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  • Writer's pictureJosh Elmore CFP

Independence Day Reflection

Updated: Jul 7

The following is the personal opinion of Author Josh Elmore and contains no reference to markets or investments.

Each year, I reflect a bit on the incredible early days at the founding of our nation, perhaps I reflect more often than once a year as a replica of the declaration sits right above my workstation in my home office, as well as a few canvas prints of artwork from the American Revolution.

This year, I thought I would share a bit of my reflection. If you care to read, I hope that it finds you well and grateful for all that this country was, is, and the hope that it still represents.

Though Congress unanimously passed the motion to declare independence on July 2nd, 1776, July 4th is the day on which the historic document, The Declaration of Independence, was adopted by Congress.

Regarding this milestone event in history, John Adams wrote to his wife Abigail:

“I am apt to believe that it will be celebrated, by succeeding Generations, as the great anniversary Festival. It ought to be commemorated, as the Day of Deliverance by solemn Acts of Devotion to God Almighty. It ought to be solemnized with Pomp and Parade, with Shews, Games, Sports, Guns, Bells, Bonfires and Illuminations from one End of this Continent to the other from this Time forward forever more.

You will think me transported with Enthusiasm but I am not. -- I am well aware of the Toil and Blood and Treasure, that it will cost Us to maintain this Declaration, and support and defend these States. -- Yet through all the Gloom I can see the Rays of ravishing Light and Glory. I can see that the End is more than worth all the Means. And that Posterity will tryumph in that Days Transaction, even altho We should rue it, which I trust in God We shall not.”

Wow! Even before Washington took command of the Continental Army, Adams understood the weight of this glorious declaration!

It is only by the grace of God, in His divine sovereignty, that a new nation would come to pass; one governed by the people, where protecting divinely established rights were the main goal and purpose of government. The words from the Declaration, I believe, remain unrivaled throughout history. Outside of the Bible, there aren’t words that so beautifully encapsulate the experience of man, squelched by the heavy hand of tyranny, boldly proclaiming their freedom, all the while citing the Creator as the chief reason for this freedom.

Let’s take a quick look at just a few paragraphs from this great document.

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. That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, that whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute a new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form , as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness

What are self-evident truths? In short, they are simple truths that we all must acknowledge, and truths that exist outside human influence. Any sane and rational human knows not to kill, not to cheat, not to steal, not to covet; are these sounding familiar? God’s law (the ten commandments) summarizes broadly these truths that are “self-evident”, what the human heart already knows to be true. They’re not just true because many people in a particular society gathered and agreed upon these truths at one point in time, otherwise, they would only be relatively true, which is to say, not true at all.

Any time I think about these self-evident truths, I’m reminded of Romans chapter one, where Paul says, “For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities- his eternal power and divine nature- have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that people are without excuse.” The divinely inspired Scriptures attest to the reality that truth in the absolute exists, and it is known and felt by all.

In today’s postmodern society (or what you might call, post-truth), many want to rewrite history in that they want to erase any ode to the Creator from our nation’s founders. They cannot stand to think that God could have possibly been at the core of our countries founding. This is silly when you think about it. How could mere men conceive of a nation whose chief aim was to uphold supernatural, God-given rights without any acknowledgement of God? If those who want to rewrite this history are correct in that it is only man’s responsibility to dispense rights to their fellow man (because their claim is that “there is no God”), then why didn’t the founders simply crave the same power of the British Crown but on a different continent?

If these self-evident “natural rights” don’t exist, that is, rights bestowed by God himself, existing outside the conception of the human mind, why wouldn’t have the Founding Fathers want to be the keyholders for all rights that could be given (and subsequently taken away) by the Crown or other governing force? The reason is simple, they understood, in fact, that these “unalienable rights” do exist, and were endowed by our Creator. It’s one of the most powerful statements in the founding document. Can we agree now that rewriting this piece in history is at least a little silly?

The founding fathers didn’t want the kind of power that the crown represented, they wanted the freedom to live, to pursue God-ordained motives, to raise families, build farms, and create/cultivate things without needless interference from government. They understood these pursuits were from God, not man, so they were never mankind’s to take away or to give, any attempt at such is an attempt to defy the order of the Creator Himself.

Yes, America is not without blemish, we all know this to be true. But thankfully, we’ve continued to cite this Declaration and these divinely appointed rights in the constant pursuit of forming a more perfect union. To grow closer to the most perfect union, we need to appeal to the Sovereign God to do so, there is no alternative. At the conclusion of the Declaration of Independence, we see again how important this appeal was to those that signed their names on this great document.

We, therefore, the Representatives of the united States of America, in General Congress, Assembled, appealing to the Supreme Judge of the world for the rectitude of our intentions, do, in the Name, and by Authority of the good People of these Colonies, solemnly publish and declare, that these United Colonies, are, and of Right ought to be Free and Independent States; that they are Absolved from all Allegiance to the British Crown, and that all political connection between them and the State of Great Britain, is and ought to be totally dissolved;… and for the support of this Declaration, with a firm reliance on the protection of divine Providence, we mutually pledge to each other our Lives, our Fortunes and our sacred Honor.

It cannot be ignored, the fact that our nation’s founding was based on the sovereignty and Spirit of God. Without the standard given to us by God Himself, there is no good reason why any nation should stand. There are not enough “good vibes” and “can do attitudes” that can keep a union intact based solely on the premise of “the greater good of society”, whatever that socialist maxim even means. Today’s post-modern culture largely embodies a “what’s right for me is right for me” attitude, but what happens when what’s right for you tramples upon the inalienable right of another person, say, their right to life? Or what if what’s right for you is to take from your neighbor’s land and therefore infringe on their right to property? This logic (or lack thereof) does not stand today and it did not stand at the founding of our nation.

Reflecting on this holiday really brings me to a point of ultimate reflection on God’s common grace, which is dispensed to all people, whether they claim faith in Him or not. He graciously allows us to live, breathe, and experience this life, many of us in this great country. Hard it must be in other parts of the world, where man, ravaged with pride, carries out similar (or worse) tyranny than the British Crown. Their day will come as God has set the appointment. And for those even from within our great nation that seek to dismantle, destroy, or alter the truths found in this document, their day will come too. For now, we cling to the hope that this nation was built upon, and we cling to our ultimate hope, which is Christ, the preeminent one through whom we are given these unalienable rights and we say, “thank you, God!”

Without God, this great nation will not stand.

God bless these United States and may God preserve this great nation for His glory.

Josh Elmore, CFP® | CKA®

Revolutionary War art displayed in office

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