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Where There is Liberty

Personal liberty is one of the foundational principles of our nation.  Our Declaration of Independence states, "We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.”  This statement recognizes liberty as a God-given right not only of United States’ citizens but also of all men.

While the government of the United States was established to protect and secure its citizens’ liberty, it was Jesus Christ who sacrificed Himself in order to give all men true liberty of the spirit.  Because of sin, all men had incurred the penalty of death, slavery to sin, and bondage to Satan (Rom. 5:12; 6:16, 23a; 1John 5:19).  Thankfully, the Son of God took on the form of man in the flesh, lived a life without sin, and died as an atoning sacrifice so that believers in Him could be freed from death and granted eternal life (Rom. 6:17-23; Phil. 2:5-8; Heb. 2:14-18; 1John 2:1-2).

The apostle Paul recognized the source of true spiritual liberty in 2Corinthians 3:17 when he wrote, "Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty.”  This is a profound statement that deserves some careful consideration.  It indicates that if we want true liberty, then we must seek the presence of the Spirit of the Lord.  Thankfully, not only can we come into the presence of the Spirit, but the Spirit will even dwell within us.  Indeed, if we belong to Christ by faithful obedience to His gospel, then the Spirit of the Lord dwells in us, and we are sons of God (Rom. 8:9-14).  Therefore, it is the sons of God who have the indwelling of the Spirit of the Lord by faith and the true spiritual liberty through Jesus the Lord.

In a practical sense, let us understand the exceeding value of the liberty we have in Christ.  This liberty exceeds all political freedoms, property ownership, or any other temporal freedom that men enjoy on earth.  The greatest value of our liberty in the Lord lies in the fact that Christ has freed us from the bondage of sin and the burden of guilt and judgment.  This liberty is spiritual in nature, but that does not mean that we cannot experience the benefits of it in this world.  Liberty in Christ not only takes away guilt and relieves us from the fear of judgment, but it also frees us from so many of the useless concerns that burden men in this world.  When we have the Spirit of the Lord, our minds become truly spiritual so that we simply do not care about whether we have the best things money can buy, the highest prestige the world can offer, or the greatest physical pleasures known by men.  Because God offers us blessings that are far better than any of these things, we are free from bondage to them.  Indeed, those who are at liberty in Jesus acknowledge to God, "You will make known to me the path of life; in Your presence is fullness of joy; in Your right hand there are pleasures forever” (Ps. 16:11).

The apostle Paul’s life exemplified a different aspect of liberty in the Lord through many things that he suffered.  When he endured great hardship, rather than being bound by discouragement, he said, "We are afflicted in every way, but not crushed; perplexed, but not despairing; persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed; always carrying about in the body the dying of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus also may be manifested in our body” (2Cor. 4:8-10).  Furthermore, he wrote in 2Corinthians 4:16-18:

Therefore we do not lose heart, but though our outer man is decaying, yet our inner man is being renewed day by day.  For momentary, light affliction is producing for us an eternal weight of glory far beyond all comparison, while we look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen; for the things which are seen are temporal, but the things which are not seen are eternal.

Even when Paul’s temporal liberty was taken from him, he remained free in spirit, for his faith in Christ prevented him from ever being bound to the fears and anxieties of the world.  Even when bound in chains in a Philippian jail, Paul prayed and sang hymns in the night as he enjoyed liberty in the Spirit of the Lord (Acts 16:25).

So then, neither the pleasures and pride of this life nor the fears and worries of the world will master us as long as we have the Spirit of the Lord, for "where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty.”  How liberating faith in Christ is!  If you do not have the Spirit of the Lord, then why delay any longer?  "Faith comes from hearing, and hearing by the word of Christ” (Rom. 10:17).  Hear the word of the Lord and learn to be faithful "so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith” (Eph. 3:17).  Indeed, Jesus said, "If you continue in My word, then you are truly disciples of Mine; and you will know the truth, and the truth will make you free” (John 8:31-32).  If you follow these commandments of the Scriptures, then you too will enjoy the liberty of the Spirit of the Lord.

Stacey E. Durham



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