♣ The Value of Freedom in a World of Tyranny

 

And Paul said, “Whether short or long, I would to God that not only you but also all who hear me this day might become such as I am—except for these chains.”  Acts 26:29

“For freedom Christ set us free;” Galatians 5:1

Of all nations, America is notorious for its freedom. Despite our history of conflict, the United States has been known as a land of liberty. As we look back intently and honestly through to our present day, it is no small thing to acknowledge the truth that such freedom has been thrown away. Now the haunting question hangs over a diminishing nation: What did you do with the freedom immensely lavished, and what are you doing with the remnants of liberty that still exists within American’s borders?

No doubt the many that constitute the U.S. now fear the great possibility of a ‘broad daylight’ tyrannical regime operating from the headquarters of our political system, in a so-called ‘attempt’ to bring this nation back on track and restore the torch of liberty that has long since burned out.

There is an insurmountable difference between the New Testament perspective and our modern age view of freedom; ours lacks a biblical basis. We confine ourselves to thinking that our freedom lies in physical and materialistic prosperity.

It is a wonder that, as Christians, many of us are easily dismayed and depressed when we witness the world falling apart around us, while all along, the Bible is explicit in exposing this world as nothing but a dark habitation since the fall of man. As Christians we have no business placing any hope in this world system. Many Christians today are no longer pilgrims passing through this world, but rather settlers who are more than content to enjoy their stay.

How did the first early Christians cope and live in a world of tyranny? And do we think our situation is bad today? Ponder over how Christians were brutally murdered for sport and entertainment under the regime of the Roman Emperor. We so much as receive prohibition to preach the gospel in a certain location and we make a lawsuit out of it – and all in the name of Christianity! Our focus has radically shifted from that of Hebrew wisdom; we certainly have our priorities way out of order.

Amazingly, the apostle Paul, in essence, said to King Agrippa, I wish you were as free as I am. Not forgetting that Paul was in chains, bound, held in custody against his will and yet, ironically, he was the one who was truly free. Paul may have been physically incapacitated, greatly limited to what he could do and where he could go, yet the reality of his position – seated with Christ in the heavenlies – was the highest form of freedom that anyone can aspire to, in this present world.

What made these early Christians so joyful under such cruel, limiting and oppressive circumstances? Today we are so ‘sophisticated’, so ‘well equipped’, so ‘advanced’ and so ‘free’. Really?! The truth of the matter is, we are not free from materialism, the love of money, the love of self, the lust of the eyes, the pride of life, the fear of life, the anxious mindset, the competitive spirit, the jealous heart, the venom of bitterness and contempt… How does a Chinese Christian church survive and grow amidst its terrible conflict? How do Christians in the Middle East and North Africa know such freedom under fierce and deathly persecution? Those churches are so markedly distinguished in comparison to our western ‘disco churches’ of entertainment.

There is a price to pay for being a Christian; “ALL who desire to live a godly life, in Christ Jesus, will suffer persecution.” (2 Timothy 3:12) There are no ‘ifs’ or ‘buts’ about this. A Christian is to expect opposition, not be surprised by it when it occurs. America is very much like ancient Israel when they prospered, became lax, complacent and forgot the Lord their God. We are in a spiritual war and the enemy of our souls has lulled many of us to sleep, dream and think that every thing is just fine. Our arch foe is more than content to have the Church panic as some of us ‘sober up’ to the increasing tyranny of our government replacing the freedom of America’s Constitution; the prince of this world, above all things, will promote a false freedom, anything so long as it blinds and deters us from the truth of real freedom found in and through Christ alone, which supersedes and far exceeds the principles this nation was founded upon. The Christian’s freedom ought never to depend on the liberty of this nation; righteous laws are the outflow of godly conduct. The Christian’s ultimate focus is never to defend and be spent-out in preserving the 1776 Constitution of the United States of America. We can preserve our tradition while lacking the spirit in which it was originally intended. Holy Spirit reformation and revival of the heart is to be the focus; society cannot be changed from the outside, by external laws, but it can be changed from within. Circumcision of the heart is what only God can do.

The laws of the land are only there to prevent the sweeping tide of anarchy, but sometimes I wonder that such a thing has not already occurred as our leaders replicate the grave mistakes of bygone communism and fascism. It is imperative we remember that God is sovereign over all, even when He withdraws His hand and allows evil to have sway. We are already under the judgment of God, and have been for some time – more than we realize. God willed that Israel be brought under the tyrannical reign of King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon because of willful and continual disobedience, but God ultimately purposed for Israel’s refining and restoration, first unto Himself and then back to their homeland.

It is a sobering truth that America is more prone to destroying itself rather than from foreign terrorism – outside or within this country. The Church’s persecution may well indeed rise from an evil political regime that overthrows the founding principles and prosperity of what originally constituted this land of liberty. God knows how to wake and rouse the Church to life. We have sacrificed our freedoms to the god of self and this world. God will not be mocked. His Church is the apple of His eye and He will use whatever means to conform her to the image of Christ.

Whatever trouble lies ahead, we ought to be a praying people, holding the facts before us in the light of God, not to give way to panic and fear but to seek Him and His will with ALL our hearts. Impending persecution will inevitably reveal to us our true freedom in Christ overflowing to a joy inexpressible as we realize that through all these things we are indeed more than conquerors through Him who eternally loves us.

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Posted on August 2, 2011, in ♣ Devotional and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 2 Comments.

  1. Psalm 94:15 Judgment turns to righteousness, and all the upright will follow it.
    What will it take for courts of law to return their moral compass toward True North?

    • Hi Steve,

      1. The judgement of God that leads many to righteousness or 2. The collapse (end) of a nation. God is no respecter of individuals or countries. He will not be mocked; the courts of law are supposedly there to administer justice in a way that reflects His righteousness. America is living on borrowed time. The Church needs to pray, “In wrath remember mercy.”

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