The God of [Financial] Freedom
“I am the Lord your God who brought you out of slavery.”
The God of the universe is the God of freedom. God empowers people to relinquish their shackles of slavery and take-up His gift of individual liberty.
The New Testament view of God’s Freedom:
- John 8:36 — So if the Son (Jesus) sets you free, you will be free indeed.
- 2 Corinthians 3:17 — Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom.
- Romans 6:22 — But now that you have been set free from sin and have become slaves of God, the fruit you get leads to sanctification and its end, eternal life.
- Romans 8:1–4 — There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. For the law of the Spirit of life has set you free in Christ Jesus from the law of sin and death. For God has done what the law, weakened by the flesh, could not do. By sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh and for sin, he condemned sin in the flesh, in order that the righteous requirement of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not according to the flesh but according to the Spirit.
- Romans 8:21 — That the creation itself will be set free from its bondage to corruption and obtain the freedom of the glory of the children of God.
- Galatians 5:1 — For freedom Christ has set us free; stand firm therefore, and do not submit again to a yoke of slavery.
- Galatians 5:13 — For you were called to freedom, brothers. Only do not use your freedom as an opportunity for the flesh, but through love serve one another.
- 1 Peter 2:16 — Live as people who are free, not using your freedom as a cover-up for evil, but living as servants of God.
The Law of Freedom
We tend to think of rules, laws, commands, etc. as limiters of freedom. In many cases that is true, but it depends on the source of the rules, laws, and commands.
At Mt. Sinai, just before God gave the people of Israel the 10 Commandments (Exodus 20), and the entire mosaic law found in Leviticus, Numbers, and Deuteronomy, He introduced His intentions behind the law He was about to give them:
Then God spoke all these words, saying, “I am the Lord your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of slavery. –Exodus 20:1–2
God freed the people of Israel and wanted them to stay free. Could this mean that God’s commands are the means by which people maintain their freedom?
What a paradox in today’s culture to think that rules can foster freedom and flourishing. God’s word indicates throughout scripture that only He and His instructions produce true freedom, if we will apply them. It may be appropriate in some cases to think of God’s law for conduct similar to the “laws of nature”, where God may be teaching us how He made the world to function, wanting us to observe it and participate in the way He designed it, for maximum efficiency.
However, we are broken people who cannot be perfect, therefore, we will not be able to obey God’s instructions completely in our current lives. That’s OK (if we are followers of Christ). That’s why Christ died. He lived the perfect life that we cannot, suffered the penalty that we deserve, so that we could have a relationship with God. Only perfection can be in the presence of God, but instead of God seeing only me, the flawed human being, He also sees Jesus.
This article is the beginning of a new series walking through the Mosaic Law to isolate the commands of God about finances, to teach us God’s Way for abundant flourishing.
Didn’t God specifically command His people how to manage slaves in the Old Testament?
God does instruct people how to manage slaves in the Old Testament. Deuteronomy 15:12–18 is a one of those commands. In reading God’s instructions, you will find that God always instructs masters to care for the well-being of their slaves. Furthermore, God does not want them to stay slaves, unless they choose it for themselves. There are many things that sinful people have invented that God teaches us how to deal with and overcome, including slavery, but that does not mean God himself mandated the invention.
For example, Jesus teaches God’s intent behind the law of divorce:
Matthew 19:3 Some Pharisees came to Jesus, testing Him and asking, “Is it lawful for a man to divorce his wife for any reason at all?” 4 And He answered and said, “Have you not read that He who created them from the beginning made them male and female, 5 and said, ‘For this reason a man shall leave his father and his mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh’? 6 So they are no longer two, but one flesh. Therefore, what God has joined together, no person is to separate.” 7 They said to Him, “Why, then, did Moses command to give her a certificate of divorce and send her away?” (Deuteronomy 24:1–2) 8 He said to them, “Because of your hardness of heart Moses permitted you to divorce your wives; but from the beginning it has not been this way. 9 And I say to you, whoever divorces his wife, except for sexual immorality, and marries another woman commits adultery.”
God made an exception for the rule to account for sin and people’s disobedience. Regardless of what people do though, everything God has done for His people has ushered in more freedom. Laws of men can limit freedom but God’s commands are the means by which He instructs His people to be free in the current fallen world. Our faith in God, in what He tells us He will do, is evidenced in us only by our corresponding actions. If we have faith in God, we must show it in our actions to obey His commands in every aspect of life in which He speaks. Including our finances. Therefore, to truly attain financial freedom, we MUST look to God’s Word for the instructions. God reveals financial problems that have always existed, but He also reveals the solutions.
So Jesus was saying to those Jews who had believed Him, “If you continue in My word, then you are truly My disciples; and you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.” –John 8:31–32
“If you know what’s really happening, you will know what to do.” — R. Nelson Nash (Becoming Your Own Banker pg.21)