Do You Know Your Rights?

We have become a rights-centered society, haven’t we?  You can’t watch television long before you come across a news story or a show that is focused on this or that right.  The right to free speech.  The right to pursue happiness.  The right to liberty.  The right to life.

Have you ever stopped to wonder where these rights came from?  I mean other than the Declaration of Independence, Constitution, or Bill of Rights.  Of course these documents claim many rights for many people.  But, where did our founding fathers get the idea that these rights existed?

You don’t have to be an expert to know that the writers of our country’s great documents appealed to the Creator as the source of these rights.  So, there you have it.  The Declaration of Independence says that all men are created equal; therefore, we obviously have rights given to us by God.  But, is it true?

Paul, in Romans 3:10f, cites Psalm 14: “None is righteous, no, not one; no one understands; no one seeks for God.  All have turned aside; together they have become worthless; no one does good, not even one.” (ESV, emphasis mine)  Wow.  All have turned aside, and all are worthless.  While rights advocates appeal to our inherit worth, Paul says we are all worthless because we have sinned.  And what do worthless sinners deserve?  “For the wages of sin is death…” (Romans 6:23a, ESV)

Do you deserve a decent house, a decent job with decent pay, and a decent car?  Do you have the right to liberty, the pursuit of happiness, and life?  Absolutely not.  We all deserve death.  But, that’s not the whole story: “…but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.” (Romans 6:23b, ESV)  God offers us what we don’t deserve, and have no right to.

So, next time the commercial is telling you that you deserve some time off, a gold necklace, or a brand new car, remember what you really deserve.  And, when you are tempted to think that you have earned every penny you have, remember what you have really earned.  And, remember: God’s free gift, unearned and undeserved, is eternal life in Christ.

“Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in Christ with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places,” (Ephesians 1:3, ESV)

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