Paul tells us in his letter to the Galatians that we are called to liberty, that we are to stand fast in liberty because it comes from Jesus. Liberty is both spiritual and temporal.
What does this mean for us today? What is the biblically based response for racial tensions, George Floyd, governmental abuses, COVID, justice, equality, etc? Paul continues, saying that with liberty comes a personal responsibility to love and serve others. This calling to liberty and personal responsibility comes with an innate sense of justice. Something in us rises up when we experience or see injustice. Even as children, we get frustrated when someone treats us “unfairly.”
We are all people with sinful natures. All of us need Jesus. Even that need for Jesus is a picture of God’s justice. God’s law demands a blood sacrifice for our sin. Jesus was perfect, an unblemished sacrifice, His death an unjust act to bring justice for each of us. The beauty of this sacrifice is the equality of it. We are all offered mercy and grace. We are all extended an invitation to become one body: the bride of Christ. Whether Jew or Greek, black or white, rich or poor, we are all equal under God’s law. We all deserve death for our sin. God offered us all His mercy, grace, and a new covenant sealed by the blood of His Son. It is in Him that we all can become one people bonded by love.
Here, we are sinful and live in a fallen and sinful world. Our world is unjust and does not offer equality for all. That is why we form governments—governments by the people that exist to protect our God-given liberties, to adjudicate a rule of law to apply justice equally.
If this is what governments are for, why are we not experiencing this under our current government? Because, as a culture, we have forgotten the role of government. We have grown our government beyond its purpose, grown it so that it erodes our God-given liberties, grown it so that instead of providing justice and equality, its bureaucracies become corrupt and self-serving.
We have seen this throughout history. When we experience unjust acts, something in us rises up. This is magnified by many things, but especially when injustice comes from those we expect to protect our liberties and dispense justice equally.
John Locke contended that our natural state is that of liberty, just as Paul describes that we are called to liberty. But our innate sinful human nature slowly draws us away from that as a society either through a false sense of safety, or allowing increased centralized government control over most aspects of our lives in exchange for “help.”
This is a slow process, and like a frog in slowly heated water, we’ll go along with it, unaware we are being boiled alive. But if the water suddenly boils, we jump out.
The reactions to the shutdowns in the name of COVID and the killing of George Floyd are examples of us jumping out of the pot. While we recognize a sharp increase in tyranny, we are still allowing a slow erosion that, over time, will kill our country and ourselves.
Throughout our history, we course-corrected—gaining our liberty and independence from England, a Civil War to end slavery, the Great Awakening, the Second Great Awakening, women’s suffrage, the Civil Rights movement—and we must keep correcting and aiming for liberty, justice, and equality.
What happened to George Floyd was unacceptable, and justice must be served. This is not the first injustice from a police officer and will not be the last. We must demand justice for each and every time policing gets out of control. In the same way, our government abuses their power over our liberties when it levies unjust taxes or applies burdening regulations on people trying to earn a living.
While I am not condoning violence or damage to others’ property, we should make or voices heard. We have a right to air our grievances. Even Jesus publicly spoke out against injustice and abuse.
Liberty, justice, equality. This stuff is biblical, not political. Let’s take it back from a government that seeks to take it from us.
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