Wednesday, November 26, 2014
In 2011, Ohio governor John R. Kasich commemorated Thanksgiving as a time “for friends and family to gather together and express gratitude for our blessings, to celebrate the freedoms we enjoy…,” and a “day when Americans recognize the providence bestowed upon our nation and celebrate the courage and faith of our country’s first settlers…” Even before Abraham Lincoln proclaimed a national day of Thanksgiving in 1863, Jefferson Davis had issued a proclamation inviting the Confederate states to “unite in rendering thanks and praise to God for these great mercies, and to implore Him to conduct our country safely through the perils which surround us…”
Perils still surround us. However, the nation that was founded upon religious freedom and individual liberty and opportunity is threatened today, more importantly, from within, by increasing unrest, upheaval, scandal and crisis after crisis.
Lincoln foresaw that the greatest dangers to our nation are internal, not foreign. In 1838 he challenged Americans with the task of perpetuating our political institutions in order to perform gratitude to our founding fathers and duty to our posterity.
“How, then, shall we perform it?” he asked, “At what point shall we expect the approach of danger? By what means shall we fortify against it? Shall we expect some transatlantic military giant, to step the Ocean, and crush us at a blow? Never! All the armies of Europe, Asia and Africa combined, with all the treasure of the earth (our own excepted) in their military chest; with a Buonaparte for a commander, could not by force, take a drink from the Ohio, or make a track on the Blue Ridge, in a Trial of a thousand years.
At what point then is the approach of danger to be expected? I answer, if it ever reach us, it must spring up amongst us. It cannot come from abroad. If destruction be our lot, we must ourselves be its author and finisher. As a nation of freemen, we must live through all time, or die by suicide.”
When the first American patriots broke away from the tyranny of King George, they knew that they were risking the loss of everything they had, including their lives. Thomas Jefferson wrote, “The tree of liberty must be refreshed from time to time with the blood of patriots and tyrants. It is its natural manure.” Jefferson and many of the framers of the constitution seemed to realize that, given enough time, any government tends to become more corrupt, tyrannical and oppressive.
Our political, social and economic freedoms were bought with a price, the blood of the patriots. However, there is a kind of freedom which has been purchased with even more precious blood, the freedom from the power of sin and death. It is this freedom for which we are eternally grateful.
1 Corinthians 6:20 says, “For ye are bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God’s.” Believers have been purchased with a great price, God’s blood. Our works could never be good enough to obtain this great redemption, for which Jesus paid such an incredible price.