Freedom to Choose

Joshua 24:15 tells us: “And if it seem evil unto you to serve the Lord, choose you this day whom ye will serve…” I especially like this passage as it reads in the New American Standard Version: “And if it is disagreeable in your sight to serve the Lord, choose for yourselves today whom you will serve…” Freedom of choice: individual, uncoerced, freedom of choice is a Biblical principal from the very beginning.

Of course, God wants us to find it to be most agreeable to serve him, but, He wants us to come to that conclusion freely on our own. Only the voluntary service of a heart filled with love is acceptable to Him. Anything less is mere spiritual slavery.

The work of religious freedom in the Seventh-day Adventist church has a strong foundation that was first laid at the beginning of our movement. The first article on the topic as it relates to last day events was written by John N. Andrews in 1851. In 1864, Adventists had to contend with the issue of being non-combatants during the Civil War. And, of course, no history conscience Adventist can forget the work our brethren engaged in during the 1880’s to stop the national push for Sunday laws.

In 1889, The National Religious Liberty Association (the fore runner of International Religious Liberty Association which came about in 1893) was launched.  In 1901, the General Conference of Seventh-day Adventist organized the Department of Religious Liberty. Since then, the work of religious freedom, with Adventist leading the way has spread to virtually every country on earth.

The Servant if the Lord tells us: “We are not doing the will of God if we sit in quietude, doing nothing to preserve liberty of conscience.”-5T, pg. 714. Helping to preserve an atmosphere conducive to liberty of conscience is the essence of what we do in the Religious Liberty Department. This enables more precious souls to make a decision to accept the truth as it is in Jesus out of a heart filled with love for Him for what He has done and is doing for us!

Jesus says in John 14:15: “If you love me, keep my commandments.” The Amplified Version puts it this way: “If you (really) love me, you will keep (obey) my commandments.” To be truly obedient, we must choose to love Jesus. To do that, we must have freedom to choose.

 

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