Author: David Wilber
The United States Declaration of Independence speaks of certain unalienable rights that are given to all human beings, among which are life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. The committee who drafted this important document didn’t come up with the idea of these rights on their own. These rights, as the Declaration of Independence says, are endowed to us by the Creator. In particular, the importance of liberty is deeply grounded in the values expressed by the Bible.
For instance, the first of the Ten Commandments (“Ten Words” in Hebrew) deliberately reminds us of the source of true liberty:
I am the Lord your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of slavery. (Exodus 20:2)
God places a high value on liberty. The entire basis of the Torah is the declaration that we’ve been liberated and therefore ought to walk in liberty. In the New Testament, James calls the Torah the “law of liberty” and tells us to be doers of that word (James 1:24; 2:12). So, according to the Bible, we were not created to live as slaves, but as free people—and that means living in obedience to God’s ways. As Dennis Prager so eloquently put it:
The Giver of the Ten Commandments is, in effect, saying: “I took you out of slavery and into freedom, and these Ten Commandments are the way to make a free society. You cannot be a free people if you do whatever you want.” Freedom comes from moral self-control. There is no other way to achieve it.
The only time God’s commandments don’t bring liberty is when we break them. The Torah reveals what sin is through God’s commandments (Romans 3:20). When we transgress the commandments of the Torah, we sin (Romans 7:7; 1 John 3:4). According to Scripture, we’ve all transgressed the Torah and thus have sinned. We’ve all been enslaved to our personal Egypts. But just as God delivered the Israelites from slavery in Egypt, He has delivered us from the slavery of sin and death! He sent His Son, Yeshua the Messiah, to die for us and purchase our liberty. Yeshua gave His life so that we can be free.
Think about that the next time you are tempted to go back to your old sinful habits. Returning to sin is essentially putting the yoke of slavery back on your neck to see if it still fits. It’s not a good look. It betrays your created purpose as a redeemed child of God. From this day forward, may you choose Yeshua. May you choose to live in obedience. May you choose liberty. As the apostle Paul said, “For freedom Christ has set us free; stand firm therefore, and do not submit again to a yoke of slavery” (Galatians 5:1)
This article is an except from my book, When Faith Works: Living Out the Law of Liberty According to James. Find out more here.
About David Wilber
David is first and foremost a passionate follower of Yeshua the Messiah. He is also a writer, speaker, and teacher.
In addition to his book, A Christian Guide to the Biblical Feasts, David has written several theological and devotional articles available on various Messianic and Christian websites...