Civil liberty and civil oppression

In the last post I introduced the concept of what God thinks about slavery. Continuing that theme, here are a few questions to consider:

  • What good is civil liberty if we are held in bondage by the lusts of the flesh and our soul is dead?
  • What harm can civil oppression do if our soul is regenerate?

Let’s approach these questions thinking of ourselves as ambassadors of the kingdom of heaven.  We are living in a world convinced that we are the product of the accidents of evolution in a material-only time-bound existence.  Such one-dimensional thinking enslaves a person to two powerful forces. One force is greed—the desperation of human nature to satisfy the passions of our flesh before it is too late (like a drowning person trying to stay above the water). The other force is pride—the desperation to justify our determination of satisfy all cravings all the time, no matter how self-destructive they are (like a drowning person who feels justified in doing whatever it takes to stay alive, no matter how self-defeating or harmful to others). 

People made in the image of God yet opposed to God and His image in creation are not only slaves to the desperate cravings of the flesh, but are also desperate to be encouraged, affirmed, supported, justified, and even proud in such pursuits (see John 8:31ff and Romans 1:16-32). This is the kind of slavery that God is concerned about because it destroys our whole life.

The truth and grace of God have the power to raise the drowning from all peril of death. God’s Word and Spirit regenerate the soul in the image of Christ who walked on water and who is, Himself, living water. A regenerate soul empowered by the Word and Spirit of God is liberated from the desperate cravings and passions of the corruption of our human nature – liberated to live for the liberation of others.

No human being or government or demon can hold a regenerate soul in bondage, even though that soul may live in a body that is being held in one kind of captivity or another. Jesus finished the work of substituting His life for ours when He was arrested, condemned, and crucified. The apostles, especially Paul, continued their work of extending the kingdom of heaven just as much when they were imprisoned as when they were traveling freely. 

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