Preserving Freedom

Personal responsibility and self-control are necessary for our nation to continue.

By James Robison Published on July 1, 2018

This week we celebrate the anniversary of our nation’s birth of freedom. This historical moment occurred as a result of wise, committed leaders and followers pledging their lives, fortunes and sacred honor to establish the greatest foundation upon which a nation and its people could build their families and future. It came as the result of many individuals who were seeking the right to worship the living Creator God without restraint from any earthy power, and the right of all citizens to pursue their hopes and dreams with liberty while exercising personal responsibility.

The Founders clearly understood that all of our rights come from “nature’s laws” and “nature’s God.” They expounded on truths they deemed “self-evident.” As the Declaration of Independence states, “All men are created equal” and are “endowed by their Creator” with the “unalienable” right to “life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.” Our nation’s Founders knew that true freedom can only be preserved by citizens who understand that freedom and liberty are not exactly the same.

Freedom and Liberty

As an example, animals and wildlife have freedom by their very nature: birds fly, fish swim, predators hunt. They don’t, however, have liberty with responsibility as do human beings. We can choose how we live and liberty grants us this blessed privilege. A pack of wolves cannot be held responsible for killing vulnerable prey because that’s what wolves naturally do. They lack the conscience and wisdom necessary to make distinct choices.

As human beings we have liberty and with it the great responsibility to choose wisely. Uncontrolled appetites and desires can become chains that bind us, robbing us of personal and even national freedom.

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God-centered, Bible-believing Founders clearly understood both this and the absolute importance of living under control as responsible citizens in order to protect our liberty to make choices. It is also a fact that those Founders considered to be deists understood the true meaning of liberty and freedom. They were ready and willing to give their lives to establish, protect, and preserve it. Even Thomas Jefferson and Thomas Paine believed God was involved in human affairs as “the supreme Judge of the world,” a reference stated in the Declaration of Independence.

Thomas Paine

Thomas Paine helped ignite the Revolution with his book Common Sense, helping to ignite the Revolution. A purported atheist, he wrote concerning the Supreme authority necessary to preserve our freedom. He said, “It is a fool only, and not the philosopher, nor even the prudent man that will live as if there is no God. Were a man impressed as fully and strongly as he ought to be with the belief of a God, his moral life would be regulated by the force of belief; he would stand in awe of God and of himself, and would not do the thing that could not be concealed from either.”

If the American people, the political leaders, the academics, the courts, and Congress do not pursue true freedom, we will no longer be celebrating its birth, but rather witnessing its death.

Basically, he was advising and encouraging men to live in submission to a higher power which requires the assumption of personal responsibility and self-control. This is liberty and the benefits true freedom affords us. It is not a promised “right” to foolish, irresponsible, indifferent, self-consumed citizens.

The Future of Freedom

The freedom we have been granted gives us the right to do what we should, not the right to do whatever we want. That would not be liberty, but rather license, rebellion, and lawlessness. This course will always lead to dangerous dependence on a source other than God, His wisdom and the truth necessary to make and keep us free.

The freedom we have enjoyed is on trial and we are witnessing its destruction  because too many Americans fail to understand the binding link between liberty and personal responsibility. As a result, true freedom is lost to another Pharaoh, Caesar or other failed source. Because people reject the responsibility, privilege and joy of personally loving our neighbors and gladly being our brother’s keeper, we find ourselves becoming dependent on an inadequate source.

The American people appear to be choosing to trust in what the Old Testament called “the shadow of Egypt and of Pharaoh” rather than the shadow and shelter of the Almighty. Remember in the Old Testament, the children of Abraham (those of faith) said, “Away with God! Up with Pharaoh!” Bondage was the immediate result.

In the time of Christ, the crowds, including the children of Abraham, shouted, “Away with Jesus! Caesar is king!” Can you believe it? Well, it’s happening in our day. You may think what I am about to say is extreme, but hear it loud and clear: If the American people, the political leaders, the academics, the courts, and Congress do not pursue true freedom, we will no longer be celebrating its birth, but rather witnessing its death.

The future of freedom is in your hands and rests on your shoulders. Freedom must not die on our watch. If it does, it will be by our own hand because people who claim faith in God remain uninformed, indifferent, and uninvolved. We will have handed freedom over to the destroyer of life and liberty. God forgive us if we do! By prayerfully and boldly uniting together we can celebrate the rebirth of freedom rather than witness the death of it. The future is in our hands. Now is the time to stand up and be counted!

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  • Stephen D

    All those “rights” might have been “self-evident” to the atheists and deists who were among the founders. But are they Christian doctrine? Jefferson did not like the Bible so he wrote his own Bible. He did not like the church of Christ either, and did not believe Jesus was divine. What was “self-evident” to Jefferson is therefore not necessarily biblical or Christian.
    Are our ethical views are going to be determined by people who deny Christ and oppose the will of God, or by the church and the Word of God? Surely such rights as we do have regarding our Liberty are human laws, properly set out in the Constitution. Their purpose is to limit the powers of government, to avoid tyranny, and protect the Liberty of the people. As such they are a secular institution of mankind, not a divine institution, and not part of Christian doctrine.
    Christians should support Liberty, and the legal rights necessary to sustain it, because the Bible teaches that God hates tyranny and injustice. Our obligation, therefore is to build a just and free society, along with the necessary legal framework. But please, let’s not surrender the biblical foundations, and go along with the fanciful doctrines of deists and atheists!

  • JAG

    I think you are correct in saying that to live in submission to the one true God of the Bible does require personal responsibility and self-control, yet the supernatural paradox is that our submission yields control to His Holy Spirit … thus walking in the Spirit rather than simply indulging the lusts of our flesh. Would it even be possible for our media-centric society to grasp the concept of restraint?
    I also agree that time is running out for America as we know it, and if, as you say, we “do not pursue true freedom” we will be “witnessing it’s death” (both the death of freedom and America). And of course the only way to pursue true freedom is through Jesus Christ: who is The Way, The truth, and The Life” [John 14:6] and “If the Son therefore shall make you free, ye shall be free indeed” [John 8:36].
    You really lost me, however, when you tried to describe a difference between Freedom and Liberty … for I believe these are one and the same thing. Noah Webster’s dictionary in fact uses the word liberty to define the word freedom, and uses the word freedom to define the word liberty. You eventually made your way, though, to man’s responsibility before his Creator, so all-in-all I think this is a fine article; keep up the God honoring good work!

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