“The Lord is Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom.” (2 Corinthians 3:17)
Recently the Lord has brought my mind to rest on these words from Scripture: “…where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom.”
Freedom from the laws of sin and death.
Freedom from bondage.
Freedom to “run the ways of God’s commandments.” (NT commentary, Adam Clarke)
Freedom from fear of depression.
Freedom from crippling anxiety.
Freedom from endless cycles of discouragement and self-hatred.
Freedom from anger and resulting bitterness.
Freedom to love!
Freedom to enjoy my Savior.
I long to experience such freedom.
A great illustration of this (and many other poignant spiritual moment’s in a believer’s life!) comes from John Bunyan’s “Pilgrim’s Progress.”
PRUDENCE: Can you remember by what means you find your annoyances, at times, as if they were vanquished?
CHRISTIAN: Yes, when I think what I saw at the cross, that will do it: and when I look upon my broidered coat, that will do it; also when I look into the roll that I carry in my bosom, that will do it; and when my thoughts wax warm about whither I am going, that will do it.
As a disciple of Christ, I like the character Christian, have been set free from sin and death, transferred from a son of darkness into the kingdom of light. Scripture tells me this in Colossians 1, “He (the Father) has delivered us from the domain of darkness and transferred us to the kingdom of his beloved Son, in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins.” I am no longer a slave to sin. Instead, I am to be a slave to righteousness as Romans 6 teaches. Yet the language in that same chapter implies that there is some danger of Christians presenting our members as instruments of unrighteousness and we are advised to “let not sin therefore reign in your mortal body, to make you obey its passions.”
In other words, in Christ I am forgiven of sin and freed from it so I can live righteously. But I am very much in danger of walking in the flesh rather than the spirit. Christ is in the process of sanctifying me, or preparing me, together with the whole Bride (Church) to be presented blameless to the Father.
So here I am. And maybe you too. Living between two worlds. Firmly, and in every real and salvation-sense a slave to righteousness, but still sometimes I do the very thing I hate (sin)…(Romans 7:15). Paul describes this war in the flesh this way:
For I delight in the law of God, in my inner being, but I see in my members another law waging war against the law of my mind and making me captive to the law of sin that dwells in my members. Wretched man that I am! Who will deliver me from this body of death? Thanks be to God through Jesus Christ our Lord! So then, I myself serve the law of God with my mind, but with my flesh I serve the law of sin. – Romans 7:22-25
There are certain sins in my life that I fear and feel helpless and hopeless over, because I have struggled with them for years. Over and over they return and I wonder if I will ever really have victory…and is my victory true if it doesn’t “last”? Jealousy is squashed in one corner of my life and self-centeredness crops up in another area. I am busy with the Lord digging up a root of bitterness and stop to wipe the sweat from my brow when I recognize yet another sin in my life! I find there is no freedom in “trying harder.”
But, there is hope.
Freedom is available to Christians because we are filled with God’s spirit. But we are also invited to experience freedom in it’s wonderful fullness as we spend time with the Lord. As we are in his presence, he transforms us – “And we all, with unveiled face, beholding the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from one degree of glory to another. For this comes from the Lord who is the Spirit.” (2 Cor. 3:18) As we behold the glory of the Lord, He transforms us so that we are becoming more and more like Christ, and less and less like our sinful, former selves.
Jesus taught that it is the truth of His Gospel that sets us free. John 8:31-32 says “If you abide in my word, you are truly my disciples, and you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.” True disciples experience freedom by abiding in Christ and in His word, by delighting in his presence through worship.
This post from the Desiring God blog sums it up well: “The secret to freedom from enslaving patterns of sin is worship. You need worship. You need great worship. You need weeping worship. You need glorious worship. You need to sense God’s greatness and to be moved by it — moved to tears and moved to laughter — moved by who God is and what he has done for you. And this needs to be happening all the time.”
Do you, like I do, sometimes “try harder” to have freedom from sin, and find it leads you no where?
What is it that you need freedom from?
We have an adversary, seeking to destroy us! He would have us enslaved to sin. And yet…
Where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom.
Take heart! As Christians we are filled with the Spirit! The spirit gives life and freedom. It is the same spirit “of him who raised Jesus from the dead.” (Romans 8:11)
Worship Christ! As we worship him, we are finding freedom.
CHRISTIAN to APOLLYON: The Prince under whose banner I now stand is able to set me free, and to pardon also my service with thee. And besides, O thou destroying Apollyon, to speak the truth, I like His service, His wages, His servants, His government, His company, and country, better than yours; persuade me no further; I am His servant, and I will follow Him.