Biblical Liberty and Freedom
In the United States it is July 4, Independence Day. In Canada, it is July 1, Canada Day, or Dominion Day. In France it is Bastille Day, July 14. Each free country has a special day celebrating national freedom.
America's Declaration of Independence and Constitution refer to man's inalienable rights of "life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness," of a "more perfect union." The American flag salute refers to "one nation under God...with liberty and justice for all. United States currency has the motto "In God We Trust." The National Anthem refers to America as the "land of the free."
Yet neither the founding fathers, nor today's leaders, know the true meaning of liberty and freedom. Let us examine what the Bible says about liberty and freedom and see the Almighty's perspective.
Philadelphia's liberty bell has an inscription from Leviticus 25:10: "proclaim liberty [from the Hebrew root meaning "to move rapidly," #1865 derowr] throughout all the land." True liberty, the true jubilee, comes only at the Kingdom of God, the Millennium, Isaiah 61:1-11, Luke 4:16-21.
Because Judah didn't proclaim liberty to their Hebrew servants, God proclaimed liberty to them, a "liberty" to the sword, pestilence and famine, Jeremiah 34:8-22.
Truth makes one truly free. Sin produces bondage. Psalms 119:45, John 8:3136, II Peter 2:18-19. Human freedom is doing what is right in our own eyes, Judges 21:25. Being human is slavery. We live but a short time. To be a resurrected child of God is true liberty, Romans 8:20-23.
According to the Bible definition, a "liberated woman" is a widow whose husband is dead, being free to marry another, I Corinthians 7:39. She is NOT free to marry just anyone: only another believer, Romans 7:3. Although free from the law of her husband, a widow may face economic hardships.
Don't offend others is the message of I Corinthians 10:19-33. Verse 29 (Amplified) "I mean for the sake of his conscience, not yours, [do not eat it]. For why should another man's scruples apply to me, and my liberty of action be determined [restricted] by his conscience?" The reason why we sometimes have to restrict our liberty for the sake of others is to not lead others into sin, to help save others, verses 32-33.
"Where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty — emancipation from bondage, freedom," II Corinthians 3:17 (Amplified). Christ brought us into liberty. Don't let others bring you back into bondage, Galatians 2:4, 5:1, 13. The basis for liberty is God's law, James 1:25, 2:12, Romans 8:2, being led by the Jerusalem which is above, Galatians 4:22-31. Having liberty means that we must be more responsible for our actions, I Peter 2:16-17.
The free gift of Christ's sacrifice made many free, Romans 5:15-18. Freedom from sin makes you a slave of righteousness, Romans 6:16-23, I Corinthians 7:21-22, 9:19.
Symbols such as the Statue of Liberty inspire the world to the human ideals of liberty, equality, fraternity (brotherhood). Indeed, the United States of America is blessed materially beyond all other nations. Yet with all its "liberty," America leads the world in lawlessness, divorce, homosexuality and many other sins. Liberty, as we have seen, makes one more responsible for his or her actions. True liberty comes only from obeying the Eternal, being His slave. Only when His Kingdom comes will there be true "liberty and justice for all."
The "huddled masses yearning to breathe free" will have all their dreams fulfilled in the Kingdom of God. "Give me liberty or give me death!" was the call of American patriot Patrick Henry. Every human being will have the freedom of choice, according to God's purpose when He calls them. Let us choose life and liberty now, instead of slavery to Satan and death.
Liberty and Law
R.J. Rushdoony, in his book Law and Liberty (1984: Ross House Books, Vallecito, California) discusses the relationship between law and liberty. The dictionary definition of liberty is "The state of being exempt from the domination of others or from restricting circumstances." But who is free from domination of others? Even the President of the United States, is subject to Congress. According to this narrow definition, perhaps only God is absolutely free. But even God is not free to do anything because He has said He cannot lie, so He can't, because He won't!
If we give any person unlimited liberty to be "above the law" the result is anarchy, chaos. Unless every man's liberty is limited by law, no liberty is possible for any man. That is why we deplore ministers who claim to be "above the law."
Rushdoony concludes that one of the basic premises of the American system and a basic article of the Christian faith, is that man's liberty is under law. On the contrary, moral anarchism insists that liberty can be gained only by freedom FROM law. The end result of moral anarchy is always freedom from liberty!
Limited liberty is the only kind of liberty possible to man. Liberty goes hand in hand with responsibility. Those who believe in true liberty must be constantly vigilant or they will lose their liberties. With the Almighty's help, they will "confirm thy soul with self-control, thy liberty in "law."W
Originally published as Study No. 104.