“Now the Lord is that Spirit: and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty” (2 Corinthians 3:17)
In the previous devotion, Liberty Part I, we looked at the liberty, the freedom, we receive when we receive the New Birth, the indwelling of the Spirit of Christ. When Christ lives in us, we are free. Today, we ask the question, “Free from what?”
Paul has answered our question:
- “Free from the law of sin and death” (Romans 8:2). You now have been raised from the dead to walk in the newness of life (Romans 6:4). You are not ruled by the flesh (where sin dwells). You are not in spiritual death; for now you know of your redemption in Christ. (See Hebrews 2:14; Ephesians 1:7; Colossians 1:13-16; Romans 8:15; Galatians 4:5-6.)
- You are no longer under the yoke of bondage of the law. (See Galatians 5:1-12; 2:4.)
- You have been “called unto liberty” (Galatians 5:13). You have been liberated in Christ. You are no longer bound to the restrictions of the Ceremonial Law of the Old Testament; as to the way of worship, access to God through sacrifices, and the Aaronic Priesthood. Christ has fulfilled all the law. And now the Spirit of Christ has given us a new nature; made us a new creation; given us a new will to follow after righteousness. He has called us to holiness and peace (2 Timothy 1:8-10); and set us free in His Reconciliation, Redemption, and Justification for us (2 Corinthians 5:21; Romans 3:19-25; 5:1-21). We are free from the curse of the law in Christ’s Atonement for us, as He satisfied God on our behalf (Isaiah 53:1-12).
- See Galatians 3:13-14, verse 14: “That the blessing of Abraham might come on the Gentiles through Jesus Christ; that we might receive the promise of the Spirit through faith.”
- Read Galatians 3:18-29, especially verse 27, “For as many of you as have been baptized into Christ (not by water baptism, but by Spirit baptism; 1 Corinthians 12:13) have put on Christ.”
This liberty has brought us to where Christ is (John 14:3; 17:21-24); and that is to see our oneness in Christ, as we behold the Glory of God. This is the place that we were afore prepared to be, both Jew and Gentile, who are elected to be vessels of honor (Romans 9:23-24).
This is exactly what Paul ends 2 Corinthians 3:18 with:
“But we all, with open face (or an unveiled face) beholding as in a glass (a mirror) the glory of the Lord…”
As this happens, note the results: “…are changed…” This literally means, “are being changed.” The Greek word means “to change into another form.” See Matthew 17:2, as Christ was transfigured with divine brightness; “metamorphoō”; meta, with, and “morphosis”, a form or outline. So we that are born again, regenerated, indwelt by the Holy Spirit; we are transformed into the same image; the image of the glory, or honor, or excellence, that shines in Christ: “…into the same image from glory to glory, even as by the Spirit of the Lord (or of the Lord the Spirit).”
That is, as we are beholding His Glory (John 17:21-24), the Spirit (or Christ Himself) is changing (or transforming) our mind (or giving us knowledge); whereby we are changed, or made to resemble Him in our spirit. This is called Glorification (Romans 8:29-30). We (our spirits) are to be made to resemble Him, because we are new creatures in Christ (2 Corinthians 5:17). (Also see 1 John 3:1-2.) This works out in our attitude, actions, and attire. It produces holiness and peace in our mind and in our walk. It produces the Fruit of the Spirit (Galatians 5:22-23). This is our expected end (John 17:21-24; 1 John 3:2). We are to be one in Christ; one in Knowledge of our oneness in Him (preeminence, perfection, and perception); and one in His Love (in His power to perform the law of love).
However, having this liberty in Christ, to be ruled by the Holy Spirit, according to the law of love, does not give license to sin:
- See Galatians 5:13b, “…only use not liberty for an occasion to the flesh, but by love serve one another.”
- And see 1 Peter 2:16-17,
“As free, and not using your liberty for a cloke of maliciousness (ill will; desire to injure, or to break the law), but as the servants of God. Honour all men. Love the brotherhood. Fear God. Honour the king.”
- Peter said, don’t use your liberty in Christ to break the law; that is, don’t use your liberty to say you can break the law and not be ashamed.
- In Romans 6:1-2, Paul said:
“…Shall we continue in sin, that grace may abound? God forbid. How shall we, that are dead to sin (by the new birth), live any longer therein?”
- Also see Romans 3:8; 6:15.
Paul warns the child of God over and over not to misuse our liberty in Christ. (Read Romans 14:1-23; 1 Corinthians 8:1-13; 10:23, 31-33; 6:12, 19-20.)
We use our liberty in Christ not to wound, but to heal; and to bring people to see Christ living in us.