About Jesus - Steve Sweetman
Foundation Of Freedom
As the summer of
2017 approaches it's hard for me to believe how time is passing so
quickly. Shortly, many of my
generation will be celebrating the 50th anniversary of the Summer of Love,
as they are now celebrating the June 1, 1967, release of the Beatles' Sgt.
Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band album.
For many young people living through the summer of 1967 freedom
meant a breaking away from the moral restraints imposed on them by their
parents. The Summer of Love
was the summer of free sex - no commitment required.
The idea of
breaking away from something seems fundamental to our western world's
popular concept of freedom. Breaking
away from a tyrannical government was what America
was founded upon. Freedom of
speech, of religion, of the press, and of individual expression is basic
to the history of western democracies.
The Bible speaks to the issue of
freedom in its opening pages. Along
with God's command for man to care for creation, (Genesis 1:28) something
we should be obeying today, God gave this command. "You
are free to eat from any tree in the garden; but you must not eat from the
tree of the knowledge of good and evil, for when you eat from it you will
certainly die" (Genesis 2:16 - 17).
Notice that the
first words of this command are "you are free."
A freedom that we know nothing about was God's intent for man, but
there's more to the command. "You
must not eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, for when you
eat from it you will certainly die."
We know what happened. Adam
and Eve ate from the tree. They
lost their freedom and entered a world of bondage to decay and death, and
thus we see a basic principle of life.
Loss of freedom ends in bondage.
The first hint of
lost freedom is seen when Adam and Eve clothed themselves.
Their nakedness was a free expression of who God created them to
be. Nothing was hidden from
each other. The two had become
one in a free and unrestricted exchange of body, soul, and spirit.
The covering of their nakedness with restrictive clothing was an
outward indication that their free exchange of life was broken.
How depressing this new reality must have felt for them.
According to the
first mention of freedom in the Bible, Biblical freedom is not a breaking
away from anything. It's
living within God ordained boundaries.
Once stepping beyond these boundaries you not only lose your
freedom but you enter a world of bondage that exists outside of these
One example of how
stepping outside of God ordained boundaries is seen in the 1960's sexual
revolution. What started out
to be free and easy sexual bliss morphed into broken relationships, sexual
diseases, unwanted pregnancies, abortions, and all the social ills that
are a product of immorality. I
don't call that freedom.
have prided themselves on their freedoms that can be directly traced to
their Biblical influenced roots. I
think I can safely say that the West is losing these freedoms for various
reasons, but in part the loss is due to its forsaking of Biblical
boundaries. Is America, for example, still the land of the brave and the free?
Western culture has
stepped beyond the boundaries of Biblical freedom into a state of a sinful
hedonism. The result is easy
to figure out. Sin is
destructive and thus requires laws to restrain the sin.
For example, hate speech laws are being enacted to counteract the
nasty speech that runs rampant on social media sites, TV, and radio.
These laws actually inhibit free speech.
Many Canadians have become reluctant to read Romans 1:24 to 32 in a
public forum lest they be in violation of hate speech laws.
Clearly, these laws inhibit free speech as well as the freedom of
religious expression. In the
process of taming the tongue in a cultural climate of tolerance we are
losing our freedom of individual expression.
The foundation of
Biblical freedom is found in Genesis.
It is further defined in the New Testament, but that's an article
for another day. The concept
of Biblical freedom which western culture has now forsaken is fenced in by
God ordained boundaries. Once
stepping beyond these boundaries you exchange freedom for bondage. In
other words, what we sow we reap. Sowing
life outside of Biblical boundaries reaps a harvest of bondage.
I'd rather reap a harvest of blessing found within the boundaries
of Biblical freedom, wouldn't you?