Thursday, September 24, 2015

The Law of Liberty

James 2:12 So speak and so do as those who will be judged by the law of liberty.

The world “liberty” in the bible verse above is “ἐλευθερία” or “ eleutheria” in the Greek and translates to “freedom”. Webster’s original dictionary defines “liberty” as “Freedom from restraint, in a general sense, and applicable to the body, or to the will or mind. The body is at liberty, when not confined; the will or mind is at liberty, when not checked or controlled. A man enjoys liberty, when no physical force operates to restrain his actions or volitions. Natural liberty, consists in the power of acting as one thinks fit, without any restraint or control, except from the laws of nature. It is a state of exemption from the control of others, and from positive laws and the institutions of social life. Liberty, in metaphysics, as opposed to necessity, is the power of an agent to do or forbear any particular action, according to the determination or thought of the mind, by which either is preferred to the other. Freedom of the will is exemption from compulsion or restraint in willing or volition.”

James 1:25 But he who looks into the perfect law of liberty and continues in it, and is not a forgetful hearer but a doer of the work, this one will be blessed in what he does.

In America, the word “Liberty” is on very coin minted, yet do we notice and think about its meaning or why it is on there? Americans should give thanks to “the Author of liberty”, that we have been privileged to live in this “sweet land of liberty,” where we can worship God freely, in accord with His Word – “one nation, under God, with liberty and justice for all”. I’ve both read and heard that liberty is not license, however, and the essence of the American system is liberty under law. And since the birth of this nation, fundamentally, that law is “the law of nature and of nature’s God” (Declaration of Independence) - the natural laws of God’s world and the revealed laws of God’s Word. Within that framework we do have liberty—but not liberty to defy either the physical law of gravity or the spiritual “law of liberty.” The latter is formulated in Scripture and has been applied over the centuries, in the English common law and later in our system of constitutional law, both of which are based on Scripture.

2 Corinthians 3:17 Now the Lord is the Spirit; and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty.

I read that some people today, seeking license rather than liberty, might recoil at the very idea of “the law of liberty,” calling it an oxymoron, or contradiction in terms. But Jesus said that only “the truth shall make you free!” - John 8:32. “Sin is the transgression of God’s Law” - 1 John 3:4, and “sin, when it is finished, brings forth death” - James 1:15, not freedom! No one can be saved by the law, but those who are saved by grace through faith in Christ will love God’s law, for it is “holy, and just, and good” - Romans 7:12. We should say with the psalmist: “So shall I keep thy law continually for ever and ever. And I will walk at liberty: for I seek thy precepts” - Psalm 119:44-45. There is, indeed, a law of liberty, and whoever will walk in “real liberty” will find it only in God’s law of life, through His revealed Word. Never lose sight of the law of liberty.

Galatians 5:1 Stand fast therefore in the liberty by which Christ has made us free, and do not be entangled again with a yoke of bondage.

In Christ, Brian

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