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The 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 boundaries.   


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. 


Western democracies 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?           



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