Tell me, ye that desire to be under the law, do ye not hear the law? For it is written, that Abraham had two sons, the one by a bondmaid, the other by a freewoman. But he who was of the bondwoman was born after the flesh; but he of the freewoman was by promise. … For it is written,
Rejoice, thou barren that bearest not; break forth and cry, thou that travailest not: for the desolate hath many more children than she which hath an husband.
Now we, brethren, as Isaac was, are the children of promise. But as then he that was born after the flesh persecuted him that was born after the Spirit, even so it is now. Nevertheless what saith the scripture? Cast out the bondwoman and her son: for the son of the bondwoman shall not be heir with the son of the freewoman. So then, brethren, we are not children of the bondwoman, but of the free.
Stand fast therefore in the liberty wherewith Christ hath made us free, and be not entangled again with the yoke of bondage. (Galatians 4:21-5:1)
All we like sheep have gone astray, every one hath turned aside into his own way: and the Lord hath laid on him the iniquity of us all. (Isaiah 53:5)
It's barely three-quarters of a century since the war in which many tens of thousands of Americans gave their lives to defeat a gaggle of world leaders collective referred to as "the dictators." Their sacrifice contributed to a resounding victory. It inaugurated more than 50 years in which the United States of America successfully championed the cause of liberty, even defying the residual heritage of lawful slavery that marred its own history in order unequivocally to bear witness to the truth that all Americans, and indeed all people of goodwill throughout the word, may, if they will, claim to be "not children of the slave but of the free."
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Though their ranks have naturally dwindled hastily in recent years, there still walk among us veterans of that epoch victory for liberty and of the fights that followed in its wake, like the cleansing of the shire in Tolkien's tale of Middle Earth. For the briefest moment it looked as if the new millennium (defined, despite the lies of our "common era," by the birth of Jesus Christ) would fulfill the promise of the sacrifice in which they accepted to play their part.
But by now a solid majority of Americans recognizes the Obama era as what it all along promised to be – a time in which Americans choose to break decisively with the course of their promising history, a time of judgment in which we "like sheep have gone astray, everyone to his own way," doing what is right in our own eyes and forsaking the goodwill of respect for right from which our nation took root.
From warring against dictatorship it seems that some of us have become a people ready to welcome the false promises of dictatorial rule, even going so far as to decry those who plainly take for granted what the evidence of our eyes and minds makes clear to us every day, as if indignantly rejecting the truth of their passive betrayal of the heritage of liberty can perfume the stinking reality of their abject surrender of that heritage.
However advertently or inadvertently he did so, in the honest precincts of our own thoughts we all know that "Hall of Fame quarterback" Steve Young accurately reflected the degradation of American leadership Obama represents when he took it for granted that Obama "as the president of the United States would speak to the nation tonight … and tell them, 'I am the dictator! I am the one that's gonna take care of everything.'"
Let's face it. In a few generations we have declined from being people who will not brook the travesty of dictatorial rule, though we die for it. We are becoming people whose indignation is reserved against those who draw attention to our quiet sufferance of its looming yoke. We have gone from being people impatient to take on the labors and challenges of freedom, to being people all too ready to grab at the worthless shillings of power-mad demagogues, who deceitfully promise to do for us what we can and must do for ourselves, by God, or let go the name of the free.
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Though even some who call themselves Christians are too double-minded to see it, the deep root of this steep decline lies in our nation's abandonment of the Christian understanding of liberty. Given the fateful era we are living through, Americans truly determined to live as Christ's disciples would do well to ponder this. Especially in this season meant to celebrate Christ's coming, we would do well to meditate upon the Apostle Paul's resounding call to stand fast in the liberty wherewith Christ has made us free. Paul draws a carefully reasoned analogy between the seemingly barren woman longing for the travail of fruitful labor, and the woman privileged to be in labor, but cast down because she does so without the promise of righteous deliverance.
The generations that fought for right in World War II and its aftermath taught their progeny that freedom is not free. It is rather for those who accept the discipline of God's endowment of right, than for those who depart from that discipline in order to bear fruit unsanctioned by the promise of God's goodwill. Therein lies the difference between liberty as the unalienable right of those adopted into bondage with God through Christ, and liberty as licentious freedom, by way of which, in the end, all humanity was, is and will forever be bonded to suffering and dismay.
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