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Law as Liberty

God’s new creatures are new in that the Holy Spirit dwells within him. They have yet to go through a life-long process of sanctification and development as world-changers for Christ. They are diamonds in the rough with great potential but very likely they don’t yet have a sense of how great it might be and how useful their contribution could become. These new creatures still need to develop and mature in their newness of being. Basic to this, is the need to learn to “walk in good works.”

Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven. (Matt. 5:16)

For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them (Eph. 2:10).

God created us to begin with, and after we sinned against Him, He forgave us and re-made us as new creatures in Christ. How can we do anything less than what He asks of us? And what is that? What does God really ask of us? What are these “good works” He requires of us?

To do good works is to obey God. He simply asks us to obey Him, to obey His law, His Ten Commandments. These simple but highly effective rules for living are all the laws a faithful people need to govern all of life; they provide a complete legal system in the most compact and easily understood form possible. In addition, they are given to us from an extra-worldly source, one that cannot be changed by man. This gives us protection against the perpetual propensity of man to make changes; it provides a law system anyone can learn and teach their children, knowing it cannot be changed and will serve them, their children, and their children’s children as well. It will last and provide its blessing for as long as God’s law is revered and obeyed.

This is the legal system God gave the nation of Israel and that made Israel the only free people in the ancient world. The people of the nations that surrounded Israel were not free; they lived at the mercy of their absolute, totalitarian rulers. The Israelites on the other hand governed themselves through God’s Ten Commandments and, to the extent they obeyed God, they did not require a strong hand over them. They were thereby set free from oppressive rule.[1]

The alternative to God’s law is man’s law. Anarchy (no law) results in chaos, an intolerable condition that always creates a demand for a return of law and order. To satisfy these demands, a legal system is soon re-established, perhaps occasionally, a benign government with checks and balances. Even such a careful system, though, cannot survive the continual demands of the people for what they consider to be a more righteous order, one that provides for all their needs. This inevitably leads, as we are seeing in the United States today, to ever increasing law by man, and eventually to totalitarianism in one form or another. This situation, in turn, eventually becomes intolerable and foments revolution leading to a temporary return to anarchy. This cycle of anarchy to ever increasing law, to slavery, and back to anarchy repeats itself ad infinitum.

So you see, the right perspective is not law versus freedom but freedom through law! Without law there is no freedom. Without God’s law, we are at the mercy of man’s law that always vacillates between anarchy and the slavery of totalitarian government. Man, without God’s law, is destined to repeat this cycle continually. His only relief is found when God’s law is respected and obeyed by the majority of the people. We need to understand that to put God’s law aside is not to gain freedom, but rather, to give away whatever freedom we have. There is just no freedom possible from any substitute for God’s law. God knows us so much better than we know ourselves and in His love for us has given us His unchanging law, the only path we can take to true freedom.

Sadly. much of the Christian population of the world today is Antinomian (against law). They rightly reject God’s law as the way of salvation but go on to wrongly reject it as a way of life. In doing this, they have done what even Ancient Israel never did. In giving up God’s law, they are in the process of losing their freedom. These people, many of which are God’s children, true believers, fail to see that our great need is not freedom from law but freedom in the law of God. The former destroys true freedom; the latter assures it. Their desire for the freedom to sin (perhaps just a little, now and then) without actually breaking any law from God is leading to, and will result in, the destruction of all their freedom.

The great majority of today’s churches, catering to the wishes of the people, do essentially nothing to counter or correct this error. This has led to the huge growth in the size and power of governments we have seen in the past century. This is not likely to change much until God’s people learn who they really are, repent of their foolish and sinful disobedience, and turn back to God’s law, the only possible source of true and lasting liberty for individuals and for nations.

Whenever and wherever God’s people revere and truly obey God’s law, they become an irresistible force for liberty. Their obedience to God’s law requires that they resist man’s law wherever it conflicts with God’s law; but they also work to reduce it wherever it is in excess of God’s requirements. The result is a return to liberty.

Christians are called to use their liberty in service to God:

I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service. And be not conformed to this world:  but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God. (Rom. 12:1-2)

Reasonable service! we are saved for a reason, not because God saw something good in us but rather something he wants us to accomplish in His name. The true Christian is very different from what he was before. The difference though, is not always immediately visible or apparent. It is potential and needs to be developed, which requires effort. We are told here that it is reasonable to so completely dedicate our lives that it is described as presenting ourselves as living sacrifices to God. This dedication begins with a deep desire, first to hear and understand God as He speaks in Scripture and then to obey Him.

As we grow in our knowledge of God, through the study of His word and the application of it in whatever environment God has put us in, God gives us more and more responsibility. We may feel stretched to our limits at times but we are strengthened and grow by it. With growth comes yet more responsibility as God persists in increasing our ability to serve. The sincere Christian’s life is one of continued growth in knowledge and in the ability to serve. All this, though, is not a life of drudgery; rather, it is a life that rewards its recipient with the satisfaction of knowing that he is a significant person, one that is continually being promoted to positions of increased trust and responsibility. This is the meaning and these are the rewards of continual growth in grace. Responsibility then, is another of God’s gifts to His faithful followers; it gives them a way of deriving satisfaction from the employment of their built-in desire to take dominion (Gen. 1: 28).

[1] See “An Informed Faith,” by R. J. Rushdoony, Chalcedon/Ross House Books, P. O. Box 158, Vallecito, CA 95251, page 860

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