Happy Fourth of July

Pastor Thad Gifford Contributing Columnist

July 2, 2014

“Happy Fourth of July!” I bet you have either said that or someone has said that to you. If not, let me be the first by saying to you, “Happy Fourth of July!”

Here’s what Wikipedia says about the Fourth of July: “During the American Revolution, the legal separation of the 13 colonies from Great Britain occurred on July 2, 1776, when the Second Continental Congress voted to approve a resolution of independence that had been proposed in June by Richard Henry Lee of Virginia declaring the United States independent from Great Britain.

“After voting for independence, Congress turned its attention to the Declaration of Independence, a statement explaining this decision, which had been prepared by a Committee of Five, with Thomas Jefferson as its principal author. Congress debated and revised the wording of the Declaration, finally approving it on July 4. A day earlier, John Adams had written to his wife, Abigail:

“The second day of July 1776, will be the most memorable epoch in the history of America. 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 shows, games, sports, guns, bells, bonfires, and illuminations, from one end of this continent to the other, from this time forward forever more.”

Adams’s prediction was off by two days. From the outset, Americans celebrated independence on July 4, the date shown on the much-publicized Declaration of Independence, rather than on July 2, the date the resolution of independence was approved in a closed session of Congress.

Historians have long disputed whether Congress actually signed the Declaration of Independence on July 4, even though Thomas Jefferson, John Adams, and Benjamin Franklin all later wrote that they had signed it on that day. Most historians have concluded that the Declaration was signed nearly a month after its adoption, on Aug. 2, 1776, and not on July 4 as is commonly believed.

In a remarkable coincidence, both John Adams and Thomas Jefferson, the only signers of the Declaration of Independence later to serve as presidents of the United States, died on the same day: July 4, 1826, which was the 50th anniversary of the Declaration. Although not a signer of the Declaration of Independence, but another Founding Father who became a president, James Monroe, died on July 4, 1831, thus becoming the third president in a row who died on this memorable day. Calvin Coolidge, the 30th president, was born on July 4, 1872, and, so far, is the only president to have been born on Independence Day.

Independence from England. The freedom to do and to be what they wanted to be. How many lives have been given for America to maintain her freedom over the years? Multiple millions and millions of men and women have given the Ultimate Sacrifice so that you and I might enjoy the freedom we have today. But, as they say, “Freedom is not free.” So, first of all, thank you to all who have served and are serving to keep our country free. We owe you a great debt for your service.

Two thousand years ago, another man gave His life for our freedom too. His name is Jesus Christ, the Son of God and He willingly laid down His life on Calvary’s cross for the payment of our sin debt. When He did that, His blood made the payment for sin in our lives. Thank you, Jesus, for your sacrifice.

Now, the question is this, “Have you accepted what Jesus did for you?” See, the Bible says that to those who accept Jesus’ gift of salvation, we will spend our eternity in Heaven with Him! (John 3:1-7; Romans 10:9-10, 13; I. John 5:13) The “bottom line” of God’s Word is this…God loves you, man sinned, we need a Savior, Jesus died for our sins and if we receive the free gift of eternal life we will be saved and spend our eternity in Heaven.

Have you done that? Will you spend your eternity in Heaven? Do you know that for sure?

And that is Something To Think About for this week.

Pastor Thad Gifford is the founding and lead pastor of the Crossroads Community Church, 62 E. Second St., London. He can be reached at (740) 852-7800, email him at