Christianity and Liberty

Liberty defined: “being free from captivity, imprisonment, slavery or despotic control. The right or power to do as one pleases.”
God spoke further to Moses and said to him, “I am the Lord; and I appeared to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, as God Almighty, but by My Name, Lord, I did not make myself known to them. I also established My covenant with them, to give them the land of Canaan, the land in which they sojourned. Furthermore I have heard the groaning of the sons of Israel, because the Egyptians are holding them in bondage, and I have remembered my covenant. Say, therefore, to the sons of Israel, ‘I am the Lord, and I will bring you out from under the burdens of the Egyptians, and I will deliver you from their bondage. I will also redeem you with an outstretched arm and with great judgments. Then I will take you for My people, and I will be your God, who brought you out from under the burdens of the Egyptians. I will bring you to the land which I swore to give to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, and I will give it to you as a possession; I am the Lord.’” (Ex.6:2-8)
As He spoke these things, many came to believe in Him. So Jesus was saying to those Jews who had believed Him, “If you continue in My Word, then you are truly disciples of Mine; and you shall know the truth, and the truth will make you free.”  (Jn.8:30-32)
I .Liberty is the Purpose of God for Every Believer:
a) Christians have one Master.
Exodus moves from the old hierarchy to the new, from slavery to Pharoah to bondservice to God, which is the only basis of freedom. The Hebrews had learned first-hand what it means to be enslaved to a tyrant. God delivered His people from the strong hand of tyranny. Nevertheless, He did not deliver them out of servitude itself, for there can be no life outside of hierarchical service, meaning the ethical and institutional subordination of man to his heavenly Master. 1
b) Attaining and preserving Christian liberties frequently involves the use of tacit or active confrontation, and sometimes disobedience. e.g. Peter and John: “We must obey God rather than man.” (Acts 5:29) The English leaders of the Civil War period: (Cromwell, Milton, Rutherford, Knox and Bunyan) thought through their theology deeply. They believed that “resistance to tyranny is obedience to God.” 2
Rutherford wrote Lex Rex, which was a banned document in Scotland. Bunyan refused to take a licence to preach the gospel, and spent twelve years in gaol as a consequence.
“The illegitimate laws of a civil government may be legitimately skirted when they come into direct conflict with a fundamental Biblical principle… ‘we ought to obey God rather than men.’” (Acts 5:29) 3
II. All True Liberties Spring from a Christian Base:
All legitimate civil liberties (freedom of religion, of speech, of the press, of movement, to assemble) come from a Christian base.
III. Liberty is not Lawlessness, or Licentiousness:
 a) Jude 3-4: All Christian behavior must be Biblically substantial, ethical and moral.
 b) What we believe, and how we behave, are of equal importance.
   The Psalms say much about inward attitude.
   The Proverbs say much about outward behavior.
c) Might is not right. The end never justifies the means.
d) “Modern man tends to contrast structures with personal freedom. The Bible never pits these against each other.” 4
IV. Liberty is the Christian Life, Lived in the Holy Spirit:
a) Some aspects of religious behavior may not be Christian: beware of unnecessary or artificial constraints on behavior. Col.2:8,20-23.
b) It’s Biblical to love life, to “have a good time.” To enjoy the blessing of the Lord. “It is the blessing of the Lord that makes rich…” (Prov.10:22)
c) “Where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty.” (II Cor. 3:17) Believers are to enjoy “the glorious liberty of the children of God.”  (Ro.8:21 KJV)
Ps.119:45; Gal.5:1 (KJV)

1. North, G., Tools of Dominion, 1990, p.112.
2. John Bradshaw, Lord President of the High Court, called upon to try Charles I in 1649. Quoted in The Theolgy of Christian Resistance, 1983, p.
3. North, G., Moses and Pharoah, 1985, p.67.
4. Jordan, J., “The Law of the Covenant,” 1985, p.6.

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