The Threat of Lawless Liberty
"And I will walk at liberty: for I seek thy precepts." --Psalm 119:45
"Now the Lord is that Spirit: and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty." --2 Corinthians 3:17
"If the Son therefore shall make you free, ye shall be free indeed." --John 8:36
"While they promise them liberty, they themselves are the servants of corruption: for of whom a man is overcome, of the same is he brought in bondage." --2 Peter 2:19
There is no question that liberty and freedom are among the greatest blessings of God and is one of the passions of the human heart. The heart longs to be free to express its religious sentiments, to make choices that it thinks will bring him happiness, and to be "at large" [the meaning of "liberty" in Ps. 119:45], to go and come he chooses.
This writer thinks that in the next few decades the idea of "liberty" will gain a new intensity in the world. The idea of liberty is under attack by Islamic fundamentalism, for this is one of the major complaints that Islamists have with the West. In fact, they call the United States the "Great Satan" because the liberty in United States is a temptation to good Muslims to relax in his/her keeping of Sharia law, which they insist on imposing on the whole world. There is no question that Sharia law would have a dramatic effect in the view of the United States for what we believe are fundamental rights: for women, for speech, for the press, for the practice of religion, for sexual practices, for immigration, for the right to be armed, for ownership of property, and in hundreds of ways not foreseen.
The United States may be our own worst enemy with regard for these things, for along with the erosion of the doctrine of the Bible has come a shift in our view of what "liberty" itself is. The Biblical view of liberty emphatically does not mean that each man is free to do whatever he wants, whenever he wants, to whomever he wants.
Liberty has become an abstraction in the United States, for it is abstracted from the Christian idea of God, the Creator. Our fathers said that men was "endowed by their creator with certain inalienable rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness — That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, — That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness."
Our father's emphatically did not mean that any individual had the right to "alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to him shall seem most likely to effect his Safety and Happiness." The individualist expression of rebellion and revolution was strongly opposed by the Framers, for they feared radical democracy as much as they feared monarchy and tribal elitism.
The Framers recognized that men are sinners ["If men were angels, no government would be necessary. If angels were to govern men, neither external nor internal controls on government would be necessary," James Madison wrote in Federalist 51.] Of course, Madison thoroughly educated in the Reformed Faith, and knew the difference between the holy angels and those that followed Satan in his rebellion. He was NOT referring to the latter.
Because of this, the Framers made it very difficult to radically change and alter the government of the United States, to protect the gift of liberty, given by the Creator, from the phony liberty promised by the godless and rebellion, the spirit of lawlessness and rebellion that sweep over peoples from time to time whipped up by demagogues seeking their own power and wealth, promising liberty while they themselves are in bondage to sins and lawlessness.
In granting men the wonderful gift of liberty, God most emphatically did not free men from Himself, from His rule, or from His righteousness. Jesus said that he that commits sin is the servant of sin, because no man would stupidly sin if he were not in some respect deceived and bound by it. But Jesus promised, "If the Son shall set you free, you shall be free indeed." John 8
Benjamin Franklin, when asked if the people refused to be ruled by God, is supposed to have replied, "Then, by God, they will be ruled!"
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