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Divine Institutions, Divine Establishment, Authority, Freedom, and Ministry.


An Independence Day study of divine institutions.

An Independence Day Message 

  • "If therefore the Son shall make you free, you shall be free indeed (John 8.36).
  • "For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has set you free from the law of sin and of death" (Romans 8:2).
  • "I am apt to believe that [this day] will be celebrated by succeeding generations as the 'Day of Deliverance' by solemn acts of devotion to God Almighty!" (John Adams, July 4th, 1776).
  • "The constitutions of most of our States assert that all power is inherent in the people; is their right and duty to be at all times armed." (Thomas Jefferson)
  • "Tell me what are the prevailing sentiments that occupy the minds of your young peoples, and I will tell you what is to be the character of the next generation." (Edmund Burke)
  • "I conceive that we cannot better express ourselves than by humbly supplicating the Supreme Ruler of the world….that the confusions that are and have been among the nations may be overruled by promoting and speedily bringing on that holy and happy period when the kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ may be everywhere established, and all people everywhere willingly bow to the scepter of Him who is the Prince of Peace." (Samuel Adams, March 20, 1797)
  • "The rub is that the pursuit of happiness, as an end in itself, tends automatically, and widely, to be replaced by the pursuit of pleasure with a consequent general softening of the fibers of will, intelligence, spirit." (Whittaker Chambers)
  • Definitions
  • Divine institutions are the most basic practices or customs (institutions) that God (divine) set up for the human race (believer and unbeliever) in order to protect them, preserve them, and allow them to enjoy blessings on earth. The four divine institutions are volition or liberty (Genesis 2.16-17; John 7.17); marriage (Genesis 2.18-25; Colossians 3.18-19); family—the basic social group (Genesis 4.1-2; Ephesians 6.1-4); and nationalism—the larger unit with a cohesive and distinct culture (Genesis 10.32-11.9; Acts 17.26-27).
  • Divine establishment for civilizations refers to God’s (divine) rules (establishment) that apply within each divine institution to all the areas of society and to all people. These include authority; liberty; morality; justice; internal and external security; ownership of private property, the right to accumulate wealth, and proper taxation; responsibility; and helpfulness to your neighbor. Divine establishment for civilizations is the subject of many Scriptures (Matthew 22.21; Romans 13.1-10; 1 Timothy 2.1-3; 1 Peter 2.13-17; Proverbs 3.27-35; Proverbs 13.22; Proverbs 20.18; and Proverbs 24.21-22 are a few examples).
  • God authorized the divine institutions and the divine establishment for civilizations during the beginning and early development of human civilization; they apply throughout human history.
  • People obey and apply the divine institutions and the divine establishment rules through first knowing them, then by making decisions to obey them. The decisions work with human responsibility and self-discipline in response to divine authority and legal delegated human authority.
  • Spiritual freedom is the God given freedom to live in fellowship with the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit; it is freedom from divine condemnation and freedom to serve God through the power of the Holy Spirit following Bible doctrine. Spiritual freedom is based on the cross and the Word of God.
  • Human freedom is the right to think, to live, to work, to accumulate wealth, to own private property, to accept or reject God, to have human relationships—all according to individual choice. Human freedom is based on the sword, on truth, and on morality. God is the source of human freedom.
  •  Principles and Key Words from 1 Peter 2.13-17
  • Submission is the placing of yourself under the authority of another. Submission results in obedience. Correct submission requires humility. Submission is authority orientation. Believers first submit to God, then to the proper authorities (1 Peter 2.13).
  • Authority is the right to rule and make decisions. God has instituted authority in order to 1) protect free will, 2) protect the human race from self destruction, 3) give order to life, 4) maintain peace, 5) allow the gospel and doctrine to spread and influence people, and 6) to support the believers’ witness by their authority orientation in a rebellious world. God is the absolute authority. He has expressed his authority in His written Word and in the living Word (1 Peter 2.13-15).
  • Spiritual freedom is the possession of every church age believer. He has freedom in Christ to live apart from the regulations of the Mosaic Law, the anti-biblical laws of a society, the imposed religious rules of society, and the rules and taboos of other believers insofar as living this way does not violate church age Scripture (1 Peter 2.16).
  • A Covering is something behind which a person hides and then uses as an excuse or rationale for living a certain way that is in fact wrong. When we use freedom or liberty in Christ or freedom from the Mosaic Law or freedom from taboos as an excuse to be self centered, to think mental attitude sins, to refuse to help other believers, we are using that freedom as a covering for evil (1 Peter 2.16).
  • A bondslave is a person under the absolute authority of another. The slave is under obligation to the master and is responsible to the master. The word "servant" is an incorrect translation. Each believer is God's slave. We are under his authority and his protection. God’s authority and protection is higher that human authority and protection. God’s bondslave possesses the greatest freedom in life (1 Peter 2.16).
  • God's authority establishes freedom, freedom requires responsibility, responsibility protects freedom and restrains authority (1 Peter 2.13,15,16,17).
  • God wants believers to honor or respect all people because He created each in His image. He gave free will and self-determination to each in order to protect authority, freedom, and responsibility, and to guard order in life. Respect is the moral way to treat others; respect helps our witness (1 Peter 2.17).
  • God wants believers to love the brotherhood (the community of believers, the members of the faith) with divine love, a love produced by the Holy Spirit and instructed by Bible doctrine, regardless of the object’s merit or demerit. This is Christian camaraderie (1 Peter 2.17).
  • God wants us to fear Him, to think of Him with reverential respect, a sense of awe. The fear of the Lord or fear of God in believers is a learned volitional faith commitment to God (1 Peter 2.17).
  • God wants believers to honor the office of king, the constitution, or the highest authority in the land even if the person who is king at the time is dishonorable. This is the basis for authority, freedom, responsibility, and order (1 Peter 2.17).
  •  What is Most Important for the Believer Today?
  • The daily spiritual plan of God for church age believers sets our priorities. We concentrate here no matter what our income earning job may be. This plan includes our mission—to witness and to teach the Word (Matthew 28.19-20), our preparation—to equip the saints (Ephesians 4.11-12), our spiritual environment—to live in divine love (Ephesians 5.2), and our practice—to learn the Word, think on the Word, apply the Word (James 1.21-25), to apply the basics of the Christian life (2 Peter 1.3), to stand firm (Philippians 3.1), to walk consistently (1 Thessalonians 2.12), and to run for the goal (1 Corinthians 9.24)—Philippians 4.9 summarizes our practice.
  • The mission priority for believers is to give the world the only answer that will help it—the gospel to the unbeliever and Bible doctrine to believers. Matthew 28.19-20 summarizes this ministry for the inter-advent period.
  • Believers ought to be involved in the help and service to others and to their nation but social and political involvement must not distract us from living the daily spiritual plan of God; this involvement must not cloud, compromise, or replace the mission priority. (Galatians 6.10).