The roots of liberty and prosperity
We live in a time when a growing number of people are feeling insecure about their personal liberty and prosperity. At the same time, there is confusion about why this insecurity exists, and what to do about it. This presents us with a need to understand what the roots of liberty and prosperity actually are.
God made it clear from the beginning that He intended all who are made in His image to lead productive lives, cultivating the raw material of this world for good. He commanded that we be fruitful and multiply, and that we would take dominion over this earth and develop it.
The fulfillment of this call requires diligent, creative, and patient labor.
With the entrance of sin in this world, this task of dominion became difficult. There are thorns and thistles to contend with, and we labor by the sweat of our brow.
But the reality of sin also brought something else. It brought the need for protection from those who refuse to be faithful and productive themselves — and this led to the institution of civil government.
The God-given role for civil government is a limited one. It is to serve as a “minister of justice.” It is not to be a provider of material welfare, but to provide protection so that the people can pursue life, liberty, and happiness within their own distinct callings. This is why, for example, we have laws against stealing.
There is one threat, however, that the civil government cannot protect us from. That threat is covetousness.
Covetousness can lead us all to do many foolish things. One of these is to live beyond our means, and unwisely take on heavy debt, all because we do not have contentment and the patience needed to store up real wealth over time.
Yet, there is a much more serious folly that covetousness can lead us to. And that is to embrace government policies that maintain the illusion of prosperity by unjust means.
Our civil leaders, from both major parties, have supported the illusion that riches can be realized without productive labor by means of inflation, excessive taxation, deficit spending, and the redistribution of wealth. In our hearts we know this is folly. Not only does it strip the value of what we have, but it takes what’s left and transfers it unjustly from the productive to the unproductive.
Ultimately, this illusion will be shattered by reality, because God’s economic laws cannot be suspended any more than the law of gravity can be suspended.
So, what do we do?
We need to grow in understanding. People perish for the lack of knowledge. So, learn about debt, inflation, and excessive taxation, and how these destroyers bring misery to nations who practice them.
Also, we need to recover the roots of prosperity and liberty. Faithful labor, honest money, limited and just government, and personal responsibility before God are the indispensable means to freedom and wealth. Without them, there’s poverty and slavery.
But more than anything else, we need to welcome God’s righteous rule over all things.
A few days ago, many of us celebrated the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead. This historical reality not only secured eternal life for those who trust Him, but it also showed forth that He is Lord over every authority and area of life – even politics and economics.
Not only that, it declared that He is making all things new.
May it be that He is doing a new thing in our day, opening the eyes of many to the wisdom of His ways, so that liberty and prosperity would be enjoyed by all who desire to obey Him.