Saturday, December 20, 2008

True Freedom: Why Evangelism Must Be Our Priority

In an article at the Ligonier Ministries blog entitled "Sweet Land of Liberty", Dr. Gene Edward Veith writes of our freedom as believers. To most in our country, "freedom" has come to mean getting to do whatever we want, even sin and wickedness. Any restriction on behavior is seen as a violation of our freedom. However, true freedom is found only through faith in Christ:
"Jesus, through the power of His sacrificial death and resurrection, frees sinners from the bondage of sin. By the power of the Holy Spirit through the Gospel, we are set free. Though while we are still in the flesh we may still struggle with sin, we are free from sin's dominion. To the extent we are in Christ, through faith, we no longer even need the external Law to keep us in line. We voluntarily -- freely -- do God's will, not out of compulsion or threats, but because we really want to please Him, and, because we are in God's love, we really do love our neighbors."
This has implications for the freedom we desire for our nation. Dr. Veith concludes:

"People who are slaves of sin require laws, authorities, police officers, and government control to prevent them from harming other people. But people who have been freed from sin do not need external controls on their behavior. They internalize the moral law. They voluntarily -- of their own free will -- do what they should. They govern themselves, freely directing their own behavior; therefore, they are capable of governing themselves in a free political order.

"That free political order is not just for Christians, of course, and others who can, by whatever external means, govern their desires can also enjoy its liberties. But laws -- and prisons -- will still be necessary for those who refuse to govern themselves. Meanwhile, those who wish to preserve their freedom must be on guard against both tyrants and their own sin."

Perhaps this is what John Adams had in mind when he said, "Our constitution was made only for a moral and religious people. It is wholly inadequate to the government of any other."

Our best and only hope for maintaining political freedom in our nation is through evangelism and discipleship. It is through presenting the gospel and proclaiming the Word of God both to our leaders and our nation's citizens. To do otherwise is to fight a losing battle against the enslavement of people's hearts and lives to sin.

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