Revolution Against Sin

Brooklyn, New York -- August 27, 1776 Colonel Henry "Light-Horse Harry" Lee, a hero of the Revolutionary War and father of Robert E. Lee, once commented that during the war "the state of Delaware furnished one regiment only; and certainly no regiment in the army surpassed it in soldiership." At the Battle of Long Island, the actions of the Delaware Regiment kept the American defeat from becoming a disaster. Fighting alongside the 1st Maryland Regiment, the soldiers from Delaware may well have prevented the capture of the majority of Washington's army - an event that might have ended the colonial rebellion. Organized in January 1776 by Colonel John Haslet, the Delaware Regiment was noted as the best uniformed and equipped regiment of the Continental Army. Delaware's blue jackets with red facings and white waistcoats and breeches would later become the uniform for all the Continental troops. During the Battle of Long Island, the Delaware and Maryland troops were positioned on the right of Washington's line. They defended the most direct route from the British landing site in south Brooklyn to the American fortifications in Brooklyn Heights. Though the troops faced the fiercest fighting of the day, they held their ground long enough to allow the remainder of Washington's army to safely retreat to the fortifications. However, the Delaware regiment was outflanked and forced to retreat, taking 23 prisoners with them, through marshland and across the Gowanus creek. Two nights later, Washington entrusted his Delaware and Maryland soldiers to be the rear guard as he secretly withdrew his army from Brooklyn to Manhattan. Today, the 175th Infantry Regiment, Maryland Army National Guard, preserves the legacy of the 1st Maryland Regiment. The 198th Signal Battalion, Delaware Army National Guard, perpetuates the proud lineage of the Delaware Regiment.

The First low purple rays of dawn cut through the morning mist on January  17, 1781. “The enemy came in full view. The sight… seemed somewhat imposing; they halted for a short time. We looked at each other for a considerable amount of time,” remembered one participant.

With temperatures in the low twenties and a sprinkling of frost coating the ground, the Patriots clapped their hands together to keep them warm and prepare for the British onslaught.

Three hundred yards in front of them, the Redcoats began dropping excess equipment and forming into lines as they readied themselves for battle. To size up the force facing them Banastre Tarleton commanded his legion’s dragoons to charge the American riflemen. The Patriot officers ordered their men not to deliver fire until the enemy was within fifty yards.

Excerpt from Washington’s Immortals: The Untold Story of an Elite Regiment who Changed the Course of the Revolution by Patrick O’Donnell.

The fight for American freedom was real. Men stood their ground, as the force which sought to impose a foreign rule pressed down on them. The outcome was victory through standing strong and the aid of the French.

Believers, we are in a very real battle as well. Freedom has been given through salvation “by grace through faith.” The one who has received this salvation from God is a “new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come.”  Once saved, what do we do with sin? We are forgiven, we are set free from the power of sin, and, yet, there are countless stories of believers who have embraced sin, sin they were supposed to flee.

Believers are supposed to resist sin. Hebrews 12:3, 4 states, “Consider him who endured from sinners such hostility against himself, so that you may not grow weary or fainthearted. In your struggle against sin you have not yet resisted to the point of shedding your blood.” Which of us has seen blood flow to resist sin?

Peter wrote believers scattered around the Middle East and Europe, “Since therefore Christ suffered in the flesh, arm yourselves with the same way of thinking, for whoever has suffered in the flesh has ceased from sin, so as to live for the rest of the time in the flesh no longer for human passions but for the will of God” (1 Peter 4:1, 2). Which of us is living for the will of God, and ceasing from sin?

Romans 7:4 states “Likewise, my brothers, you also have died to the law through the body of Christ, so that you may belong to another, to Him who has been raised from the dead, in order that we may bear fruit for God.” Are we living as if we belonged to our Holy God?

There is a propensity for believers to embrace sin as we did before salvation. Ephesians 5:7, 8 warns, “For at one time you were darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Walk as children of light.”

Sin in the life of a believer ought to be as abhorrent as the unjust foreign rule of the British over the Americans in 1776. Living free from sin is a possibility. Believers must stand firm, commit to resisting foreign rule of sin, and struggle against the temptation to sin.

When we sin, we must confess, repent, and ask God for the grace to stand against the next onslaught of temptation. Stand your ground and allow God’s Word to lead you in victory.