Author’s Note: Interested readers can find all previous volumes of this series here.
Given that it is Independence Day weekend, I would be remiss if this Bible Study did not address the themes of this holiday: God, country, freedom, and the flag.
Earlier this week, unsolicited, my esteemed colleague Russ Breault— a world-renowned Shroud of Turin expert, a brilliant theologian, and Bible scholar — sent me a brief essay he had written in honor of the holiday specifically for this Bible Study.
“The Christian Meaning of the American Flag”
RED is the color of blood—the blood of American soldiers who gave their lives for our freedom. It also represents the blood of Christ, which is the price God paid to pardon the disobedience of a fallen human race and secure our freedom from the bondage of sin and death.
WHITE is the color of righteousness purchased for us at the cross. By faith, believers put on the righteousness of Christ and are passed from judgment to complete acceptance by a holy God who no longer holds our sins against us.
BLUE is the color of the sky, eternity, and heaven. It is the promise of eternal life in joyful union with the risen Christ.
THE STARS represent what we will become in eternity, bright stars shining in the light of God’s grace with ever-increasing glory.
Expanding upon what Russ wrote, the flag symbolizes why 244 years ago yesterday, we celebrated our Founding Fathers’ signing an earth-shattering document — the Declaration of Independence, which included these iconic words:
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.
No nation had ever been birthed with rights “endowed” by God —as opposed to a king or an equally powerful human. That was revolutionary!
On July 4, 1981, President Ronald Reagan, writing in Parade Magazine about what the day meant to him, described our founding as “the only true philosophical revolution in all history.”
This weekend in holiday piece that highlighted excerpts from Reagan’s essay I wrote:
“Most significant, the concept was blessed by God. If not, how could ragtag militias of under-equipped patriots have managed to defeat what was then the greatest military power on earth? The American triumph was no coincidence.
“Thus, however, flawed our nation always was and is — a viewpoint held by many citizens, the opposing party, and most of the media — the United States of America was created by the grace of God. And we continue, “In God, We Trust” to exist and lead the world by that grace.
“The Fourth of July is the perfect day for our president and all elected leaders to stand up and speak the truth — our nation is a direct result of God’s blessing, from where our government’s power and individual rights are derived, endowed, and sustained.
“Most significant, the concept was blessed by God. If not, how could ragtag militias of under-equipped patriots have managed to defeat what was then the greatest military power on earth? The American triumph was no coincidence.”
Perhaps if all Americans stood together and acknowledged His role in granting us our freedom, much of the division we are experiencing would miraculously fade, and our Creator would heal this nation.
With those thoughts in mind, here are some Biblical verses about freedom for you to ponder:
So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed (John 8:36).
It is for freedom that Christ has set us free! (Galatians 5:1).
You, my brothers and sisters, were called to be free. But do not use your freedom to indulge the flesh; rather, serve one another humbly in love. For the entire law is fulfilled in keeping this one command: "Love your neighbor as yourself."(Galatians 5:13-14).
But now that you have been set free from sin and become slaves to God, the benefit you reap leads to holiness, and the result is eternal life (Romans 6:22).
Live as people who are free, not using your freedom as a cover-up for evil, but living as servants of God(1 Peter 2:16).
In him and through faith in him we may approach God with freedom and confidence (Ephesians 3:12).
Finally, I will conclude with a non-Biblical, but nonetheless “holy” sentence from the last sentence in the fourth and final verse of our national anthem, “The Star-Spangled Banner”:
And this be our motto - "In God is our trust," And the star-spangled banner in triumph shall wave O'er the land of the free and the home of the brave.
Amen and God Bless America! (More than ever, we need His blessings.)