Conviction No Comments

Recently, I read the story of John Hancock’s signature on the Declaration of Independence.  His signature is the largest appearing on the document.  According to legend, the founding father signed his name bigger than everyone else’s because he wanted to make sure “fat old King George” could read it without his spectacles.  The story isn’t accurate.  The truth is less dramatic.  Hancock, then president of the Continental Congress, gave a super-sized signature because he was the first to sign the document.  He did the sensible thing and put his name front and center.  He was the president of the Congress and he did not know his fellow patriots would sign their names on a smaller scale.  Also, he signed his name weeks before anybody else.  The National Archives explains, “One of the most widely held misconceptions about the Declaration is that it was signed on July 4, 1776 by all the delegates in attendance.”  In reality, Hancock signed it in the presence of just one man, Charles Thomson, the secretary of Congress.  No one actually signed the Declaration of Independence at any time during July, 1776.  Signing began August 2, with John Hancock’s famous scribble, and wasn’t completed until late November (Shine, from
Now, the most interesting fact about the signatures is that every person who signed the Declaration of Independence was sure to be hanged if he was caught by the British.   To sign this document was to risk your life for liberty!  Those who signed exhibited the courage of their convictions.
What is the source of deep convictions?  The  Declaration of Independence states, “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal.  That they are endowed by their Creator with certain inalienable Rights, that among these are life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness…”  Conviction is based upon truth.  Truth comes from God.
Conviction is firm persuasion of the truthfulness of principles held to be immutable.  In Heb. 11:1, faith is defined as “the substance of things hoped for the evidence of things not seen.”  G. Campbell Morgan paraphrases this passage by stating that faith is confidence in the promises of God and conviction of the precepts of God.  Conviction is based upon knowledge of the truth.  Truth transcends governments and culture.  Truth comes through Jesus Christ.  Jesus declared, “I am the way, the truth, and the life.  No man cometh unto the Father, but by me” (John 14:6).   Spiritual freedom is based upon truth.  Jesus states, “Verily, verily, I say unto you, Whosoever committeth sin is the servant of sin.  And the servant abideth not in the house for ever: but the Son abideth ever.  If the Son therefore shall make you free, ye shall be free indeed.”  Earlier, Jesus proclaimed, “And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free” (John 8:34-36, v. 32).  Through the courage of our convictions based upon the veracity of the Word of God, we can be made free from the bondage of sin.   While I believe that spiritual freedom  is more important than political freedom, both are based upon convictions that are formed by knowing and adhering to the truth revealed by God Himself.  Religious truth is worthy of our faith and our lives.