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Some Thoughts on Spiritual Freedom

2 Corinthians 3:17 “Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom.”

As we come up to Palm Sunday and Easter, I think it is beneficial for us to scripturally consider the undertones of what the resurrection of Jesus Christ is proclaiming. What did His death and resurrection actually accomplish? What appears to be a loss to His disciples is later proclaimed by them as their gain! One of the dominant motifs throughout the epistles (letters to the churches) was that Jesus’ death brought about freedom for His People. He voluntarily gave up His glory, riches, even His freedom, to be subjected to God the Father’s Will for Him to be the perfect, substitutionary atoning sacrifice (meaning that He took our place in receiving God’s wrath in order to purchase our freedom. He bought us out of our slavery to sin, (Romans 6) and adopted us as His children into an eternal, spiritual family! (Eph 1:5)

What did Jesus give up to attain this? Philippians 2 explains, “(Christ Jesus), 6 Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be grasped, 7 but made himself nothing, taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness. 8 And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself and became obedient to death— even death on a cross! 9 Therefore God exalted him to the highest place and gave him the name that is above every name…” From the highest, to the lowest, in order to obtain the highest for us – and even a greater glory for Him!

Paul puts it to the Corinthians in a fascinating way, “For you know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though he was rich, yet for your sakes he became poor, so that you through his poverty might become rich.” (2 Corinthians 8:9)

Galatians 4 has a fascinating analogy to describe this covenantal transaction. Hagar and Sarah are metaphorical mothers in this case. Hagar represents those who initially seem to be the most blessed, because she bore a child sooner, but he was born “into slavery”. Sarah, who was initially shamed because she was barren, miraculously gave birth to a son, born “into freedom”. Speaking to a largely Gentile church, Paul describes them as being born of the free woman, because they are born into the New Covenant of Promise (by faith), while those choosing to remain in the Old Covenant (mostly Jewish) are actually the children of Hagar, the slave woman, and thus remain as slaves! 31 “Therefore, brothers, we are not children of the slave woman, but of the free woman. 5:1 It is for freedom that Christ has set us free. Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery.”

This freedom that is purchased for all who will believe in our Redeemer, is not only a gracious gift from God, but a mentality, a new state of existence that we must live up to! If we are freed to be free, then we have to take care not to go back to our old slave masters of sin, addictions, even the Old Covenant! The apostle Peter writes, 1 Peter 2:16 “Live as free men, but do not use your freedom as a cover-up for evil; live as servants of God.” Paul agrees: Galatians 5:13 “You, my brothers, were called to be free. But do not use your freedom to indulge the sinful nature; rather, serve one another in love.” We are given the tremendous freedom to serve a new Master; one who’s “yolk is easy and burden is light”. (Jesus’ words in Matthew 11:30) If we’re not careful, we too can fall back to our old ways, preferring the life that we know all too well instead of the life that is promised! If you wish to go deeper (and I hope you do), Colossians 2-3 is a case-study on ALL that we have been freed from (even the Law and it’s regulations), and yet there is still the human propensity to go back under all those things.

Hebrews also expounds on the New Covenant against the Old, and how the New Covenant is better in every way! So how do we live under the New Covenant of Freedom? We “set our hearts and minds on things above, not on earthly things” (Colossians 3:1-2), moving forward based upon His Word, His Spirit, and His promises! What does that look like? Pastor Chuck Swindoll recently gave an illustration of how “risk-averse” we are, by contrasting the modern mentality against the examples of our heroes in scripture. Moses clearly didn’t “listen to his mom by not playing with matches” and “avoiding burning bushes he sees in the desert”! Mary didn’t seek to avoid the risk involved with bearing the Son of God! Jesus Himself chose the path of the Cross, and clearly indicates that to follow Him involves a life willing to go down the same path!

How well does this reflect upon our own daily choices? It certainly is easier writing this out behind a screen, then going out and sharing these awesome revelations on freedom, face to face! Yet as we close – let us consider that we serve a God whose intention is to bring His whole world under His Reign! Romans 8:20 “For the creation was subjected to frustration, not by its own choice, but by the will of the one who subjected it, in hope 21 that the creation itself will be liberated from its bondage to decay and brought into the glorious freedom of the children of God.” May we learn to be involved in God’s own Redeeming Plan, in how we proclaim the freedom we receive from the death of Jesus Christ!


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