God caused the Bible to be written as a divine witness to Jesus Christ
and the forgiveness secured for us by His death on the cross (John 5:39
and 20:31). Furthermore, because He wanted its words to be understood
and believed, He caused it to be written in the language of shepherds,
tent makers, and fishermen not the language of mystics and philosophers
(2 Corinthians 3:12). Moreover, in keeping with clarity, its central
message is history not philosophy, and that history includes seven
events that have a deep spiritual significance for every one of us.
Those events are:
1. The creation of the world in six days
2. The fall of man into sin
3. The virgin Birth of Christ
4. The death of Christ on the Cross
5. The resurrection of Christ from the Dead
6. The ascension of Christ into heaven
7. The return of Christ, to judge the living and the dead.
Six of those events are past, and one is yet in the
future. Yet they not only are basic to the work of the Holy Ghost, but
also relate to freedom (John 16:8).
Those who deny that God has created us, and will hold us accountable
for what we do, wind up concluding that there are no moral absolutes.
However, the idea that there are no moral absolutes makes it easy to
justify tyranny. In fact, by denying accountability to God evolution
provided a philosophical rational for both communism and Nazism. In
contrast, our own "Declaration of Independence" testified of the
importance of creation to freedom when it said, "All men are created
equal and endowed by their Creator with certain inalienable rights."
Therefore, as Christians we
every right to object when we are forced by taxation, to support an
educational establishment that attacks the truth of creation. In fact,
the First Amendment clearly precludes any action on the part of
government that would deny us the free expression of our beliefs,
whether in the halls of congress, or in the classroom. At the same
time, those on the government payroll have no business using the public
school classrooms as a pulpit for preaching atheism.
Those who believe that all men are basically good tend to blindly trust
their rulers, and blind trust leads to tyranny. In contrast, Those who
recognize the fact that we have a fallen nature, and a heart that is
"deceitful above all things and desperately wicked," see the importance
of preventing the abuse of power (Jeremiah 17:9, John 8:32). To that
end, the Bible gives us many examples of such abuse. In fact, only two
of the kings, whose reign is recorded, were not guilty of criminal
acts. Therefore, it should be clear to all who love God's Word, that
freedom can only exist when those in authority are subject to the same
laws as everyone else, and when a division of power makes it possible
to punish rulers who violate those laws.
THE VIRGIN BIRTH OF CHRIST
Those who associate luxury and pomp with deity will identify God with
the high and mighty of this world. Furthermore, if they think of God as
a harsh judge they will assume that harshness is God's way of dealing
with people, and will find it easy to rationalize tyranny. However,
those who know the love of God, and see that love expressed by His
willingness to be born in a stable and share the life of the common
people, are not likely to abuse power or to turn a deaf ear to the
cries of the poor. Thus, through the virgin birth we come to see God in
a way that is inconsistent with tyranny.
CHRIST'S DEATH ON THE CROSS
Those who think of service as something that would be beneath the
dignity of God will assume that rulers should not serve the people, or
sacrifice their own comfort, but should be served. However, that way of
thinking is inconsistent with the fact that God revealed Himself, in
the person of Christ, as one who was not only willing to serve, but as
one who was willing to die in our place. The love of God that was
revealed to us in Christ is incompatible with the abuse of power.
God revealed the depth of His
for us when, in the person of Christ, He took our sins upon Himself and
died in our place so that we might have forgiveness and eternal life.
In keeping with that love, rulers should think of themselves as public
servants, rather than gods. Furthermore, they should not pervert the
concept of service, either to make themselves rich or to appear as
benefactors at someone else's expense – by giving to some what they
have taken from others (Luke 22:25,26). Instead they should serve the
people by protecting the innocent, seeing that criminals receive swift
and sure punishment, and praising that which is good and right (Romans
13:3, 1 Peter 2:14, Ecclesiastes 8:11, 1 Timothy 1:9, 1 Timothy 2:2).
CHRIST'S RESURRECTION FROM THE DEAD
Christ's resurrection from the dead is a Divine testimony to the fact
that He was the Son of God, and that God accepted His sacrifice on our
behalf. For that reason, the resurrection (which is one of the
best-established facts of history) affirms everything that I have said
about Christ's virgin birth, life, and death on the cross. The love of
God that has been revealed through Christ's birth, life, death, and
resurrection is inconsistent with the negation of love inherent in
CHRIST'S ASCENSION INTO HEAVEN
Rulers who are confident that they will never have to account to anyone
for what they do, exercise little self-restraint in their abuse of
power. However, like His resurrection, Christ's Ascension testifies to
the fact that He is who He claimed to be, and that He will return to
judge the living and the dead. That means that rulers will someday have
to account for what they do. And, any ruler who believes that he will
have to give account will be less likely to abuse the power entrusted
to him. For that reason, the fact that Christ has ascended unto heaven,
and will return to judge the living and the dead, is inconsistent with
CHRIST'S SECOND COMING
Because Christ will return to judge the living and the dead, every knee
will bow to Him and give account (Philippians 2:10). That being the
case, every ruler should acknowledge Christ as Lord, and every law made
by man should be in accord with His Ten Commandments (Romans 13:1). At
the same time, the fact that keeping those commandments will not make
someone righteous in the sight of God should tell us that the job of
government is to punish crime, not make people righteous (1 Timothy
Contrary to popular opinion,
Commandments were given to Moses as the head of state, and were the
basis of the political law of Israel, not the religious law. For that
reason, rulers should be free to learn from the political law of
Israel. At the same time, evil laws should be repealed while laws in
general should be kept to a minimum (1 Timothy 1:9). As far as morality
is concerned, every system of law will reflect some standard of
morality. Laws that allow babies to be butchered reflect one standard
while laws that condemn and punish such barbarism reflect another
standard. Therefore, it is impossible for a government to be morally,
or religiously, neutral. Rulers must chose, and those who seriously
consider the fact that that they will someday have to account to Christ
for what they have done are not likely to chose tyranny.
OUR GOD GIVEN RIGHTS
Through the Ten Commandments God has given us certain inalienable
rights that no ruler is authorized to deny. Because those rights are
rooted in God's standard of right and wrong, official recognition of
the Ten Commandments is important to the preservation of freedom. In
fact, each Commandment gives us a specific right. For example: The
commandment, "Thou shalt not kill" gives us the right to life.
Moreover, because government exists to protect that right, no ruler is
free to commit murder. Therefore, while God has authorized capital
punishment and allows for national defense in time of war, a ruler who
uses his means to commit murder (as David did with Uriah) should be
punished for the crime of murder. However, it will only be possible to
hold rulers accountable for their crimes if those in authority are
subject to the same laws as everyone else, and a division of power
makes it possible to punish rulers who violate those laws.
The First Commandment gives us
right to worship and serve the one true God to the exclusion of any
other. Since one aspect of worship involves doing the will of God, that
commandment gives us the right to serve God by freely proclaiming His
Word, even if that Word condemns the sins of rulers (freedom of
speech). It also gives us the right to publish that word, and the right
to gather peacefully to hear that Word (freedom of press and assembly).
Furthermore it gives to us the right to work through moral and lawful
means to correct abuses on the part of government (the right to
petition government for redress of grievances). Furthermore, it gives
us the right to teach our children to do likewise.
By forbidding us to take His
vain, God has given us the right to treat His name respectfully.
Consequently, no ruler has the authority to make us swear falsely in
God's name, lie in God's name, or otherwise misuse God's name.
By requiring us to keep the
day holy, God has given us the right to set every seventh day apart for
worship, and no government has any God-given authority to forbid such
By commanding children to honor
their father and mother, God has given every child the right to be
instructed by his parents, to respect his parents, and to follow the
faith of his parents. Therefore, no government has any God-given
authority to indoctrinate our children contrary to our wishes, to turn
them against us, or to make them testify against us.
By condemning adultery, God has
given us the right to lead a chaste and moral life, marry, be faithful
to our spouse, and have a spouse who is faithful to us. Moreover, no
ruler has any God-given authority to violate that right, or to make
laws that encourage the violation of that right.
By condemning theft, God has
us the right to property. While those rulers who serve us well deserve
their salary, and will incur expenses which must be met, they have no
God-given authority to confiscate our property, either for their own
enrichment or to appear as benefactors at our expense (Luke 22:25,26).
By condemning false witness,
given us the right to tell the truth, and to speak well of our
neighbor. For that reason, no ruler has any God-given authority to bear
false witness, or to make us bear false witness against our neighbor.
By condemning covetousness, God
given us the right to help our neighbor, care for our neighbor, and
seek his good. Therefore, no ruler has any God-given authority to
encourage envy, or nurture animosity between different groups of
Any ruler who would command us
violate one of God's Commandments ceases to be a representative of God,
and becomes instead a representative of Satan who is trying to turn us
against our true King, Jesus Christ.
The point of this essay is that faith leads to freedom, while sin and
unbelief lead to bondage. However, when it comes to defining freedom,
the Bible makes a distinction between liberty and license that many in
our society fail to understand (Galatians 5:13). In short, liberty is
freedom to do right, the freedom to live "a quiet and peaceable life in
all godliness and honesty," while license is the abuse of freedom that
will ultimately lead to hell (1 Timothy 2:2). For that reason, the
proper role of government is to punish those who criminally abuse
freedom, without denying freedom to those who do not abuse it (1
Timothy 1:9, 1 Peter 2:14).