10 May 2023 Anno Domini, the Anglican Orthodox Communion Worldwide
“But be ye doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving your own selves. 23For if any be a hearer of the word, and not a doer, he is like unto a man beholding his natural face in a glass: 24For he beholdeth himself, and goeth his way, and straightway forgetteth what manner of man he was. 25But whoso looketh into the perfect law of liberty, and continueth therein, he being not a forgetful hearer, but a doer of the work, this man shall be blessed in his deed.” (James 1:22-25; all scripture quoted is from the King James Version)
What is Liberty? In a nutshell, the liberty of which James speaks is the freedom to do whatsoever one considers good and righteous. This interpretation may conflict with the natural laws that offer no restraint to behavior at all, and even to civil liberties in such cases as the laws of man may be in conflict with the laws of God. When obedient to the laws of God, man enjoys a perfect liberty beyond any measure of human jurisprudence. He is completely free to do whatever he desires because his behavior is subject to the Will and Mind of God. When civil government is based upon Godly principles, as was our own government at its founding, there will be no restraint on free speech, religion or freedom of assembly.
The Founding Fathers were guided by the Unseen Hand of Providence in the formularies they adopted for the government of a free and moral people. Those provisions to defend personal liberty are incorporated into the Bill of Rights of the U.S. Constitution. Though the Constitution is the Supreme Law of the Land, it is not our founding document – that document would be the Declaration of Independence which asserted the right and legal status of the American colonies as a separate nation among the nations of the world.
“When in the Course of human events it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature’s God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.
“We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they 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.”
Liberty is held to be the grant of God and NOT of government. Though we are created with equal rights to excel according to our several abilities, we are not granted assurances of remaining equal in every area of life such as individual wealth, prestige, honor, or social status. Equality ends at birth. God has placed us under an amazing assortment of resources to succeed by our personal efforts, wisdom, and sacrifices. We invest our talents for future returns. Liberty enables us to set our goals on the stars and allows us to achieve our dreams if our labors are sufficient and our wisdom based on sound principles. Those sound principles are outlined in Holy Scripture. The effort to make all men equal regardless of effort or sacrifice is not liberty but tyranny.
As free men and women, we have an exalted legacy to which to live up. Our Godly freedoms were purchased by the shedding of blood and many untold sacrifices of our Fore-Fathers. But even before those sacrifices, our freedom in our Christian claims were purchased by the shedding of blood by our Savior and Redeemer whose person was void of any taint of sin.
There is a popular, but misleading bumper sticker that reads, “Christ died for your soul – the soldier died for your freedom.” Sorry, but Christ died for both, and He was the only one worthy to do so. Even those who fight in battle to defend our freedoms are fighting for the just cause of Holy Scripture.
While it is true that governments are ministers of God to execute righteousness, most fail in their purpose and have become tyrannical masters. Any government law that is not consistent with the Law of God is not one which the Christian can obey. There is a hierarchy of laws that begins at the local and state government in America, and proceeds to the Federal government; but there is a Law above all governments that is defined by the Law of God. That Law takes precedent over every human law of man.
“The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he hath anointed me to preach the gospel to the poor; he hath sent me to heal the brokenhearted, to preach deliverance to the captives, and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty them that are bruised,” (Luke 4:18)
We have the duty to follow in the footsteps of our Lord and do the same.