In today’s world, there’s lots of discussion and debate on the topic of civil and religious liberties. As humans, we are naturally born with an innate desire and sense of liberty and free choice. Our minds recoil at the thought of captivity or slavery. This desire for liberty is especially encouraged in American citizens since we are born into constitutional freedom and have enjoyed liberty for our entire life. We have no concept of living under dictators or communist regimes where civil and religious liberties are lacking. This is because our founding fathers refused to cower to tyranny and defended natural liberty. They stood, spending their fortunes and fighting to their deaths for constitutional freedom. Thus, a patriotic spirit resounded throughout the United States of America from its start, celebrating constitutional liberty.
However, constitutional liberty is not the only important form of liberty. Spiritual liberty from a biblical perspective is even more vital because without spiritual liberty (freedom from sin), constitutional liberty is deficient in its function. If a person is held captive in a prison house of sin, they’re bound on the inside, no matter their physical status or whereabouts. Locking up the physical body cannot restrain a person’s spirit if they have received spiritual liberty, and this is why spiritual liberty is so important to seek and obtain.
The Creation of Natural and Spiritual Liberty
Humanity innately desires freedom because it is a God-given gift. Chapters 1 & 2 of Genesis recount the creation of the universe, its occupants, and man’s creation. These chapters show that when man took his first breath in Genesis 1:27, 2:7, the power of choice was granted. God could have designed man so that he had no free will, but instead, He crafted liberty within man at creation. At this point, man possessed spiritual liberty from sin and the natural liberty of choice.
The liberties we enjoy as American citizens stem from the liberty of choice given by God in the garden. The founding fathers expressed it in the body of the Declaration of Independence. They understood the connection between the God-given liberties of free will and the unalienable rights of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.
“We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of Happiness.”
The Loss of Spiritual Liberty
2 Corinthians 3:17 says, “Now the Lord is that Spirit: and where the Spirit of the Lord is there is liberty.” So, Adam and Eve lived in both natural and spiritual liberty. The Lord came and communed with them daily, nurturing their relationship with Him. Unfortunately, with their liberty, Adam and Eve sinned. The timeframe of the serpent subtly wearing down their defenses isn’t clear, but Genesis 3 records man’s descent into captivity, bondage, and slavery. Humanity was banished from the garden home that God gave them. Spiritual liberty was lost. Humanity was enslaved to sin.
Although banishment had taken place, with it came the prophetic word of One that would come and crush the serpent’s head. In other words, Jesus would destroy Satan’s power. Bible scholars and theologians alike acknowledge this is the first prophecy of a Messiah, the one who restores liberty and freedom by reversing Adams’ failure.
Spiritual Liberty’s Restoration through Christ
One instance where the foretelling of Jesus can be seen is the year of jubilee. Leviticus 25 explains how the enslaved, those indebted, and anyone in any form of bondage were liberated every 50 years. Leviticus 25:10 says, “And ye shall hallow the fiftieth year, and proclaim liberty throughout the land unto all the inhabitants thereof: it shall be a jubilee to you; and every man shall return unto his possession, and ye shall return every man unto his family.” Thus, the liberty that Adam and Eve had once experienced daily was reallocated to once every 50 years. Notice: a proclamation was made that went throughout all the land of Israel. People who had lost their properties, been made slaves, or owed a debt were forgiven. Anyone in any type of bondage was freed. Nationwide liberty was the result of the proclamation. Everyone enjoyed a fresh start with a clean slate and celebration filled the year.
Fast-forward to the days of Jesus and His disciples. We watch as Jesus proclaims Himself the perpetual jubilee in Luke 4:18, 19, “The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because He hath anointed me to preach the gospel to the poor; He hath sent me to heal the brokenhearted, to preach deliverance to the captives, the recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty them that are bruised, to preach the acceptable year of the Lord.” Everything Jesus was anointed to restore is connected to spiritual liberty. Those hearing Jesus in the synagogue understood the meaning behind, “the acceptable year of the Lord.” It was a direct reference to the year of jubilee, the year of celebration and restored liberty. Jesus was making the proclamation of liberty. Our eternal liberty was the result.
His death, burial, and resurrection righted Adam’s wrong. It repurchased spiritual liberty and made it possible so humanity could again enjoy liberty in all areas of life. When we receive Jesus as Lord and Savior, we are released from the enemy’s grasp. Our eternal soul becomes free. Scripture says, “If the Son, therefore, shall make you free, you shall be free indeed” (John 8:36).
The two Greek words used for “free” in this passage are different. The first is eleutheroō, which means “to liberate, exempt, deliver or make free.” The Greek root for eleutheroō is the second word for free, eleutheros. It means “unrestrained (to go at pleasure), i.e. (as a citizen) not a slave (whether freeborn or manumitted) exempt, free, at liberty.” The interesting point is that the phrase “shall make” is the Greek word eleutheroō. So, the passage would literally translate, “If the son, therefore, frees you free, you shall be free indeed.” When Jesus freed us, we were freed into complete and total liberty. No more bondage. No more chains.
This is why spiritual liberty is of the foremost importance. No matter how free a person is on a secular or social basis, they’re in a perpetual prison if they are held captive and enslaved by sin. However, if you’re locked up with no hope of physical release and Christ has liberated you, the jail walls cannot hold your spirit. You’re eternally free.
It is no wonder the Apostle Paul wrote in Galatians 5:1, “Stand fast in the liberty wherewith Christ has made us free and be not entangled again with the yoke of bondage.” Paul said to stand firm in the freedom that Christ has given and refuse to let bondages hold on to you.
The spiritual liberty granted us in accepting Jesus Christ as Savior places us in the position to walk in well in constitutional freedom. Consequently, as believers in Christ, we have an obligation to stand up for and proclaim liberty: spiritual liberty and constitutional liberty. Much like the Liberty Bell is a reminder of liberty’s proclamation with a portion of Leviticus 25:10 engraved around its crown, we are to proclaim the liberty found in Jesus Christ throughout the land.
All Scripture is taken from the King James Version unless otherwise noted.