This week, as we celebrate our independence from England, we would do well to consider the oft-forgotten last stanza of “America the Beautiful”:
America, America, God mend thine every flaw,
Confirm thy soul in self-control, Thy liberty in law.
What the context makes clear is that liberty does not mean doing whatever we like; it is a liberty bound by law.
But the context also makes it clear that the law that binds our liberty must be understood in relationship to God. In other words, liberty must be within the bounds of God’s law because any other source of law would not produce self-control—we would just change the “law” to suit the degree of self-control we are willing to tolerate.
So, as we celebrate our liberty, let’s remember that real liberty and God’s law go hand in hand.
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