Religious liberty or religious freedom is a principle that supports the freedom of an individual or community, in public or private, to manifest religion or belief in teaching, practice, worship and observance without government influence or intervention.
Is God for or against religious liberty?
Lets look at a few examples from Scripture.
And a ruler asked him, “Good Teacher, what must I do to inherit eternal life?” And Jesus said to him, “Why do you call me good? No one is good except God alone. You know the commandments: ‘Do not commit adultery, Do not murder, Do not steal, Do not bear false witness, Honor your father and mother.’” And he said, “All these I have kept from my youth.” When Jesus heard this, he said to him, “One thing you still lack. Sell all that you have and distribute to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, follow me.” – Luke 18:18-22
Jesus lays out some commands and says, come, follow me. He didn’t force the young ruler to walk with Him. He gave him the option to worship money or Himself.
Therefore, we are ambassadors for Christ, God making his appeal through us. We implore you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God. – 2 Corinthians 5:20
Paul, speaking to the unbelievers in the church at Corinth, was “persuading others” (2 Corinthians 5:11) to be reconciled to God. No compulsion. No coercion. But rather, an appeal to come to faith in God.
In light of God’s view of religious liberty for all people, let’s look at 3 practical applications for believers.
1. Praise God for religious liberty.
Let us praise God for religious liberties. May we use our religious liberty as Christians to cling not to comfort and complacency that liberty can bring but let us cling to the cross of Christ. Religious liberty allows Christians to freely proclaim the gospel, without the imminent fear of persecution.
2. Pray to God for religious liberty.
Let us pray to God for nations to pursue religious liberties for it’s people. Where religious liberty is not practiced, Christians face many forms of persecution, including but not limited to, arrests, imprisonment, torture, and death. Let us pray for those who are persecuted to be steadfast in their faith and hold fast to Jesus.
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Any country where religious liberty isn’t upheld, people of other faiths face persecution as well. As Christians, let us not overlook those who worship other gods. As we pray for religious liberty, we fight for all peoples to have the freedom to worship as they desire.
3. Use religious liberty to bring glory to God.
As a Christian in America, let us use our religious liberty to bring glory to God. Religious liberty means someone may choose to follow Jesus, Allah, the sun gods, or any other god someone may choose to worship.
While we fight for religious liberty for all people to worship freely, it should compel us and free us to share the gospel in hopes that we may persuade others and implore others to be reconciled to the one true God, just as Paul stated. But whether religious liberty exists or not, God’s promises will never fail. All of God’s faithful will hold to Jesus until the end.
And in the end, every knee will bow and every tongue will confess to God. Until then, let’s fight for religious liberties for all peoples. And as ambassadors for Christ, let’s lead people to hear Jesus in His word saying, “Come, follow me.“