Biblical Freedom- 2 Corinthians 3:17-18

The concept of freedom, in the New Testament, is not based upon a worldly understanding of freedom, but on the Old Testament understanding of freedom, which is exemplified through the nation of Israel. The freedom which Israel received was multi-dimensional, it was freedom from and also freedom for. Israel was set free from slavery to a cruel taskmaster (Egypt) for the purpose of serving God in loving obedience. As New Testament believers, our freedom is also multi-dimensional. We have been given freedom from and freedom for. We have been given freedom from sin (Romans 6:18), set free from a cruel taskmaster. This teaching will not focus on the freedom from aspect, but rather on the freedom for, and we will examine here the purpose for our freedom, turning to 2 Corinthians 3 to find this purpose, then to Galatians 2 for an example of how it plays out in our lives. We will examine 2 Corinthians 3:17-18 in some detail in order to understand the purpose for the freedom we have been given. In verse 17, Paul tells us that “the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is there is freedom”. The crucial question here is “what does Paul mean here by the Lord as “Spirit”, what is the function of a “spirit”? In his first letter to the Corinthians (1Corinthians 2:8-16), Paul tells us the function of the human spirit. It is the spirit in us which causes us to look for meaning and purpose in all things, it is the spirit which causes us to ask “What did that mean”? and “Why am I here and why did that happen”? By telling us here that the Lord is “the” Spirit (not “a” spirit), Paul is telling us that the Lord is the one in whom we find true meaning and purpose, that He is the one who gives true meaning and purpose to our lives. We are set free from our lifelong search for them, for we find them in Christ. Having shown us here what we are free from, he then tells us, in verse 18, what we are free for. We find first that this freedom produces a life lived with “unveiled faces”, we no longer hide behind masks but live out who and what we really are and are not ashamed of it. With the veil removed, we all now “reflect the Lord’s glory”. Everything that God created, he created for His glory, and everything reflects His glory when it does what He created it to do. This includes us, and in Christ we find what we were created to be and to do, and by being and doing what we were created to, we truly “reflect the Lord’s glory”. As we do so, we are “transformed into His likeness” (we were created to be the “likeness of God), we find our true identity and worth, we find our true meaning and purpose, and live them out to a greater degree in our lives (“with ever-increasing glory”). All of this comes only “from the Lord, who is the Spirit”. Only in the Lord do we find true freedom, freedom from the expectations of others, no longer looking to other things for our identity and sense of worth but getting them from God in Christ, and finding true meaning and purpose in and for our lives, free now to be what God has created us to be and to do what God has called us to do. In summary, then, in Christ we find freedom from our search for meaning and purpose, for we find our true meaning and purpose in Him. This sets us free from the bondage of trying to meet the expectations of others, for we no longer look to them for our worth and identity, we have found them in Christ. We are now truly free, free to be what God created us to be and do what God calls us to do, which brings with it a sense of peace, rest and security, not ashamed of what we are, but free to be who we really are. Our next post will turn to Galatians 2 and Paul’s example of this in his own life, to help us better understand exactly how all of this works.

1 Comment Biblical Psychology  //  Living with a Purpose  //  Nature of Man

One Response so far.

  1. maximo de leon says:

    Great teaching

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