By Rev. Warren Coe
First Copy of the Declaration of Independence Found
Over twenty years ago the New York Times (April 3, 1991) ran an article about a painting purchased at a flea market in Pennsylvania for four dollars. The man purchased the picture because he wanted the ornate frame. As he carefully removed the backing from the frame the owner made a startling discovery. Stuck between the painting and the backing was an old document. It was about one tenth of an inch thick and folded like a letter.
The man opened the manuscript and found these words, “In Congress, July 4, 1776. The Unanimous Declaration of 13 united states of America.” It was a first copy of the Declaration of Independence. Of the twenty-four copies in existence, the flea market shopper now possessed one of them. At an auction, a first copy of the Declaration of Independence would bring nearly one million dollars. As a national treasure it is priceless. Yet for generations it hung on someone’s living room wall hidden behind a not-so-impressive piece of art.
A Far Greater Declaration
In the pages of our Bible is a far greater declaration of liberty. Jesus’ disciples saw it and believed it. The early church heard it and proclaimed it. An angry Jewish Rabbi fought against it and finally surrendered to its life-changing truth. Down through the ages multitudes have experienced the transforming power of the gospel of Jesus Christ. This good news has freed many from the tyranny of sin, the power of Satan and the fear of death.
Saul hated Christ and Christianity until he met Jesus Christ on the road to Damascus. He was completely transformed. Later, he wrote these words.
“Now I would remind you, brothers, of the gospel I preached to you, which you received, in which you stand, 2 and by which you are being saved, if you hold fast to the word I preached to you– unless you believed in vain. 3 For I delivered to you as of first importance what I also received: that Christ died for our sins in accordance with the Scriptures, 4 that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day in accordance with the Scriptures, 5 and that he appeared to Cephas, then to the twelve. 6 Then he appeared to more than five hundred brothers at one time, most of whom are still alive, though some have fallen asleep. 7 Then he appeared to James, then to all the apostles.
8 Last of all, as to one untimely born, he appeared also to me.” (1Cor 15:1-8 ESV)
This is the power of the Gospel. This is the power of Jesus Christ.