In this paper I compare man’s claim of “inalienable rights” and “freedom” with the truth of Holy Scripture. This comparison is essential to keep the family of Christ from seduction to the philosophies of unbelieving mankind. Like the forbidden fruit in the garden, these philosophies are beautiful on the outside, but filled with Satan’s lies about the grace of God and nature of man.
Specifically man has no “inalienable rights” before God and their fellowman, outside of Christ. This lie has bred millions of hardened sinners made even worse, if possible, by the false hope of “freedom” apart from Christ as they gnash and claw each other for their “rights” on the very precipice of destruction. Courts and councils attempt to mediate the very fights they will be sentenced to continue as torment, while doctors, lawyers, professors, bankers, and judges gather wages to wallow in luxury for a few fleeting moments. Don’t you know that the worst torment of hell is that not one sinner there will ever relinquish their rights? The gnashing and clawing continues on and on and on as the unregenerate fight for the rights to their own platform of fire. Imagine a sinister, cold blooded murderer of his family receiving the death penalty in court while shaking his fist to God and man shouting, “I have my rights!” Of all sights in the world this is to be the most pitied, and apart from grace this is each of us. The claim of “rights” is an unseemly garment for sinners saved by grace.
But do we lay down our “rights” to be ruled by tyrants and ignorant men? No. Yet consider some in Nazi Germany persecuted the Jews as “Christ killers.” They believed the Jews had no rights because of their sin against Christ and so murdered them wholesale. The Bible, however, teaches us that Christ was crucified by both Jew and Gentile, all mankind. Who then is qualified to cast the first stone? Man’s fight for rights has taken the attention off of a much greater threat. Man has absolutely no rights remaining before Holy God, his wrath is burning white hot against his enemies, and it is only moments before they are sentenced to fire. Why fight for “rights” against your fellow man when the tidal wave of God’s wrath is about to fall? Get salvation! Press your plea with Jesus Christ! If you have true rights in Christ and true security for eternity what does it matter if so called “rights” are lost for a few moments in this life? Trade your "rights" for salvation!
I. No right to be first
Man’s sinful birth nature craves to be first. However, those following Christ know this is not a right. Jesus said,
24) A dispute also arose among them, which of them was considered to be greatest. 25) He said to them, "The kings of the nations lord it over them, and those who have authority over them are called 'benefactors.' 26) But not so with you. But one who is the greater among you, let him become as the younger, and one who is governing, as one who serves. 27) For who is greater, one who sits at the table, or one who serves? Isn't it he who sits at the table? But I am among you as one who serves.Luke 22:24-27 (WEB)
II. No right to sue others in a court of law
Man’s sinful birth nature defends his rights using words, weapons, and whatever is needed to protect one’s self from attack. However, those following Christ know that this is not a right. Paul teaches,
Therefore it is already altogether a defect in you, that you have lawsuits one with another. Why not rather be wronged? Why not rather be defrauded?1 Corinthians 6:7 (WEB)
III. No right to claim freedom except through Jesus Christ
Man’s sinful birth nature believes he is free to do as he pleases and that he deserves this freedom. However, those following Christ have confessed their bondage to sin and received the right to become sons of God. Jesus confronts,
30) As he spoke these things, many believed in him. 31) Jesus therefore said to those Jews who had believed him, "If you remain in my word, then you are truly my disciples. 32) You will know the truth, and the truth will make you free."33) They answered him, "We are Abraham's offspring, and have never been in bondage to anyone. How do you say, 'You will be made free'?"
34) Jesus answered them, "Most certainly I tell you, everyone who commits sin is the bondservant of sin. 35) A bondservant doesn't live in the house forever. A son remains forever. 36) If therefore the Son makes you free, you will be free indeed."John 8:30-36 (WEB)
IV. No right to pray
Strangely some would petition their government for the right to pray. Jesus, however, makes it plain that prayer from the heart can be neither approved or prevented by governments of men,
9) He spoke also this parable to certain people who were convinced of their own righteousness, and who despised all others. 10) "Two men went up into the temple to pray; one was a Pharisee, and the other was a tax collector. 11) The Pharisee stood and prayed to himself like this: 'God, I thank you that I am not like the rest of men, extortionists, unrighteous, adulterers, or even like this tax collector. 12) I fast twice a week. I give tithes of all that I get.' 13) But the tax collector, standing far away, wouldn't even lift up his eyes to heaven, but beat his breast, saying, 'God, be merciful to me, a sinner!' 14) I tell you, this man went down to his house justified rather than the other; for everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, but he who humbles himself will be exalted."Luke 18:9-14 (WEB)
V. No right to blessing
Man’s sinful birth nature blesses himself with every effort. However, those following Christ know that blessing cannot be obtained by effort but is granted as a gift from Christ. Paul teaches in Romans,
1) What then will we say that Abraham, our forefather, has found according to the flesh? 2) For if Abraham was justified by works, he has something to boast about, but not toward God. 3) For what does the Scripture say? "Abraham believed God, and it was accounted to him for righteousness." 4) Now to him who works, the reward is not counted as grace, but as something owed. 5) But to him who doesn't work, but believes in him who justifies the ungodly, his faith is accounted for righteousness. 6) Even as David also pronounces blessing on the man to whom God counts righteousness apart from works,
7) "Blessed are they whose iniquities are forgiven, whose sins are covered. 8) Blessed is the man whom the Lord will by no means charge with sin."Romans 4:1-8 (WEB)
VI. No right to serve
Man’s sinful birth nature presumes that at least he has the right to work. However, those following Christ know that opportunity to serve is also from the grace of God. Jesus said,
7) But who is there among you, having a servant plowing or keeping sheep, that will say when he comes in from the field, 'Come immediately and sit down at the table,' 8) and will not rather tell him, 'Prepare my supper, clothe yourself properly, and serve me, while I eat and drink. Afterward you shall eat and drink'? 9) Does he thank that servant because he did the things that were commanded? I think not. 10) Even so you also, when you have done all the things that are commanded you, say, 'We are unworthy servants. We have done our duty.' "Luke 17:7-10 (WEB)
VII. No right to repent
Man’s sinful birth nature also imagines that he can come to God in repentance on the day of his own choosing. However, those following Christ know that God is not obligated in the least to give even one more moment of opportunity for repentance before executing judgment and more importantly that man does not even have the ability to leave sin without the kindness of God’s grace. Paul preaches,
1) Therefore you are without excuse, O man, whoever you are who judge. For in that which you judge another, you condemn yourself. For you who judge practice the same things. 2) We know that the judgment of God is according to truth against those who practice such things. 3) Do you think this, O man who judges those who practice such things, and do the same, that you will escape the judgment of God? 4) Or do you despise the riches of his goodness, forbearance, and patience, not knowing that the goodness of God leads you to repentance? 5) But according to your hardness and unrepentant heart you are treasuring up for yourself wrath in the day of wrath, revelation, and of the righteous judgment of God; 6) who "will pay back to everyone according to their works:" 7) to those who by perseverance in well-doing seek for glory, honor, and incorruptibility, eternal life; 8) but to those who are self-seeking, and don't obey the truth, but obey unrighteousness, will be wrath, indignation, 9) oppression, and anguish on every soul of man who does evil, to the Jew first, and also to the Greek.Romans 2:1-9 (WEB)
VIII. No right to boast
Man’s sinful birth nature incessantly boasts. However, those following Christ must lay down all boasts except the boast that we have a mighty savior. Paul writes,
21) But now apart from the law, a righteousness of God has been revealed, being testified by the law and the prophets; 22) even the righteousness of God through faith in Jesus Christ to all and on all those who believe. For there is no distinction, 23) for all have sinned, and fall short of the glory of God; 24) being justified freely by his grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus; 25) whom God sent to be an atoning sacrifice, through faith in his blood, for a demonstration of his righteousness through the passing over of prior sins, in God's forbearance; 26) to demonstrate his righteousness at this present time; that he might himself be just, and the justifier of him who has faith in Jesus.
27) Where then is the boasting? It is excluded. By what kind of law? Of works? No, but by a law of faith.Romans 3:21-27 (WEB)
28) God chose the lowly things of the world, and the things that are despised, and the things that don't exist, that he might bring to nothing the things that exist, 29) that no flesh should boast before God. 30) Because of him, you are in Christ Jesus, who was made to us wisdom from God, and righteousness and sanctification, and redemption: 31) that, as it is written, "He who boasts, let him boast in the Lord."1 Corinthians 1:28-31 (WEB)
IX. No right to salvation
Man’s sinful birth nature imagines that he deserves grace or can earn grace. However, those following Christ agree with Romans,
10) As it is written, "There is no one righteous; no, not one. 11) There is no one who understands. There is no one who seeks after God. 12) They have all turned away. They have together become unprofitable. There is no one who does good, no, not so much as one." 13) "Their throat is an open tomb. With their tongues they have used deceit." "The poison of vipers is under their lips." 14) "Their mouth is full of cursing and bitterness." 15) "Their feet are swift to shed blood. 16) Destruction and misery are in their ways. 17) The way of peace, they haven't known." 18) "There is no fear of God before their eyes." 19) Now we know that whatever things the law says, it speaks to those who are under the law, that every mouth may be closed, and all the world may be brought under the judgment of God. 20) Because by the works of the law, no flesh will be justified in his sight; for through the law comes the knowledge of sin.Romans 3:10-20 (WEB)
X. No right to give offense except with the gospel
Man is an offensive rebel by birth nature. He rebels against parents, government, taxes, honor, and the good news of the gospel. However, those following Christ must remove all offense for the Lord’s sake, except the offense of the gospel.
24) When they had come to Capernaum, those who collected the didrachma coins came to Peter, and said, "Doesn't your teacher pay the didrachma?" 25 He said, "Yes."When he came into the house, Jesus anticipated him, saying, "What do you think, Simon? From whom do the kings of the earth receive toll or tribute? From their children, or from strangers?"
26) Peter said to him, "From strangers."
Jesus said to him, "Therefore the children are exempt. 27) But, lest we cause them to stumble, go to the sea, cast a hook, and take up the first fish that comes up. When you have opened its mouth, you will find a stater coin. Take that, and give it to them for me and you."Matthew 17:24-27 (WEB)
Paul, however, faithfully preached the offense of the gospel,
13) Therefore subject yourselves to every ordinance of man for the Lord's sake: whether to the king, as supreme; 14) or to governors, as sent by him for vengeance on evildoers and for praise to those who do well. 15) For this is the will of God, that by well-doing you should put to silence the ignorance of foolish men: 16) as free, and not using your freedom for a cloak of wickedness, but as bondservants of God. 17) Honor all men. Love the brotherhood. Fear God. Honor the king.1 Peter 2:13-17 (WEB)
Full rights as sons and heirs of God’s promises
Does mankind have any rights?
4) But when the fullness of the time came, God sent out his Son, born to a woman, born under the law, 5) that he might redeem those who were under the law, that we might receive the adoption of children. 6) And because you are children, God sent out the Spirit of his Son into your hearts, crying, "Abba, Father!" 7) So you are no longer a bondservant, but a son; and if a son, then an heir of God through Christ.Galatians 4:4-7 (WEB)
Believers in Jesus Christ have the full rights of the sons of God and are the heirs of all God’s promises. However, these rights are a gift of God’s grace purchased by the precious blood of Jesus Christ. Not one right possessed by man has been earned, but instead is a gift of God’s generous grace. Since this is the case let us follow the example of Jesus Christ who willingly laid down all his rights and thus was exalted above every name.
Lord help us to trust you in this way.