citizenry of our nation.     Our great country was formed on the very principles of the Declaration of Independence. The second sentence of this document is the most familiar.   It reads: “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.”   The declaration is not too long. If you haven’t read it lately, you should.

       Thirty-one words affirm the values and freedom that the American flag represents.  These should be often recited while facing the flag as a pledge of Americans’ loyalty to their country. The Pledge of Allegiance was written for the 400th anniversary, in 1892, of the discovery of America. The pledge has undergone a few changes since its inception.   In 1923 the words “my flag” were changed to “the flag of the United States of America”. Then in 1954, the final change was made. The words “under God” were added after “one nation”.   This was a great addition and is of utmost importance.   The pledge has remained unchanged since that time.

         As our nations celebrates its “Independence Day”, all American’s hearts should swell with pride for our nation, and for the freedoms we enjoy, so often taken for granted.  Just in case you have forgotten the words of the pledge or never learned them, I have inserted them here for you. “I pledge allegiance to the flag of the United States of America and to the Republic for which it stands, one Nation under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all.” Learn these words; repeat them when the flag is presented, and remember that these are not just words; they stand for something.

       Another thing to remember is that “liberty and justice” do not only exist in the civil or political realm. “Liberty” is found 18 times in 17 verses, in the New Testament, while the word “justice” is not found once, but the idea of liberty, freedom, and justice is found throughout the New Testament.   The Spirit had the apostle Paul explain in 1Corinthians 3:17 that the Word of God provides liberty.   Now the Lord is that Spirit: and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty. In that context, Israel had been liberated from the Law of Moses, if they were in Christ.  

       We also read in James 1:25 that one must continue in God’s Word to be able to enjoy the happiness (blessedness) that comes from serving God. But whoso looketh into the perfect law of liberty, and continueth therein, he being not a forgetful hearer, but a doer of the work, this man shall be blessed in his deed. But where does “justice” come in?   The Spirit also had James to address this in James 2:12.   So speak ye, and so do, as they that shall be judged by the law of liberty. Jesus addressed this as well, when in John 12:48, He tells us upon what we shall be judged. He that rejecteth me, and receiveth not my words, hath one that judgeth him: the word that I have spoken, the same shall judge him in the last day There are too many folks today, religious and non-religious, that are gambling that God’s mercy will “override” His judgment.

       God’s mercy is great, but God Will have justice, and the judgment will occur as 2Peter 3:7 tells us. But the heavens and the earth, which are now, by the same word are kept in store, reserved unto fire against the day of judgment and perdition of ungodly men This same concept was affirmed in Jude vs 14b-15. Behold, the Lord cometh with ten thousands of his saints, 15 To execute judgment upon all, and to convince all that are ungodly among them of all their ungodly deeds which they have ungodly committed, and of all their hard speeches which ungodly sinners have spoken against him.

         Incidentally, God’s Word is also where the idea of “freedom in Christ” comes from. Many consider “freedom” only as when they can do as they wish, based on their own selfish desires.   This existed in the days of Paul, as the brethren in Romans 13:13-14 were told.  Let us walk honestly, as in the day; not in rioting and drunkenness, not in chambering and wantonness, not in strife and envying. 14 But put ye on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make not provision for the flesh, to fulfil the lusts thereof.

       Kris Kristofferson wrote a song in 1969, titled: “Me and Bobby McGee” in which the lyrics “Freedom's just another word for nothin' left to lose” are offered.   This is not true at all. Freedom in Christ means you have gained everything.   Neither is it true that there is no freedom when one has to follow rules or laws. In John 8:32Jesus said: And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.This “truth” is God’s Word. We are told in Romans 8:2 from what we are given liberty if we are in Christ and remain faithful to His Word. For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus hath made me free from the law of sin and death.

       Won’t you seek the liberty that Christ offers, and become free from sin today, and prepare yourself for the reward God has prepared when His just judgment takes place?  

Dennis Strickland – Mooresville church of Christ

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