The last five words of the Pledge of Allegiance spell out the desire Americans naturally have for freedom and fairness for everyone in our country. As fitting that these feelings appear to be, everyone also has his or her own interpretation of what these words mean. And, therefore, what one thinks in regard to achieving liberty and justice may differ and even conflict with someone else’s view.
One good example is the term we repeatedly hear today—“social justice.” This has become a movement for some groups who claim they are not being treated fairly. And, therefore, they are being deprived of their liberty in their views.
The aim of these groups is to tear down everything that they don’t approve of and create their own system. For most of these groups, anyone who disagrees with them must be taken out of the way, one way or the other. It’s not an exaggeration to state that if these radicals were to get their way, there would be no liberty and justice for all.
Of course, nothing on earth is perfect. There are always going to be flaws and failures no matter what system humans create and operate. But the best system we could ask for in this present age is one that recognizes “the laws of nature and nature’s God” in accordance with our Creator who created us equal, endowing us certain “inalienable rights” among which are “life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness,” as our Declaration of Independence declares. Those who still believe in the wisdom of “one nation under God” will agree this is where true liberty and justice for all are found.
God our Father looks with favor upon the nation who recognizes and obeys his Word: “Blessed [happy] is the nation whose God is the LORD, the people whom he has chosen for his own inheritance,” (Psalm 33:12, New American Standard Bible, NASB). This blessing directly refers to Israel as God’s chosen people (Deuteronomy 14:2). But any nation that recognizes Israel and their one true God will also be blessed. This promise goes all the way back to the Patriarch Abraham, father of the faithful (Genesis 12:1-3).
In Israel, those who chose to abide by God’s Laws were promised to receive God’s blessings including liberty for those in servitude. As one source says,
One of the final new commands from God in Jeremiah is the renunciation of slavery (Jer. 34:9). The Law of Moses required Hebrew slaves to be set free after six years of service (Exodus 21:2-4, Deuteronomy 15:12). Adults could sell themselves, and parents could sell their children, into servitude for six years. After that they must be released (Leviticus 25:39-46). In theory, it was a more humane system than the serfdom or chattel slavery known in the modern era. But it was abused by masters who simply ignored the requirement to set slaves free at the end of the term, or who continually re-enrolled slaves into a lifetime of consecutive six-year terms (Jer. 34:16-17). (For further reading, see https://www.theologyofwork.org/old-testament/jeremiah-lamentations/work-related-themes-in-the-book-of-jeremiah/slaves-set-free-jeremiah-34)
When it came to social justice, Israel was commanded to treat the less fortunate, as well as the foreigners living among them, with fairness, kindness, and respect. Consider the following scriptures…
Exodus 22:21-22 “You shall not wrong a sojourner or oppress him, for you were sojourners in the land of Egypt. You shall not mistreat any widow or fatherless child.” (See also, Deut. 27:19; 28:1-14).
Micah 6:8 “He has told you, O man, what is good; and what does the Lord require of you but to do justice, and to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God?” (English Standard Version, ESV)
Prov. 21:15 “When justice is done, it is a joy to the righteous but terror to evildoers.” (ESV)
Jeremiah 22:3 “Thus says the LORD: Do justice and righteousness, and deliver from the hand of the oppressor him who has been robbed. And do no wrong or violence to the resident alien, the fatherless, and the widow, nor shed innocent blood in this place.” (ESV)
Psalm 82:3-4 “Give justice to the weak and the fatherless; maintain the right of the afflicted and the destitute. Rescue the weak and the needy; deliver them from the hand of the wicked.” (ESV)
The blessings of liberty and justice for all is an important feature of being “under God” by submitting to him and his Word. As we put our faith in him and obey the teachings of his Word, we’ve chosen the standards that provide liberty and justice. God is the perfect Source of this blessing because he alone is perfect in righteousness and justice:
Deuteronomy 32:4 “The Rock, his work is perfect, for all his ways are justice. A God of faithfulness and without iniquity, just and upright is he.” (ESV)
Psalm 89:14 “Righteousness and justice are the foundation of your throne; steadfast love and faithfulness go before you.” (ESV)
God’s holy standards concerning liberty and justice were also advocated and upheld in the early church. For example, James tied liberty with justice when he wrote,
“But be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves. For if anyone is a hearer of the word and not a doer, he is like a man who looks intently at his natural face in a mirror. For he looks at himself and goes away and at once forgets what he was like. But the one who looks into the perfect law, the law of liberty, and perseveres, being no hearer who forgets but a doer who acts, he will be blessed in his doing,” (James 1:22-25, ESV)
“So speak and so act as those who are to be judged under the law of liberty,” (James 2:12, ESV).
We, as believers, use our liberty through Christ to speak and act according to the lifestyle approved by God and reflected in his Law. By God’s grace, he gave his only begotten Son to provide forgiveness and set us free from sin (Ephesians 1:7-8). But such freedom does not give us the liberty to live according to our sinful desires. Rather, it provides us the liberty of serving Christ and living according to the blessings that come by obeying his Word, as the Apostle Peter wrote,
“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, ESV).
Likewise, the Apostle Paul wrote,
“For freedom Christ has set us free; stand firm therefore, and do not submit again to a yoke of slavery…For you were called to freedom, brothers. Only do not use your freedom as an opportunity for the flesh, but through love serve one another,” (Galatians 5:1, 13, ESV).
As we look to the future, there will only be true liberty and justice for all when Christ comes to establish God’s Kingdom on the earth. The prophet Isaiah recorded God’s promise that includes a time when Christ, himself, (God calls him, “my servant”; “my chosen”) will bring permanent liberty and justice for all…
Isaiah 42:1-9 “Behold my servant, whom I uphold, my chosen, in whom my soul delights; I have put my Spirit upon him; he will bring forth justice to the nations. He will not cry aloud or lift up his voice, or make it heard in the street; a bruised reed he will not break, and a faintly burning wick he will not quench; he will faithfully bring forth justice. He will not grow faint or be discouraged till he has established justice in the earth; and the coastlands wait for his law. Thus says God, the Lord, who created the heavens and stretched them out, who spread out the earth and what comes from it, who gives breath to the people on it and spirit to those who walk in it…” (ESV, Compare with Matthew 12:15-21)
The prophet also recorded,
Isaiah 61: 1 “The Spirit of the Lord God is upon me, because the Lord has anointed me to bring good news to the poor; he has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and the opening of the prison to those who are bound…” (ESV) Jesus claims this prophecy as part of his fulfilment as the Christ (Luke 4:16-21).
Jesus’ return will bring a time of judgment and transformation of the entire world. This is the day believers eagerly anticipate and prepared for. This is a vital part of our pledge of allegiance to the Lord, himself, when we commit our lives to him!
Good News to YOU!
P.S. Christians love America because it is founded on Godly principles recognizing the opportunity for the nation to become a more perfect union built on liberty and justice for all. Here’s the Clark family singing, “I Love This Land,” https://youtu.be/BpS7y4dnWNA