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LIBERTY AS IT PERTAINS TO “AUTHORITY”

By C. Ross Trotter

 

“And ye shall hallow the fiftieth year, and proclaim liberty throughout all the land unto all the inhabitants thereof: it shall be a jubilee unto you; and ye shall return every man unto his possession, and ye shall return every man unto his family.”(Leviticus 25:10) (The 50th year, the year of Jubilee was to be a time of liberty, all debts were cancelled, and all slaves set free.)

Did you know that the Liberty Bell, a symbol of this nation’s heritage, has inscribed that exact verse which speaks of the rights and freedoms valued by people the world over.

Noah Webster’s definition of liberty: “freedom from restraint, applicable to the body, or to the will or mind. A man enjoys liberty, when no physical force operates to restrain his righteous actions. Religious liberty is the free right of worshiping the Supreme Being of Authority (Jesus Christ) according to the dictates of the conscience, without external control.”

This was the basis of the First Amendment to the Constitution of the United States, which states: “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging (depriving) the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances.”

This country was established as a constitutional republic and its laws were and are based on that Supreme Being of Authority, Jesus Christ. Those placed in authority must of necessity hold to the internal controls placed within by a righteous and Holy God from where all authority rests. Romans 13:4 - “all who are placed in authority must be “ministers of righteousness”. However, a man placed in a position of authority oftentimes rejects the laws of a righteous God and enacts his own unrighteous rules and regulations. Their rebellious cry is this: “let us break away from the restraints a righteous God has placed upon us.” (Psalm 2)

“While they promise them (the people) 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)

“When the righteous are in authority, the people rejoice: but when the wicked beareth rule, the people mourn.” (Proverbs 29:2)

We can see by this that there are two sides to the concept of “liberty”.

(The “wicked side” and the “righteous side” shown in the verses below):

The “righteous side” here in James 1:25 – “But whoso looketh into the perfect law of liberty, and continueth therein, he being not a forgetful hearer, (of the perfect law of liberty) but a doer of the work, this man shall be blessed in his deed.”

The “wicked side” here in Psalm 2:1-3 -  “Why do the heathen rage, and the people imagine a vain thing? The kings of the earth set themselves, and the rulers take counsel together, against the LORD, and against his anointed, saying, Let us break their bands asunder, and cast away their cords from us.”

Those placed in authority, must uphold their responsibility of keeping righteous principles found in the Word of God. Authority = responsibility.

We all have a responsibility to maintain God-given “liberty”!

One of this country’s founding fathers had this to say about “liberty”.

“Those who would give up an essential liberty for temporary security deserve neither liberty nor security.” (Benjamin Franklin) Note: Giving up liberty for security equals bondage!

Our Great God and Creator of all things, Jesus Christ, gave us liberty! How do we maintain it? Listen to His Word:

“Stand fast therefore in the liberty wherewith Christ (Jesus) hath made us free, and be not entangled again with the yoke of bondage. (Galatians 5:1)

For, brethren, ye have been called unto liberty; only use not liberty for an occasion to the flesh, but by love serve one another. For all the law is fulfilled in one word, even in this; Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself.” (Galatians 5:13-14)

Where the Spirit of the Lord is…there is liberty!

Authority exercised (in love for the brethren) proclaims true liberty!

 

Volume 12, 2009