Liberty or License?

Kenneth W. Weliever
Hillsboro, Ohio

A great deal is being said today concerning freedom as it relates to one's rights and consequently his liberty. We hear these concepts discussed and argued in areas of politics, social improvement, domestic relations, economic affairs and ethics or moral standards. The freedom one has to investigate matters of significance and importance and to arrive at conclusions is a precious faculty. However, many abuse this right by failing to realize that all have this right, and by a failure to accept the responsibilities that arise therein.

Some of the ones who cry the loudest about freedom are the very ones who are abusing it. The uncouth, unkempt youth who deplores the "establishment," and will not respect the rights of others, does not understand what liberty is. In fact, he wants to suppress others who disagree with him. Those who believe in God and stand upon his Word are belittled and ridiculed by these "fun-loving, unrestrained, freedom seekers." Yet, Jesus said, "Ye shall know the truth and the truth shall make you free." (Jno. 8:32). And in John 17:17 our Lord tells us that truth is the Word of God. But these "intellectuals" scoff at the infallible book of God. So we ask: Is it liberty they want, or license? By license we mean a disregard for what is right and proper, by violating the laws of men and God.

Is it liberty or license, when two people of the same sex want to be married? Not long ago, the news media told of two women in the Louisville area who applied for a marriage license. In another area a spokesman, who is an avowed homosexual, commented that they were being discriminated against and pleaded for freedom for the "gay people." No, this is not fictitious or something that is happening in some undeveloped, uneducated country, but this is an example of the depravity that results from unrestraint and an abuse and misuse of freedom. The Bible, however, condemns homosexual activity in the first chapter of Romans and says those that do such are worthy of death.

Is it liberty or license, when unmarried individuals demand the right to have access to oral contraceptives so that they can "safely" engage in illicit affairs? Some say, "What is wrong with pre-marital sexual relations, as long as each person agrees it is all right?" Because God has not agreed that it is all right! Fornication is listed among the category of sins in I Corinthians 6:9-10 of which Paul said, "those that practice such shall not inherit the Kingdom of God."

Is it liberty or license, when young ladies say they may dress as they please, regardless of what others think? Jesus taught that the man who looks upon a woman to lust after her has committed adultery with her in his heart. Yet, God did not relieve the woman from any responsibility in this area, for Paul instructed, "in like manner also, that women adorn themselves in modest apparel, with shamefacedness and sobriety." (I Tim. 3:9). Women who are Christians should realize the seriousness of this charge, and dress modestly, so that others will not stumble (either literally or spiritually) because of unconcern and disrespect for the Word of God.

In all of these examples and others like them is a common paradox. Those who cry liberty, but in reality mean license are actually the ones who are the slaves. To the Romans, Paul penned these words: "Know ye not, that to whom ye yield yourselves servants to obey, his servants ye are to whom ye obey; whether of sin unto death or obedience unto righteousness." While they want the liberty to act in any way they desire, they are the ones, ironically enough, who are without freedom. Liberty does not mean license, nor does freedom exist' without responsibility. Those who succumb to their own lusts are in bondage to sin, and can only be made free by Christ.

TRUTH MAGAZINE, XV: 48, pp. 12a-13
October 14, 1971