Thursday, July 12, 2007

Life and Liberty

In the post below I addressed the Declaration of the unalienable right of the pursuit of happiness as a misapplication of God’s bestowal of happiness. Here I will address briefly the endowments of Life and Liberty. Yes, in the world, these endowments are to be considered the unalienable rights of all men, for no one but God has the authority to deprive a person of these.

Life is a gift from God. He created the world for Man to inhabit. Life is not a choice but a gift. No man can choose to live. He can only continue in the gift of life. This gift of life is from eternity. God gives it.

While Man cannot choose to live, he did choose to die. But death is not what we often suppose it to be. Death is the choice to think or will or do for ourselves rather than to trust and rely upon God. When Man chose for himself, Man died. He cut himself off from Life. He was no longer free to live the Life that God alone can give.

God restores Life to Man through the gift of the Light and Life of Man, Jesus Christ. Jesus has been given from eternity. He has been with Man even while Man wandered. He was born as Man to redeem Man. His life was given as the Life of the world. He died so that Man may live. In Baptism, this Life is restored to Man. In the Supper, it is preserved in regenerated Man.

Liberty also is God’s gift to Man. Like Life, it is misunderstood by Man. Liberty is not freedom to live on one’s own or by one’s own choices. For as pointed out above, such choice is death. Rather, Liberty is the freedom to live according to God’s decree and will. Liberty is the freedom to worship God in truth and purity. Liberty is freedom from selfish motives. This is not a choice that Man can make for himself. It is a gift from God. Truly it is a right, along with Life, a right that is endowed by the Creator. However, since Man chose for himself, this right has been forfeited. Now this right is no longer by Man’s inheritance according to his nature, but is by the inheritance of those who are reborn into God’s kingdom of the liberty of righteousness.

Like with Happiness, apart from God’s intervention, Man can do no more than pursue Life and Liberty. But with God, by His means established and administered in His Church, Life and Liberty are again endowed to those who are regenerated as children of God through the faith worked by the Holy Spirit through the preaching of the Gospel. When these are worked by God in a person so that the person is again identified as God’s child, truly Life, Liberty, and Happiness are renewed as unalienable rights, blessings that cannot be taken away by any force other than blasphemy of the Holy Spirit. Only by the person’s own rejection and denial of the goodness of the Holy Spirit and the Spirit’s work can the person ever again be alienated from these gifts of God.

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