On Tuesday November 6th of this year America’s president for the past four years was re-elected for his second term. For many Christians this is a solemn moment. We speak of defeat across the nation, a loss for the country. But I would like to point the spotlight towards another area of the stage. Liberty, true liberty, begins not with a president or a dictator, a king or a queen. True liberty is no more decided in one day or week as is a persons salvation! Brothers, sisters, what is true liberty? The answer to this may come readily to some of you, to others it might be a bit of a rusty thought or perhaps it is a thought that, for you, has yet to be discovered. Think on these words, “For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory that is to be revealed to us. For the anxious longing of the creation waits eagerly for the revealing of the sons of God. For the creation was subjected to futility, not willingly, but because of Him who subjected it, in hope that the creation itself also will be set free from its slavery to corruption into the freedom [Liberty] of the glory of the children of God.” Romans 8:18-21. God, the creator, purposefully subjected His creation to futility, or emptiness, because He had hope that His creation would be set free from slavery and brought into liberty. We know from the verses prior that the slavery Paul is speaking of is slavery to sin, and he says plainly that God instituted consequences in order to bring us freedom.
I understand that such a statement may be foreign to you, or even offensive. But what if we change the scenario slightly in order to view such a strong argument in another light. What is it that we as parents give our children in order that, as adults, they may live peacefully and have good, strong relationships with those around them? We impose upon them rules, or laws, which have consequences for the purpose of teaching them why they should choose right instead of wrong. My Bible student wisely pointed out to me the other day that consequences can be good or bad depending on our choices. If she chooses to do her homework she will receive the good consequence of reward, passing the class and growing in learning. If she does not do her homework, she will not learn and she will fail the class. We do not want our children to grow up to be liars and so we give bad consequences for lying, and hopefully good consequences for telling the truth. Such laws give them liberty, the freedom, or ability to choose right from wrong. Webster defines liberty as freedom of the will, exemption from compulsion or restraint, (Webster, 1828, Liberty). As adults our children are exempt from our parental compulsion towards right behavior, in other words they must choose for themselves. God does the same. This verse from Romans 8 is describing the loving and firm restraint of the Father upon our lives in order that we might have liberty. Galatians says that the Law is our school master, leading us to Christ. Without the loving manner in which parents and teachers are able to enforce laws for the children that it is our responsibility to teach, they will grow up crass, uneducated, disrespectful, arrogant, and lost. Is that what we want for our children? Is that what God wants for us?
I believe that Christianity today has lost it’s focus. We no longer extol the virtues of God’s Law and it’s necessity in our lives. We no longer engage in long, deep conversations of learning about His statutes and covenants because we fear to disagree with one another, as though free will and difference of opinion were a sin! Why do we no longer hunger and thirst for righteousness, the right way to live? Webster says that righteousness is, “Purity of heart and rectitude of life; conformity of heart and life to the divine law.” (Webster, 1828, Righteousness). I am as guilty as the rest, and these word’s of Paul are speaking to me of a much needed focus in my own life. I want liberty, but the liberty that my soul craves now is not one of political or civil liberty, or even religious liberty. I crave the liberty of the Truth of the justice of God for His people. I desire our heavenly Father to do what ever is necessary to bring awakening and revival to our nation and to His people. Before Christ the chosen people were the Hebrews, and through them we have been left a rich and righteous heritage of knowledge, conviction, diligence, and inspiration. Let us also learn from the lives of our spiritual ancestors, let us not make the same mistakes as they did, disregarding the Law of God and making it of no importance in our lives. True liberty is of a kind that is incomprehensible without the Law of God. Paul says the Law, speaking of the Ten Commandments, is the school master that leads us to Christ, (Gal 3:24), Jesus says, “If you love me, obey my commandments,” (John 14:15).
Our liberty is not decided by one man, by electoral votes or by the poor decisions of our federal government. Our liberty was decided by God long ago and if you feel that yours has been lost or that perhaps even the hope of Christ does not seem sufficient then consider this. Christ is only hopeful for those who know that they are lost or have been lost, and so, if this is you, remember that time in your life when you realized that you were a sinner. The time when the Law of God convicted you and were suddenly in great need of hope. Now Christ can become your hope again, sufficient for every need, and because of His great love, for which he loved us, we can look to His merciful Law for the grace to get our lives back on track and say to God, “Give me Liberty.”