When I was in first and second grade I attended an elementary school named after one of Georgia’s signers of the Declaration of Independence. Do you remember who those three gentlemen were? Most of us today probably associate their names more with counties than anything else — Lyman Hall, Button Gwinnett and George Walton.
When we think of those who put their “John Hancock” on that significant historical document, maybe we think of them similarly to the charter members of an organization. We remember them and honor them as being the Founding Fathers, some of the first ones to commit themselves to the forming of our nation as an independent body.
But let’s not lose sight of the great risk these signers were taking. They weren’t just the lucky winners who were chosen to have the honor of representing their states and going down in history as being present for this ceremonial occasion. These men were putting their lives on the line by signing this declaration. They had the courage to be personally identified as rebels against the greatest power in the world at that time.
It has been called one of the boldest acts in the records of time. If the colonies had failed in this struggle, these signers were dooming themselves to the fate of being executed by hanging.
Yes, there’s a good reason we’ve honored those men by placing their names on counties, schools, and other entities.
We’ve been blessed to live in a nation in which it hasn’t required much courage to be identified as a Christian. That’s not the case in other parts of the world. And times are changing in our own country.
What if you knew that if you signed on to follow Christ you would be discriminated against in the workplace? What if you knew the IRS might target you for audits? What if you knew it would cause many in society to view you as a dangerous person and as an intolerant hater of certain people due to your antiquated biblical views?
Keep in mind, these are just hypothetical situations. Or are they?
Will we have the courage to openly identify with Christ — to sign our names to the fact that we are aligning ourselves primarily with Him and His Word? By doing so, we will be declaring that if the mighty power of our government ever tries to force us to do something against the principles of Scripture, we will have to obey God rather than men.
We will be stating clearly that we believe in and intend to adhere to the eternal truths of God’s Word in spite of society’s changing morals and standards.
We will be declaring our independence not only from sin, but also from the dictates of political correctness and from the pressures of this world to get us to conform to its unbiblical views and lifestyles.
Do we have the courage to take such a stand?
Too many people who have signed on as Christians are buckling under the current pressures to compromise their beliefs and their loyalty to the Savior. We need some spiritual Lyman Halls, Button Gwinnetts, and George Waltons.
We need believers who are willing to sign their names on the dotted line to let this world know that they are dedicated to Jesus and they are going to stay true to His Word no matter what others say about them or do to them.
May God give us Christians today the same kind of courage those signers of the Declaration of Independence possessed.
The Rev. Tony W. Elder is pastor of Wesley Community Fellowship Church. He can be reached at 770-483-3405 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.