Saturday, October 18, 2014

"Theocracy Limits Liberty"

I was driving in Dallas this week with my son and saw a car merging from the on-ramp. There was a sticker on the rear bumper that read "Theocracy Limits Liberty". I found myself both agreeing and disagreeing with this statement. The veracity of this statement really relies on how one would define liberty and one's understanding of theocracy. Your perception of what kind of rule a theocracy would be is dependent on your perception of the character of God. Whether that perception is right or wrong, it will effect how you react or respond to the concept of a theocracy.

However, first, so I don't assume too much, we need to answer the question: What is a theocracy? In my case, a theocracy is a government in which God is the ruling (sovereign or all powerful) authority. For others the government would be ruled by whatever deity they choose.

Regarding the possible definitions of liberty: I am going to keep it to two basic definitions that are fairly broad yet I believe to be accurate. The first definition is the freedom to do whatever we want, whenever we want, as long as we want to do it within the limits of our own conscience of what we believe to be right and wrong as long as we are willing to accept any consequences that may arise from our pursuits. The other definition regards freedom from a life bound by flesh and blood, freedom from the sorrows of our earthly existence, and freedom that includes self-denial for a short period in order to receive an eternal reward. The first view regards liberty for as long as this life endures and the second is liberty forever.

Regarding the perceptions of who God is: For some God is all love, for others He is all justice and judgment. For some He is distant and disconnected, for others He is personal, intimate and loving. For some He is waiting for them to make a mistake so He can punish them, for others His grace allows for anything. None of these by themselves is true and some are not true at all. God is much more than we can really describe, but due to our life experiences and our finite view points we sometimes see God one dimensionally. However, the Bible is very thorough in revealing all of His character qualities. Sometimes you have to pay closer attention to the context than others to see various traits.

If you see God as domineering and mean, you feel that you will have no liberty under His reign. If you see God as all loving, you believe you can live in complete liberty with no eternal consequences and no accountability. If you see God as a loving God, but a perfect, holy and just God, then you believe that because of His perfection and justice He demands perfection and justice from His creation.  However, you also know His love for you causes Him to seek a fair way to deal with the just consequences of sin.

Let me share what the Bible has to say about liberty verses slavery.  In John 8:31-36 Jesus addresses this topic:

31 So Jesus was saying to those Jews who had believed Him, "If you continue in My word, then you are truly disciples of Mine; 32 and you will know the truth, and the truth will make you free." 33 They answered Him, "We are Abraham's descendants and have never yet been enslaved to anyone; how is it that You say, 'You will become free '?" 34 Jesus answered them, "Truly, truly, I say to you, everyone who commits sin is the slave of sin. 35 "The slave does not remain in the house forever; the son does remain forever. 36 "So if the Son makes you free, you will be free indeed. 

Romans 6:15-23 says:
15 What then? Shall we sin because we are not under law but under grace? May it never be! 16 Do you not know that when you present yourselves to someone as slaves for obedience, you are slaves of the one whom you obey, either of sin resulting in death, or of obedience resulting in righteousness? 17 But thanks be to God that though you were slaves of sin, you became obedient from the heart to that form of teaching to which you were committed, 18 and having been freed from sin, you became slaves of righteousness. 19 I am speaking in human terms because of the weakness of your flesh. For just as you presented your members as slaves to impurity and to lawlessness, resulting in further lawlessness, so now present your members as slaves to righteousness, resulting in sanctification. 20 For when you were slaves of sin, you were free in regard to righteousness. 21 Therefore what benefit were you then deriving from the things of which you are now ashamed? For the outcome of those things is death. 22 But now having been freed from sin and enslaved to God, you derive your benefit, resulting in sanctification, and the outcome, eternal life. 23 For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.
The last verse says it all: We EARN death because we violate God's law, but God FREELY GIVES eternal life by paying our fine (death) through Christ. That is the perfect, just, and holy God finding a way through His love to satisfy His justice. He paid the penalty Himself so that everyone my experience eternal liberty.  Really think about how long eternity is and think about how long most of our pursuits of pleasure last and determine which definition of liberty has the greater value.

Here's the bottom line: Yes, theocracy does limit liberty and no, theocracy does not limit liberty. Theocracy will only limit your liberty if you choose to accept God's gift of salvation and then SUBMIT YOURSELF to His rule and authority. He never forces anyone. However, when the judgment comes, He MUST deal with sin because He is perfect. But, He loves you so much, He provided the cost. If you submit yourself to this theocracy, then you will experience a liberty in eternity that you cannot even begin to imagine right now.
 1 Therefore there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. 2 For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has set you free from the law of sin and of death. 3 For what the Law could not do, weak as it was through the flesh, God did: sending His own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh and as an offering for sin, He condemned sin in the flesh, 4 so that the requirement of the Law might be fulfilled in us, who do not walk according to the flesh but according to the Spirit. (Romans 8:1-4)
God's liberty results in God's praise to God's glory. Come experience the rule of this Great King and accept His free gift of liberty!

For God's Glory,
Chris S. Sweet

1 comment:


    Was Abraham, Noah, Moses, Enoch, and Elijah saved? Yes, they were. Can men today be saved like these men? No.

    Abraham, Noah, Moses, Enoch, and Elijah were saved without believing Jesus was the Son of God. They were saved without confessing Jesus as Lord. They were saved without believing that God raised Jesus from the grave. They were saved without being baptized into Christ. The were saved without being baptized in water for the forgiveness of their sins. Can men living today be saved like theses men? No, they were all saved before the new covenant was in force.

    Was the thief on the cross saved? Yes. Can men today be saved like the thief? No. The thief did not believe in his heart that God raised Jesus from the dead. He was not baptized for the forgiveness of his sins. He was not baptized into Christ. The thief was saved before the new covenant was in force.


    1. Faith: John 3:16 For God so loved the world, that He gave His only Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life.(NASB)

    2. Repentance: Acts 3:19 Therefore repent and return, so that your sins may be wiped away, in order that times of refreshing may come from the presence of the Lord;(NASB)

    3. Confession: Romans 10:9 that if you confess with your mouth Jesus as Lord, and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved. (NASB)

    4. Water Baptism: Mark 16:16 He who has believed and has been baptized shall be saved...(NASB)



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