“The sum of all is, if we would most truly enjoy the gift of heaven, let us become a virtuous people; then shall we both deserve and enjoy it. While, on the other hand, if we are universally vicious and debauched in our manners, though the form of our Constitution carries the face of the most exalted freedom, we shall in reality be the most abject slaves.” –Samuel Adams
This past week we observed a Supreme Court nominee (and most likely the next Justice on the court) all but deny her belief in the existence and importance of what Cicero called “natural laws” and our Founders referred to as “inalienable rights.” If you listen long enough to her reasoning you would think that our nation’s constitution was constructed out of thin air; that it’s supporting principals are only as foundational as the paper it was written on. However, there were two great truths woven within the fabric of our freedom of which we are celebrating this weekend. The first is that a free nation is one that preserves and promotes the freedoms granted to the creature by their Creator. The nation is a servant of God not a replacement for Him. The second one is the corrupted nature of all men that could never be constrained by mere outward law and government for very long. A free nation must be characterized by a general inward constraint flowing from a love and thankfulness for the freedoms and the Freedom-giver.
As long as words like freedom, liberty, rights, law, justice, and virtue remain broken free from their rightful, eternal, unchanging context within the Word Himself they will only be the fleeting rumblings of mere mortals who can no more rule a nation than they can the inner workings of their own hearts. When men and churches and nations restore these words to their natural source, they will again flow fresh and free in a way that spills over these borders to the corners of the earth.