The responsibility of freedom

There are many descriptions of God. “God is love” is one that we often here. “God is freedom” is another. With that freedom, however, there is responsibility. It is the concept that to be truly free under the gift of God’s liberty, obedience to God’s precepts is mandatory. In that is choice. Our choices, made freely, determine the depth and extent of our freedom. Galatians 5:1 says, “Stand fast therefore in the liberty wherewith Christ has made us free, and be not entangled again with the yoke of bondage.” Christ’s sacrifice on the cross, death and resurrection made us free from the bondage of sin, an ultimate freedom. But this is a freedom where choosing to live our lives according to God’s laws determines our destiny.

In the beginning, God created a world of order. Then He created humans with the gift of freedom. However, the first humans used their freedom to bring chaos to the order God had created. From Adam and Eve’s disobedience, to the first murder by Cain, and the ensuing world of violence leading to the flood, chaos grew like a choking weed amidst the freedom. God set apart a human, Abraham, to leave the corrupted world and go to another land of promise so that his descendants could form another nation–a just nation that sustained personal liberty as governed by the laws of God.  On Mount Sinai the Israelites consented to become a nation under God, accepting the responsibility for obeying God’s laws, and becoming a set apart, holy nation.

To have the right kind of government to achieve this freedom, the structure of accountability had to be divided to prevent corruption. With God being the ultimate power, He delegated earthly authority to kings, priests and prophets who were to govern with the laws of God in service to the people. Hence was born the concept that the people do not exist to serve the state, but the state exists to serve the people—who’s true service is to God. Never had freedom been so clearly defined, not just individually, but also collectively for a nation. Sound familiar? The United States form of government was founded on these very same principals by the forefathers who read and understood the Hebrew Bible. But how is freedom to coexist with orderly human affairs?

In short, God’s sovereignty does not remove human responsibility. Certainly, God established the perfect structure, but ultimately the answer lies in the new covenant that would be written on people’s hearts as in Jeremiah 31:33, “I will put my law in their inward parts, and write it in their hearts,” enabling them to want to live in righteousness rather than be required to do so. That new covenant was ratified by the blood of Jesus who set us free as confirmed in 2 Corinthians 3:17 we are informed “…where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty.” In truth, as Christians we live with the ideal of God-given freedom written on our hearts as we willingly abide in God’s laws. Each of us are moral ambassadors for one another. Love God. Love one another. Champion justice—not man’s justice, but God’s. Stand fast and be courageous in this responsibility.

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Bill Wilson