2 Corinthians 3:17
Now the Lord is that Spirit: and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty.
Liberty is the birthright of every man. But where do you find liberty unaccompanied by religion? This land is the home of liberty, not so much because of our institutions as because the Spirit of the Lord is here — the spirit of true and hearty religion. But the liberty of the text is an infinitely greater and better one, and one which Christian men alone enjoy. He is the free man whom the truth makes free. Without the Spirit of the Lord, in a free country, ye may still be bondsmen; and where there are no serfs in body, ye may be slaves in soul. Note —
I. WHAT WE ARE FREED FROM.
1. The bondage of sin. Of all slavery there is none more horrible than this. "O wretched man that I am, who shall deliver me" from it? But the Christian is free.
2. The penalty of sin — eternal death.
3. The guilt of sin.
4. The dominion of sin. Profane men glory in free living and free thinking. Free living! Let the slave hold up his fetters and jingle them, and say, "This is music, and I am free." A sinner without grace attempting to reform himself is like Sisiphus rolling the stone up hill, which always comes down with greater force. A man without grace attempting to save himself is engaged in as hopeless a task as the daughters of Danaus, when they attempted to fill a vast vessel with bottomless buckets. He has a bow without a string, a sword without a blade, a gun without powder.
5. Slavish fear of law. Many people are honest because they are afraid of the policeman. Many are sober because they are afraid of the eye of the public. If a man be destitute of the grace of God, his works are only works of slavery; he feels forced to do them. But now, Christian, "Love makes your willing feet in swift obedience move." We are free from the law that we may obey it better.
6. The fear of death. I recollect a good old woman, who said, "Afraid to die, sir! I have dipped my foot in Jordan every morning before breakfast for the last fifty years, and do you think I am afraid to die now?" A good Welsh lady, when she lay a-dying, was visited by her minister, who said to her, "Sister, are you sinking?" But, rising a little in the bed, she said, "Sinking! Sinking! Did you ever know a sinner sink through a rock? If I had been standing on the sand I might sink; but, thank God! I am on the Rock of Ages, and there is no sinking there."
II. WHAT WE ARE FREE TO. "Where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty," and that liberty gives us certain rights and privileges.
1. To heaven's charter. Heaven's Magna Charta is the Bible, and you are free to it — to all its doctrines, promises, etc. You are free to all that is in the Bible. It is the bank of heaven: you may draw from it as much as you please without let or hindrance.
2. To the throne of grace. It is the privilege of Englishmen that they can always send a petition to Parliament; and it is the privilege of a believer that he can always send a petition to the throne of God. It signifies nothing what, where, or under what circumstances I am.
3. To enter into the city. I am not a freeman of London, which is doubtless a great privilege, but I am a freeman of a better city. Now some of you have obtained the freedom of the city, but you won't take it up. Don't remain outside the Church any longer, for you have a right to come in.
4. To heaven. When a Christian dies he knows the password that can make the gates wide open fly; he has the white stone whereby he shall be known as a ransomed one, and that shall pass him at the barrier.
(C. H. Spurgeon.)
Parallel VersesKJV: Now the Lord is that Spirit: and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty.