Freedom And Morality

Next to the Bible, The Training of the Twelve by A.B. Bruce was the most influential book in my life. It was the primary text for the discipleship elective I taught during my years at Talbot School of Theology. Bruce wrote, “Jesus was inaugurating a process of spiritual emancipation, which was to issue in the complete deliverance of the apostles, and through them of the Christian Church, from the burdensome yoke of Mosaic ordinances, and then from the still more galling bondage of a ‘vain conversation received by tradition from the fathers’” (page 69). The apostle Paul carried on that theme when he wrote, “For freedom Christ has set us free; stand firm therefore, and do not submit to a yoke of slavery” (Gal. 5:1).

Freedom is at the very heart of God, which is why it is so disconcerting to see a public debate on “Freedom versus Morality,” which was the headliner on a national news program. It should have read, “License versus Legalism.” The secular public wants laws that ensure public order and safety, but they don’t like laws that restrict their lifestyle choices. They want the freedom to choose, but freedom doesn’t just lie in the exercise of choice. Every choice has consequences. The girl demanding the right to abort her baby had a sexual choice, and now she doesn’t want to suffer the consequences of the choice she made. Every human being has been given the power to choose. Other than the presence of God, it is the greatest power we possess. The sexual revolution of the 60s chanted “free sex,” and the consequences are staggering. Think of the death toll due to abortion and AIDS. AIDS is one of the most incurable diseases, and by far the most preventable. All you have to do is abstain, and they can’t. Over 125 million Americans have a sexually transmitted disease. That is not freedom; that is bondage. I was asked by a student at a secular college what Christians teach about masturbation. Before I could answer another student said out loud, “I do it every day.” I said, “Congratulations, can you stop.” He was the last to leave, but on his way out he said, “Why would I want to stop.” That is not what I asked you. I asked you if you could stop. What you think is freedom I think is bondage.

When you disjoin freedom from the heart of God, and love from the character of God you end up with license and lust. Jesus set us free to be all that He intended us to be, and I will gladly live with those consequences. “Where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom” (2 Cor. 3:17).

Dr. Neil

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