The Difference Between Liberty and Freedom
Eighteen years ago
I erected a flag pole on the north side of my home.
I did this to honor my son who was serving a proselyte mission for his
base of the flag pole was set in concrete and just before the concrete got too
hard and set up completely, I took some marbles and placed them in the concrete
to form the word “liberty.” I
don’t know if I really knew what the word liberty meant back then, per se; I
just knew how I felt inside when I raised the American flag.
I had deep feelings of gratitude and love for my God, family, and
country. I thought about my father
and his brother, sons of immigrants both highly decorated, who fought in World
War II. I thought of our founding
fathers and all those who pioneered this great nation.
I am confident many of you have had similar feelings.
day about three years ago, while walking out to my barn to feed the animals, I
stopped and turned around to look at the flag pole.
I recalled the word liberty at the base.
I said the words liberty and freedom to myself.
Then the thought occurred to me that the meaning of the words must be
different otherwise they would not be separated by the word “and.”
So, I began to study since I did not know the difference.
My studies, however, did not begin without some prior basic
years earlier I had come to the knowledge of the great importance of the
Declaration of Independence. My
original inquiry to study the founding documents of the nation was motivated by
my government’s constant attack on my religious beliefs, in particular the
moral issues and the government’s almost total embracement of democratic
socialism. Prior to my studies I
used to tell myself that there has to be a way using the founding documents of
this nation to articulate the Christian principles this nation was founded upon,
because, after all, I couldn’t just go around saying that Jesus said so.
That certainly would not get me very far.
So, I began to study, read, and listen to everything I could get my hands
first big breakthrough as far as understanding the proper role of government and
defending the Christian principles this nation was founded upon -- using a
founding document -- was the Declaration of Independence.
Let me share with you a few concepts.
I will be brief because the Declaration is not exactly my focus today.
main “key” for me was the phrase in the Declaration that the
colonies--thirteen separate nations--would be guided by “the Laws of Nature
and of Nature’s God.” Well, what
did that mean?
to William Blackstone, John Locke, the founding fathers, and others, it meant
that these separate nations would be guided by the laws of nature--the holy
scriptures--in particular the Ten Commandments and the revealed word of God.
From that perspective it became quite easy to defend the Christian
principles and why democratic socialism is so devastating to our form of
government. For example, concerning
the redistribution of wealth through the taxing process (socialism), what is it
about stealing and coveting that one does not understand?
I also learned that the founders appealed “to the
Supreme Judge of the world for the rectitude of our [their] intentions.”
Rectitude means righteousness. When
speaking about freedom, we learn that there are two kinds.
False freedom is to do as we please with disregard for God’s law, and
the true freedom to do as we “ought.” This
was a very important concept to learn. I
realized now that it did not matter what the majority or the minority wanted;
any law that violated God’s law was unconstitutional and this, then, (God’s
law) would be the tempering influence on a pure democracy.
Incidentally, we are not a democracy but a republic based upon the rule
of law. What law?
Finally, the Declaration reminds all of us that “We hold
these truths to be self-evident.” Self-evident
does not always mean obvious. But
when truths are presented within their proper context all of a sudden we have
one of those “ah ha” moments.
At the time and for some years to come, this alone would
be sufficient for me as far as my understanding of the proper role of government
and the Christian principles this nation was founded upon.
Later down the road and during this time period, I set my mind on
studying the Constitution and memorizing in part some of the founding fathers’
great speeches, including the Constitution’s Preamble and Patrick Henry’s
famous “Give Me Liberty Or Give Me Death” speech.
Thus, I gained deep familiarity with the word liberty during my
memorization exercises. Also, as I
became older, my focus had changed. I
was no longer interested, per se, in winning the cultural war, but more
interested in bringing people to Christ. So,
I was delighted to learn how close the founders had come to biblical principles
in writing these inspired documents while still allowing the people of this
great nation the freedom to choose within certain guidelines; i.e. the Ten
And, finally, the other thought that occurred to me that
day while looking at the flag pole was this; could there be a link to the
Constitution itself and to the moral issues, in particular the Ten Commandments,
like the one I had found using the Declaration of Independence?
Certainly if this could be pointed out, we would now have two founding
documents, two witnesses, created by our founders and under the inspiration of
our Creator that could and would address every issue
For example, just using the Constitution itself without
having the blessings of the Declaration of Independence as
As I began my study on the difference between liberty and
freedom, my heart and mind were opened to an aspect of the gospel of Jesus
Christ and the Constitution of the
Speaking of the Christian principles this nation was founded upon, John Adams wrote in a letter to Thomas Jefferson dated June 28, 1813. He said,
This quote about the Christian principles this nation was
founded upon is just one of many. The
point is that this nation was founded upon eternal principles--gospel
principles. Therefore, if I was
looking for an understanding of the word liberty, where would be the most
obvious place to look? Would it not
be the Bible?
In the scriptures we find thirty-seven quotes related to
liberty, and we learn some very fundamental truths as we study these in context.
But, for this presentation, I will only mention a few.
declared, “Where the
Spirit of the Lord is, there is
The work[s] of the gospel in connection to the word
liberty as mentioned in James 1:25 are the commandments of God, all of them
“being not a forgetful hearer but a doer of the work” – a doer in keeping
the commandments. In short, from
these scriptures we learn that liberty is adherence to gospel principles
(natural law) and the perfect law of liberty is the gospel of
Jesus Christ. Free power of choice
(perfect liberty) is found only where there is adherence to gospel
principles. The perfect law
of liberty is keeping all the commandments of God not because someone is there
to compel us to do what is right but because it is the right thing to do.
Why? Because of our love for
God and our fellowman. With this
understanding in its proper context, we now can see that the founding fathers of
this great nation in drafting both the Declaration of Independence and the
Constitution of the United States, stood as close to natural law (God’s law)
as mere mortals could possibly place it -- thus, the word liberty in the
Preamble of the Constitution and not the word freedom.
An exception to the perfection of these documents was the compromise
around the slavery question.
Now there are four components that make up liberty.
Let me explain it to you this way. Picture
in your mind’s eye a bouquet of flowers. In
this arrangement of flowers we have four different kinds of flowers.
We have a rose, a carnation, a daisy, and an iris.
We put this beautiful arrangement of flowers in a vase, and we produce a
“gift” that can be enjoyed personally, shared with others, or both.
Now, instead of using the word “bouquet,” let us use
the word “agency.” Agency
includes the philosophy of opposites. Let
us replace the names of the four flowers with the four names of eternal
principles called freedom, knowledge, law, and opposition.
Collectively put all these principles in a vase and the gift becomes the
gift of liberty. The profound
conclusion of the gift, if one follows the Spirit, leads to the greatest gift of
all the gifts of God -- the gift of Eternal Life.
Each of these four principles is a sermon in and of itself, but let us
keep our focus.
we look at the moral issues and democratic socialism, I am reminded of what the
Apostle Paul counseled. He said,
“Stand fast therefore in the liberty wherewith Christ hath made us free and be
not entangled again with the yoke of bondage.”
(Gal. 5:1) It is apparent the
whole world is embracing democratic socialism and communism with the spin off
that more and more people are caught up with secularism and atheism.
Is that not bondage? Does not
socialism (the redistribution of wealth) attack and destroy the Christian
principles this nation was founded upon? Does
not socialism destroy liberty?
is why we send missionaries out all over the world.
This is the divine destiny of the
why is all this so important and how does it apply to the Constitution?
I would like to set up my remarks this way.
In his book Making Our Democracy Work: A Judge’s View, Justice
Stephen Breyer of the United States Supreme Court stated that the problem with
the United States Constitution is that the word liberty is “not define[d].”
He went on to say that the Constitution is a living document and its
“application” changes “as circumstances change.”
the word liberty is used in the Preamble of the Constitution it is important to
mention that many experts such as Justice Breyer feel that the Preamble has no
bearing on what the Constitution means or what it does not mean.
The truth of the matter, exhibited by overwhelming historical evidence,
is that both concepts could not be further from the truth.
If Justice Breyer were here today I would humbly and respectfully answer
Preamble of the Constitution states the purpose of the
Constitution. The reason the
Constitution does not define liberty is because the purpose of the Constitution
was to protect liberty. The
reason the word liberty is not defined in the Constitution is because it was
already defined by our Creator. I
would also suggest to the Justice how are we, as a nation, going “to form a
more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for
the common defence, [and] promote the general Welfare” without liberty --
without adherence to gospel principles? This
is why John Adams said, “Our Constitution was made only for a moral and
So, to be perfectly clear, why is abortion wrong?
Why is same-sex marriage wrong? Why
is pornography wrong? Why are
bail-outs and our current immigration policies wrong?
Why are socialism and communism wrong?
Because all these issues destroy liberty.
As we look at any piece of legislation as to what is constitutional or
what is not constitutional, ask yourself this simple question.
Does this law promote liberty or does it destroy liberty?
Does it promote adherence to gospel principles or does it destroy gospel
principles? The reason we had laws
against abortion and pornography, for example, was to remind every generation
that some things are just wrong – i.e., “and secure the Blessings of Liberty
to ourselves and our Posterity,” posterity meaning to every
Now I would like to stop here and point out the obvious.
I would humbly and respectfully tell the audience that I have just
instructed them in religion, morality, and knowledge according to the Northwest
Ordinance of 1787. These principles
were to be taught in our schools and territories.
Did I say anything about the Jews? Did
I say anything about the Baptists, the Catholics, or the Latter-day Saints?
I did not. Can you imagine if
these principles were taught in our schools today?
It would set the hearts of the youth on fire.
Have you ever considered what is being taught and how it is being taught
as the fundamental problem for all our ills in
It is a known fact that there is nothing worse in trying
to solve a problem if one does not understand the nature of the problem.
The low standards we see in America today--the constant
attack on our liberty and freedom, the national debt, the out-of-control welfare
state, abortion, pornography, same-sex marriage, the bail-outs, our current
immigration policies, and the breakdown of the family--are all symptoms of a
disease. The disease is socialism
and her twin sister communism. Socialism
manifests itself in many ways but primarily begins when personal responsibility
and accountability are removed from the citizenry.
The more a nation embraces socialism the more secular and godless that
nation becomes. For years the
politicians have been promising the American people great things at their own
expense. In exchange for these
promises, too many to mention, the politicians receive honor, prestige, and
security in their present positions and almost never deliver what was promised.
So, to summarize, liberty by definition is adherence to
gospel principles--adherence to natural law.
For example, what is it among others about lying, stealing, and murder
you do not understand? The perfect
law of liberty is the gospel of Jesus Christ.
Agency and its first cousin, freedom, is how we exercise our liberty, and
the principle is this--we never, never, use our freedom to destroy
liberty. We never use our
freedom to destroy adherence to God’s law--thus, not the freedom to do
whatever we want, but what we “ought” to be doing.
The work[s] the Apostle James talks about in the scriptures are the
commandments of God--all of them -- being not a forgetful hearer but a doer of
the work (keeping God’s commandments). The
purpose of the Constitution was to protect liberty--to secure the
blessings (our rights) to adhere to gospel principles which, if followed with
sincerity because of love, will bring individuals, communities, and nations to
Jesus Christ. But it is your choice!
This is the divine destiny of
If all our efforts to save the Constitution should
ultimately prove unsuccessful, it is crucial that a sufficient number of
citizens be prepared to help rebuild
The Almighty inspired our forefathers to give birth to
this nation and guide it through infancy. He
can and will inspire others to reclaim
Only when the members of a society share an abiding faith
in God, which includes honoring and sustaining the rule of law, can we become
brethren. George Washington said
that the blessings of heaven “can never be expected on a nation that
disregards the eternal rule of order and right which Heaven itself has
In closing, it has been estimated that less than 1% of the
human family in the last 6,000 years has enjoyed the type of freedom we have had
we wish to be free we must fight. An
appeal to arms and the God of Hosts is all that is left us.
They tell us, Sir, that we are weak, unable to cope with so formidable an
adversary but when shall we be stronger?
Shall we gather strength by irresolution and inaction?
Millions of people armed in the holy cause of liberty are invincible by
any force which our enemies can send against us.
Besides, Sir, we shall not fight our battles
alone. There is a just God
who presides over the destiny of nations. There
is no retreat except in submission and slavery.
The war is inevitable--then let it come.
I repeat, Sir, let it come. Gentlemen
may cry peace, peace. But there is
no peace. The war has actually
begun. Our brethren are already in
the field. Why stand we here idle?
What is it that gentlemen wish? What
would they have? Is life so dear or
peace so sweet as to be purchased at the price of chains and slavery?
Forbid it Almighty God! I
know not what course others may take, but as for me -- give me liberty or give
Patrick Henry’s speech united that body of men, and
And so, my friends, after 200 years I once again ask the
question, “Why stand we here idle?” Is
life so dear or peace so sweet as to be purchased at the price of chains and
slavery, politically or spiritually? With
the thunder of Patrick Henry, may we individually and collectively raise our
voices to the heavens and say, Father, give us liberty or give us death!
I believe the
Page posted by SDA
July 31, 2012