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 Chapter 30

The Author of Liberty

 

WHEN Adam and Eve sinned, they immediately forfeited the liberty that had been theirs in the Garden of Eden, for sin brings men and women to the bondage of Satan. Had it not been for sin, there would have been no need for human governments, for man would have lived under the perfect government of God throughout eternity. When man was created, he was created with the freedom of choice and decision, the power to think and to act. It was this quality of man that set him apart from the rest of Godís creation. It was Godís purpose and plan that man should live wholly in freedom; that there would never be the bondage of the will to the dictates of another human being, or indeed any other being created by God. But sin changed all that. It is Godís plan in the very near future to redeem all those loyal to Him into the kingdom of eternity, so that once again freedom might be the uninterrupted life of all His redeemed ones. But even now the Lord wants to free His people. The greatest freedom that man can have is the freedom from the guilt, the condemnation, and bondage of sin. Christís mission to the world was to set man free.

The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he hath anointed me to preach the gospel to the poor; he hath sent me to heal the brokenhearted, to preach deliverance to the captives, and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty them that are bruised. Luke 4:18

The spirit of the Lord God is upon me; because the Lord hath anointed me to preach good tidings unto the meek; he hath sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and the opening of the prison to them that are bound. Isaiah 61:1

Jesus Himself declared what will truly make man free.

Then said Jesus to those Jews which believed on him, If ye continue in my word, then are ye my disciples indeed; and ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free. John 8:31, 32

For those who continue in a life of sin there is no true freedom.

They answered him, We be Abrahamís seed, and were never in bondage to any man: how sayest thou, Ye shall be made free? Jesus answered them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Whosoever committeth sin is the servant of sin. John 8:33, 34

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

In our natural, unconverted state, divorced from the saving power of Christ, we, all the members of the human family, are in bondage to sin.

For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God. Romans 3:23

Today, there are many proclaiming that, as long as we have a relationship with Jesus, sin will not inhibit our salvation in the kingdom of heaven. But there are two major problems with this dangerous distortion of the gospel. The first is that sin brings guilt.

. . . because he hath sinned, and is guilty. Leviticus 6:4

For whosoever shall keep the whole law, and yet offend in one point, he is guilty of all. James 2:10

Guilt in itself is among the most debilitating and psychologically destructive factors of life. There seems little doubt that we could close a very large percentage of our psychiatric hospital beds if it were not for the ravages of guilt. Thus even this side of the return of Jesus, guilt has a devastating effect upon the life of every human being.

The second factor opposing the distorted belief that the presence of sin in the life is not inimical to salvation, is that it is an un-scriptural doctrinal position. Sin will indeed keep men and women from the joys of eternal peace and harmony. Scripture declares that the saved will be commandment keepers.

And the dragon was wroth with the woman, and went to make war with the remnant of her seed, which keep the commandments of God, and have the testimony of Jesus Christ. Revelation 12:17

Here is the patience of the saints: here are they that keep the commandments of God, and the faith of Jesus. Revelation 14:12

Blessed are they that do his commandments, that they may have right to the tree of life, and may enter in through the gates into the city. Revelation 22:14

God has stated emphatically that only those who obey Godís commandments will be among the redeemed who will be in His kingdom. The clear and undeniable truth is, that those who do not keep the commandments will be excluded from the kingdom of heaven. Satan is the author of sin.

Ye are of your father the devil, and the lusts of your father ye will do. He was a murderer from the beginning, and abode not in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he speaketh a lie, he speaketh of his own: for he is a liar, and the father of it. John 8:44

And therefore those who continue in sin have chosen the arch-deceiver, the destroyer of the human race, as their master.

Know ye not, that to whom ye yield yourselves servants to obey, his servants ye are to whom ye obey; whether of sin unto death, or of obedience unto righteousness? Romans 6:16

He that committeth sin is of the devil; for the devil sinneth from the beginning. For this purpose the Son of God was manifested, that he might destroy the works of the devil. 1 John 3:8

At the root of all sin is selfishness. The inordinate love for that which we may in our carnal minds think to be profitable and pleasurable to us is indeed the foundation of all the trouble there is in the world. This selfishness leads to covetousness and egocentricity, which lead to personal conflict and distress.

Under God all men are equal. One man has no more inherent right than another. Christ set forth these principles with emphatic words; thus no man, no matter what his ecclesiastic rank may be, is regarded superior in Godís esteem.

But be not ye called Rabbi: for one is your Master, even Christ; and all ye are brethren. Matthew 23:8

Every effort to detract from our fellow men or to take a position of superiority over them is inimical to the principles of heaven. Against the natural tendencies of our fallen nature, we are to prefer others above ourselves.

Be kindly affectioned one to another with brotherly love; in honour preferring one another. Romans 12:10

Even when our fellow men turn against us and do that which is harmful to us, we still have a responsibility, under the guidance of God, to treat them in the way we would want to be treated ourselves.

For if ye forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you: but if ye forgive not men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses. Matthew 6:14, 15

Therefore all things whatsoever ye would that men should do to you, do ye even so to them: for this is the law and the prophets. Matthew 7:12

These principles have very practical implications.

Ye shall do no unrighteousness in judgment: thou shalt not respect the person of the poor, nor honour the person of the mighty: but in righteousness shalt thou judge thy neighbour. Thou shalt not go up and down as a talebearer among thy people: neither shalt thou stand against the blood of thy neighbour: I am the Lord. Thou shalt not hate thy brother in thine heart: thou shalt in any wise rebuke thy neighbour, and not suffer sin upon him. Thou shalt not avenge, nor bear any grudge against the children of thy people, but thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself: I am the Lord. Leviticus 19:15Ė18

Further, these principles lead us to compassion and service for our fellow man.

Pure religion and undefiled before God and the Father is this, To visit the fatherless and widows in their affliction, and to keep himself unspotted from the world. James 1:27

Only God can take away the selfishness that sin has embedded within the heart of every human being.

Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved. Acts 4:12

If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. 1 John 1:9

Thus it is only God who can provide genuine freedom. Once we are freed of the tyranny of sin, then no matter what men might attempt to do to us, we have the assurance of the freedom of our lives and our souls in Jesus Christ. That is how faithful Christians are able to rejoice, in persecution, that they are accounted worthy of suffering affliction as their Saviour did. It was in such a freedom that the martyrs faced their terrible ordeals. It was in this ultimate sense that there can be no tyranny for those who are totally freed by the saving power of Jesus Christ. They are free indeed.

 


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