A house divided against itself cannot stand (Mark 3:25). We have a most serious problem in America as we approach July 4th tomorrow. The United States can become the Divided States of America.
The reason for that disunity lies in the understanding of the word FREEDOM. In 1776, the Declaration of Independence was signed and a nation was born.
There are two views of freedom that are discussed below.
1. Absolute Freedom
If freedom is defined as absolute then nothing can limit how that freedom can be used. Absolute freedom means no control, no conditions, no restrictions.
Absolute freedom makes freedom an End in itself. There is no higher value than freedom if it is not under control. This viewpoint applied to behavior has enormous power over our choices about everything. For example, if sex has no boundaries, anything goes. Furthermore, anyone who tries to restrict that freedom is seen as a threat. We can see this powerful divider at work in our nation in 2023. God has clearly defined limits on sex across all relationships. That limitation is Marriage between a man and a woman.
Marriage with God’s conditions is the foundation of Christianity and Western Civilization. The conditions go back to Genesis and God’s creation of man and woman.
Removal of the boundaries opens the door to “everyone doing as he or she sees fit”. The last verse in the Book of Judges says those very words, anarchy prevailed because “Israel had no king”. The absence of authority created a vacuum for lawlessness.
The Declaration of Independence was not intended to remove governmental authority. Authority was changed from the British government to government by the people through representation (a Republic).
Laws remained in effect to keep order among the new states. The Bill of Rights and the Constitution produced agreements to provide freedom with power for the government and protection for the people – a balance or tension was necessary to keep individual liberties. In other words, liberty was not an absolute after July 4th where all could do anything without any consequences.
At the same time, there were not the overbearing restrictions of an unjust British government making the exercise of liberty impossible.
2. Controlled Freedom
What makes liberty work best are controls from God. Just like brakes on a car, we are free to drive anywhere and enjoy life while at the same time obeying the government. We stop for red lights, we yield, we respect speed limits. The agreement of all the governed, produces safety and speed at the same time – proper balance.
When God’s laws are violated, the result is SIN. God has given His Word to us to obey for our blessing within all relationships. But, when our God-given free will is used to oppose God, that is rebellion and there are consequences for breaking His laws. To return to our example of sexual behavior, Romans 1 is very clear in explaining what happens when the Truth of God’s Word is suppressed.
God wants to control us out of love for us but because He honors free will, God will not force us to do anything, We can use our liberty to harm ourselves and all the rest of our neighbors by blasting through stop signs and exceeding spiritual speed limits. God controls our freedom IF we voluntarily submit to Him. That outcome is what creates UNITY. If we all truly serve one another, we will love one another and we will be ONE NATION UNDER GOD.
Finally, please read the verses from Galatians 5 below. Note that God is the champion of Freedom. It is for freedom that Christ has set us free. But, we can abuse that freedom by selfishly serving our own self interest to the detriment of others.
The Bible calls that “selfish indulgence”. Do not use your freedom in a way that harms others. Freedom is not absolute. Love considers others more important than self. Love surrenders to the will of God.
Read Galatians 5 and ask yourself, how am I using my freedom this July 4th? If God is in control, we will enjoy love, joy, peace, patience, goodness, kindness, faithfulness, gentleness and self control. If not, we may find ourselves in much distress as the “acts of the flesh” produce a lot of pain. Note well that we are “not to do whatever you want”. Freedom is not an absolute. Freedom is a Means to an End not an End in itself.
Do you want to give God control of your life and use your freedom to accept Christ as your Savior and Lord, please go to Next Steps.
It is for freedom that Christ has set us free. Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery. You, my brothers and sisters, were called to be free. But do not use your freedom to indulge the flesh; rather, serve one another humbly in love. For the entire law is fulfilled in keeping this one command: “Love your neighbor as yourself.” If you bite and devour each other, watch out or you will be destroyed by each other. So I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh. For the flesh desires what is contrary to the Spirit, and the Spirit what is contrary to the flesh. They are in conflict with each other, so that you are not to do whatever you want. But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under the law. The acts of the flesh are obvious: sexual immorality, impurity and debauchery; idolatry and witchcraft; hatred, discord, jealousy, fits of rage, selfish ambition, dissensions, factions and envy; drunkenness, orgies, and the like. I warn you, as I did before, that those who live like this will not inherit the kingdom of God. But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law. Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. Since we live by the Spirit, let us keep in step with the Spirit. Let us not become conceited, provoking and envying each other.