Category Archives: liberty

Proclaim Liberty!

In ancient Israel, God instituted the observance of the Year of Jubilee. This came at the end of seven sabbaths of years, or forty-nine years, after which the fiftieth year was to be hallowed or set apart. In this year, the children of Israel were to give the land rest, they were to restore land back to its original tribal owners, and slaves were to be freed. This last point coincides with the requirement that on the fiftieth year, liberty was to be “proclaimed throughout all the land unto all the inhabitants thereof” (Lev. 25:9,10).

Liberty, or freedom, is important. So important, in fact, that God saw fit to create mankind as free, moral agents. God wants us to worship and serve Him, but He allows us to chose whether or not we do so. Of course, there are consequences to disobedience. We might pay for bad choices, but we are free to chose, nevertheless.

In the New Covenant, freedom is equally precious. When Jesus came into the synagogue in Nazareth, the town were He had been brought up, Jesus took the scroll and read from the prophet Isaiah (61:1): “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, To preach the acceptable year of the Lord” (Luke 4:18-19). Jesus came to preach deliverance to the captives and set at liberty them that are bruised.

Just as in the year of Jubilee the captives were liberated, so in this “acceptable year of the Lord” the captives are set free, as well. Only, then, those that were liberated had been physically enslaved, whereas under the New Covenant it is those who are spiritually enslaved who are set free. While physical bondage is demeaning and detestable, spiritual bondage has far worse and lasting consequences. Indeed, they are eternal and damnable and irreversible consequences.

Sadly, many people who are captives to sin, do not know it. They may feel the burden and weight of sin in their lives, but they are either too blind or too deluded to see the spiritual shackles that bind their souls. They long for something, but do not know what it is they want. They want freedom, but do not understand the causes of their enslavement and consequent unhappiness. They do not understand that in their freedom to chose, they have chosen to be slaves to sin (John 8:34).

How do we obtain this spiritual freedom Jesus offers? Jesus said it comes through knowing the Truth. By continuing in the words of Christ, by being obedient to His teaching, we know the Truth and it is the Truth that makes us free (John 8:32). And if the Son make you free, you shall be free indeed (John 8:36).

May Liberty be proclaimed through all the land!

Eric L. Padgett

Life, Liberty and Happiness

This country is unique in the history of the world in the liberties it enjoys. These freedoms have been codified into the founding documents of this country. In the preamble to the Declaration of Independence, the Founders acknowledged that our freedoms come from God, not from men, and that these freedoms include life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. While we cherish these blessing greatly, there are greater spiritual blessings that we enjoy as citizens of the Kingdom of Christ.

As Christians, we enjoy the promise of life such as the world can never know. Physical life comes from God and all men enjoy it (Gen. 2:7). Since sin came into the world, however, we all live in fear of the flame of our life being extinguished (Heb. 2:14,15). For what is our life but a vapor that appears for a little while then vanishes away (James 4:14). But the Lord came that we might have life and have it more abundantly (John 10:10). Therefore, we have the promise of life that now is and of that which is to come (I Tim.4:8). Jesus came to abolish death and He brought life an immortality to light through the gospel (II Tim. 1:10).

As Christians we also enjoy the blessings of liberty. God created man as a free moral agent, free to choose what he wants, even disobedience to His will (Josh. 24:15). But to choose contrary to the will of God enslaves one to sin (Rom. 6:20). Many men thrill at the promise others make of bringing them liberty, only to find themselves enslaved to some man-made ideology or power. There is a clear-cut , scriptural principle: of whom a man is overcome, of the same is he brought in bondage (II Pet.2:19). However, Jesus came to bring actual deliverance to the captives and to set at liberty them that are bruised (Luke 4:18). We have a perfect law of liberty (James 1:25). The law of the Spirit of Life in Christ Jesus has made us free from the law of sin and death (Rom. 8:2). And one day, even our bodies will be delivered from the bondage of corruption in to the glorious liberty of the children of God (Rom. 8:21).

Finally, we also have the promise of happiness. The Declaration promises that Americans may “pursue” happiness. The Founders understood that true happiness is a very elusive thing and they were wise to say that it’s pursuit was all that could be assured. Many seem to think the more things they possess the happier they will be, but truly a man’s life consists not in the abundance of the things which he possesses (Luke 12:15). The truly happy man is the one that trusts in the Lord (Prov. 16:20). The truly happy man is the one that keeps God’s law (Prov. 29:18). The truly happy man is the one who suffers for righteousness’ sake (I Pet. 3:14) and is reproached for the name of Christ (I Pet. 4:4). They are truly happy who endure (James 5:11). In Christ, there is joy unspeakable (I Pet. 1:8)!

While we should always be thankful to God for this great country in which we live, and the life, liberty and pursuit of happiness it proffers, and appreciate the cost in human blood which made it possible, we should be even more thankful to God for the spiritual life, freedom from the bondage of sin and the eternal inward joy that comes from being a citizen of the kingdom of God. Nor should we ever forget the price in divine blood that these blessings cost the Son of God (Acts 20:28). The day we are raised from the watery grave of baptism is the greatest Day Independence the world has ever known.

Eric L. Padgett