So I shall keep Thy Law continually for ever and ever. And I will walk at liberty, for I seek Thy precepts. (Ps. 119:44,45)
Though obedience to the law may appear outwardly to be the antithesis of liberty, Reconstructionist Christians realize that liberty comes from God alone, and obedience to his revealed word. It has been proven time and again throughout history that the nation or people that obey God’s law have been granted abundant blessings, while the nation that shies away from the truth becomes increasingly restricted in its freedoms. One example of such a nation is our own United States, which, as she moves farther and farther away from God’s law, has become a place of restricted liberty and blatant, unrepentant sin. Sinful man believes liberty is the self-defined freedom to do whatever he desires; however, this is a humanistic idea, the outworking of man’s fallen nature and desire to be his own god, determining for himself good and evil (Gen. 3:5). Pagan Americans believe they are free from bondage because America is a "free" country, but they do not realize that freedom must be defined by God.
Liberty: Freedom to Sin?
The meaning of the word liberty has become so distorted in today’s society that most Americans have difficulty comprehending what liberty actually constitutes. Everyone wants his "rights," but few realize that rights (i.e., liberties), are defined by God’s law. Consider the sign displayed prominently outside a pornography shop our church is currently involved in picketing:
... Please do not harass the picketers. It is their Constitutional right to picket, just as it is our right to do business.
The pornographers are hiding behind a man-made law while loudly proclaiming that what they’re doing is perfectly legal. It’s a sad fact to note that most of the modern church agrees with them! As long as these public sinners stay "out there," outside the four walls of the church, it is supposedly their right to do whatever they please, and we who publicly oppose them are infringing upon their "rights." But why are we opposed to pornography? Why can’t we live side by side with the pornographers in peace? Because there will be no peace where there is pornography! Pornography is a proven prelude to rape, murder, and child abuse; more importantly, it is a sin forbidden by God. Because it is sin, if society continues to tolerate—and encourage—this abhorrence, society will be judged, resulting in a restriction on liberties for all. Any attempt to achieve freedom apart from God’s law will result in loss of true freedom, bondage to sin, and consequent judgment from Heaven.
Legality vs. Lawfulness
Efforts to breach the Creator/creation distinction fill our legal system as man attempts to become God and his own master. The Bill of Rights has become so badly misinterpreted as to allow pornography shops to line the streets and continue to function without any fear of civil government’s intervention or censorship.
But the fact that pornography is legal in our land does not make it lawful—in other words, even though pornography is permitted in our current legal system, it is still a violation of God’s law, and thus is sin.
Many other legalized abhorrences also are not lawful; for example, the abortion industry. Feeble attempts to justify this state-permitted practice by claiming it to be a woman’s legal right in no way make it any less the murder of an innocent child and a violation of God’s Law.
Liberty: Freedom from Sin
Ezra was commanded by God to set godly magistrates, "all such as know the laws of thy God" (Ez. 7:25). Those who live under the law are expected to obey it, and the magistrates and judges that are commanded to know the law of God are to adhere to its principles and set the society’s standards by them. The Christian society, then, would have no pornography (a violation of the Seventh Commandment) or abortion (a violation of the Sixth Commandment), and criminals would be required to make restitution for all illegal acts. The result of a godly Christian society is freedom for its law-abiding citizens from the effects of sins such as tyranny and bureaucracy.
Christian Liberty and Righteousness
"Considering the Creator only a Being of infinite power, He was able unquestioningly to have prescribed whatever laws He pleased to His creature, man, however unjust or severe. But as he is also a Being of infinite wisdom, He has laid down only such laws as were founded in those religions of justice, that existed in the nature of things antecedent to any positive precept. These are the eternal, immutable laws of good and evil, to which the Creator Himself in all his Dispensations conforms; and which he has enabled human reason to discover, so far as they are necessary for the conduct of human actions" (William Blackstone, Commentaries, 1765).
As man is a creature, he must inherently adhere to the Laws of his Creator. Any attempt to define liberty from a humanistic, autonomous perspective results in man-centered "rights" taking precedence over divinely revealed law. Humanity is not able (because of sin) to determine what is right and wrong. This is why we have Biblically revealed law. To obey is life, peace, and freedom. To attempt to replace God’s law with man’s (i.e., to disobey) is to invite negative sanctions and suffer in bondage to sin.
Righteousness will reign where evil is suppressed by godly magistrates; where there is an active orthodox church; and good, godly families stand for the truth.
The essential key to understanding Christian liberty is realizing the difference between obedience to God’s Laws, "theonomy," and sinful rebellion against God, "autonomy." Consider what Paul says in Romans 8:2-4:
For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus hath made me free from the law of sin and death. For what the law could not do, in that it was weak through the flesh, God sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, and for sin, condemned sin in the flesh; That the righteousness of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit.