“They Promise Them Liberty”

By Larry Ray Hafley

While they promise them liberty, they themselves are the servants of corruption: for of whom a man is overcome, of the same is he brought in bondage” (2 Pet. 2:19). “His own iniquities shall take the wicked himself, and he shall be holden with the cords of his sins” (Prov. 5:22). “In the transgression of an evil man there is a snare” (Prov. 29:6).

The wicked, the wayward, the worldly extend the torch of freedom to the unwary. “They speak great swelling words of vanity” (2 Pet. 2:18). “By good words and fair speeches (they) deceive the hearts of the simple” (Rom. 16:18). The siren summons of Satan says that you need not be bound by the chafing constraints of commandments, of “do’s and don’ts.” Rather, you can be free to express yourself, to indulge, to explore new vistas and horizons of pleasure. “Guilt” feelings are an invention of preachers and moralists who would keep you in bondage to their systems of salvation. Ignore them. Cast off the chains of restraint and enjoy the freedom of self-expression. Sex, drugs and alcohol are your bill of rights; so, declare your independence and be free!

It all sounds so good, but what do we find? The freedom to experiment with drugs leads to addiction. Lying becomes a way of life. Crime becomes an occupation to support a lifestyle. The conscience is gradually extinguished by the hydrant of alcohol. Pornography consumes the passions with burning lusts that cannot be satisfied or gratified. The one who wanted to be a “party animal” is now only an animal at a party. He is led by cravings and desires that have no fulfillment and that leave the bitter aftertaste of doubt, fear and shame. And this is freedom?

Sin promises liberty and escape, but the young lady is no longer free to control her body. She cannot deny her body; she cannot say, “no,” for that would be to revert to the “bondage” of religion. Her body is not hers. It belongs to the animals at the party. The young man cannot refuse beer with his friends, followed by a marijuana reverie. He is obligated to go along. He dare not say, “no,” to the gang and revert to being a “nerd.” No, he must get drunk. He is bound to do so. It matters not that he has an important test tomorrow. His actions are now determined for him “the call of the wild.” And this is freedom?

The freedom the world promises means that your body and mind are no longer yours. Your mouth will curse and swear. It will utter profanity. You become “hooked” on filthy language until you use it automatically, naturally. Drugs and alcohol are not the only things that are addictive. Evil thoughts of lust become instinctive, almost second nature. Soon, you will act “as natural brute beasts,” governed by your fleshly appetites. Your god will be your belly, your physical, sensual desires. With a hardened heart (it being past feeling, past persuasion and reason), you will surrender yourself to all kinds of lewdness and impurity with eagerness. You will have “eyes full of adultery, and that cannot cease from sin” because you have exercised your heart with covetous passions and practices (Eph. 4:17-19; Phil. 3:19; 2 Pet. 2:12,14).

As our topical text says, you were promised liberty, but you were made a servant of corruption. That is a terrible irony. Worse, it is a spiritual tragedy with eternal repercussions.

But, alas, this story can have a happy ending. There is true freedom and liberty in Christ (Jn. 8:32; Gal. 5:1). It is a freedom from the law (the rule, the power) of sin and death. The Lord provides “deliverance to the captives” of sin and “liberty” to them that are under sentence of death (Lk. 4:18). There is a “perfect law of liberty” to which you must subscribe (Jas. 1:25). It is the law of the Holy Spirit, the gospel, which will make you free from the law of sin and death (Rom. 1:16; 6:23; 8:2). And, yes, there is a yoke to be borne, but it is not cumbersome or wearisome “Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light” (Matt. 11:29,30).

“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 of obedience unto righteousness?” (Rom. 6:16) The selection is yours. You will either obey sin and become its slave or you will obey God and become a servant of righteousness. Carefully consider the consequences of each choice. As you weigh the alternatives, do not be deceived – read the first paragraph of this article again.

Guardian of Truth XXXV: 11, p. 325
June 6, 1991