The Declaration of Independence firmly embedded God’s gift of freedom in the souls of all Americans, “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men…are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.–That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed…”
All civilizations begin in a condition of chaos and anarchy with no external control by government or any other authority. Consider what might happen if you went down in a commercial airliner crash and became part of 100 survivors stranded on a remote uncharted island with no means of communication and little chance of rescue. You and the other survivors initially work together for survival determining how to meet the immediate needs for food and shelter. Soon, however, disagreements break out, tending to escalate with time. At some point, a council of volunteers or elected members forms to draft guidelines for assuring more harmonious living among the survivors. The guidelines prohibit certain actions and mandate others. But the voluntary guidelines are only partially effective and conflict continues. A mechanism is designed and designated people are given the authority to monitor compliance with the guidelines, seek violators, and punish them in a predetermined fashion. The guidelines have now become the beginnings of enforceable law.
Whoa! What just happened? All freedom…that’s right, all freedom comes from God as the incredible gift of free will, bounded only by certain moral limitations that He applies for harmonious living and to protect you and others from physical, emotional, and spiritual harm. Any form of government can only can only limit or deny any particular freedoms. Governments can only wield money and power in an impersonal way; they have no moral authority or ability.
Government continues to be “of the people, by the people, and for the people” as long as the laws passed and regulations adopted conform to or are aligned with Scriptural mandates. God-given freedom powered by His love and limited by Scriptural boundaries—primarily the prohibitions of the Ten Commandments and moral/ethical limitations on behavior—depend on voluntary restraint. The prohibitions and limitations were given for the benefit of mankind to assure the richness of the human experience.
“…where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty” [2 Corinthians 3:17 KJV ]
“Stand fast therefore in the liberty wherewith Christ hath made us free, and be not entangled again with the yoke of bondage.” [Galatians 5:1 KJV ]
“From the day of the Declaration…they [the American people] were bound by the laws of God, which they all, and by the laws of the gospel, which they nearly all, acknowledged as the rules of their conduct” John Quincy Adams
Freedom is provided by God (“endowed by our Creator”) as the awesome gift of free will. Freedom, enshrined in the Declaration of Independence as “life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness,” can only be curtailed or restricted by a government that exceeds the moral limits defined by God. Government can only become the source of freedom after the government has seized total control of every aspect of life, then doles out a sort of pseudo-freedom in bits and pieces as incentives to control the people. That is not freedom.
The constitutional form of the United States government was designed to protect the God-given freedom, which was won by great sacrifice in the Revolutionary War and preserved by great sacrifices in all later wars. The Constitution provided for the military to protect American citizens from foreign intervention and a network of separation of powers as well as limiting checks and balances to protect the citizens from progressive government intrusion.
It has been the Great American Experiment in self-rule, “of the people, by the people, and for the people.” The military protects the freedom in America from external invasion. However, freedom will decay from within unless our culture is constantly nourished with a spiritual and emotional passion for freedom and the people defend it vigorously.
“God grants liberty only to those who love it, and are always ready to guard and defend it.”Daniel Webster
“Though, when a people shall have become incapable of governing themselves and fit for a master, it is of little consequence from what quarter he comes.” George Washington
4 thoughts on “Freedom is a Gift from God not a Grant from Government!”
Lloyd, you quoted, “…where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty” I think you will agree that without the Spirit of the Lord in the people who make up a nation, freedom will not last for long no matter how great that nation’s founding bylaw are. What we see today is the degradation of freedom that is first caused by the degradation of morality (some call this “individual responsibility”) and disobedience to the Spirit of God. Unless this nation has an abrupt spiritual turnaround from its wicked ways, we will either be under total anarchy or a totalitarian police state in the not too distant future. If we are no longer “One nation under God,” we also will not remain “indivisible with liberty and justice for all.”
“Righteousness exalts a nation: but sins diminish tribes.” (Proverbs 14:34 Brenton)
LikeLiked by 1 person
Michael, you have nicely summed up several of my blogs. Thank you.
The only true freedom was in the Garden of Eden. Since then, we’ve been encumbered by pride. it is that internal pride than incites external competition for control of others and ultimately to totalitarian forms of government. Of course acceptance of Christ as your personal Messiah frees us from total domination by pride. But there are still large numbers of unbelievers who are attracted to all the money, power, and influence the world offers. Even many believers succumb to the lure.
Since freedom is an unnatural condition, it must be continually fought for or it will be lost. Sadly, Americans have lost their passion for that wonderful gift from God called freedom. Believers have always had an influence far beyond their numbers for good or evil. Today, the misbehavior of American believers is sending a powerful negative message around the world.
All is not lost; God is still in charge. Jonah ultimately preached to the wicked city on Ninevah. The whole city turned around and worshiped God. During the Middle Ages, John Calvin preached to the wicked city of Geneva, Switzerland. The whole city turned around and worshiped God. I pray often for the greatest worldwide awakening of all time. Perhaps the Lord will answer that prayer before He returns. What do you think?
LikeLiked by 1 person
Lloyd, as far as a world wide revival goes, THAT would take a miracle for sure! I have seen that it often has to get very dark before the God moves in that kind of power. Israel many times had to be in dire straights before they would repent and turn back to God. They even had to be carried away into captivity! Like they say, it is the darkest just before the dawn. Are you familiar with the cyclic theory of history?
LikeLiked by 1 person
Interesting thoughts, Michael. The key word seems to be “repent,” a word often overlooked in recent decades, even within the body of believers. The Holy Spirit can move anytime, anywhere, but repentance seems to be associated with great awakenings. Sadly, in modern America mass repentance seems to have been overtaken by mass apathy. Nevertheless, God says in Scripture that His strength is revealed in weak people. The body of believers in America is weaker than ever before. Perhaps there is still hope that God will reveal His strength in weak apathetic America. Never give up hope! Remember that 1 Corinthians 13 speaks of faith, hope, and love in the same verse. Hope is sandwiched between faith and love. Faith is our part; infinite love is God’s part. Taken together, there’s still plenty of room for hope. What do you think?
LikeLiked by 1 person