2 Corinthians 3:17
Now the Lord is that Spirit: and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty.
How much is made of earthly liberty — the shadow of true freedom. How true it is that, whilst many men "profess to give liberty to others, they themselves are the slaves of corruption." Men are content to be slaves within who would be very indignant at any attempt to make them slaves without. The apostle, speaking of the bondage of the law, said that, when the heart of the Jew shall turn to the Lord, then, and not till then, shall they come to the true freedom. Where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is —
I. LIBERTY FROM CONDEMNATION. If a man is under sentence of death he cannot find liberty. He may forget his imprisonment in mirth and feasting, but it is not the less real because he forgets it. The morning will come when he will be dragged off to his fearful doom. We are under the sentence of God's broken law. "The soul that sinneth, it shall die." How beautiful, then, the language of the apostle! (Romans 8:1).
II. LIBERTY FROM LAW. The law knows nothing of mercy and forgiveness, nor does it afford the least help to holiness. Its command is, "Do this, and live; break this in the least, and die." Therefore, "by the deeds of the law " shall no man have peace with God. But "what the law could not do," etc. (Romans 8:2-4).
III. LIBERTY TO OBEY. Many think they are free, and that they will do as they like; but they do not like to do what they ought to like, and therefore they are slaves after all. The way in which a man may convince himself of his slavery is to try to be what he ought to be. He can do nothing of himself, and he must be brought to feel that he can do no good thing without God. But what the flesh cannot do the Spirit will enable him to do. "It is God which worketh in us, both to will and to do of His good pleasure"; therefore "work out your own salvation," etc.
IV. LIBERTY TO FIGHT THE GOOD FIGHT OF FAITH. A man can do battle with his corrupt nature, he can win the victory over the principalities and powers of darkness, and his sword is a sword of liberty. The drunkard becomes sober, the impure chaste, the vindictive forgiving, by the power of the Spirit of God.
V. LIBERTY OF ACCESS TO GOD. The one true and living way is open, but it cannot be discerned except a man has it revealed to him by the Spirit of God. Through Christ we have access by one Spirit unto the Father.
VI. LIBERTY OF HOLY BOLDNESS AND FORTITUDE IN THE SERVICE OF GOD.
(H. Stowell, M. A.)
Parallel VersesKJV: Now the Lord is that Spirit: and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty.