2 Corinthians 3:17
Now the Lord is that Spirit: and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty.
If there are two words especially dear to St. Paul, they are these - the spirit as distinguished from the form and the letter, and liberty as distinguished from religious bondage.
I. MAN'S NEED OF LIBERATION.
1. Sin is bondage, however he may confuse between liberty and licence. There is no slave so crippled and so pitiable as is the bondman of sin.
2. Man's happiness and well being depend upon his deliverance from this spiritual serfdom.
3. No earthly power can effect this great enfranchisement.
II. THE DIVINE LIBERATOR. Many of the designations applied to our Lord Jesus imply this character and function. He is the Saviour, who saves from the yoke of sin, the doom of death; the Redeemer, who ransoms from a spiritual captivity, who pays the price, and sets the prisoner free. "The Lord is the Spirit;" i.e. the work of redemption was wrought by Jesus in the body, and is applied and made actual to the individual soul by the unseen but mighty and ever-present Spirit, in whose operations the Lord. Christ perpetuates his action and achieves his dominion.
III. THE ESSENCE OF SPIRITUAL LIBERTY. It is irrespective of personal condition; for the slave can enjoy its sweets, even when his clanking chains remind him of his earthly bondage. It is emancipation from the curse and penalty of the Law, as this oppresses every sinner who is at all aware of his real condition. It is freedom from what St. Patti calls the dominion of sin. It is the glad consecration of all powers to the service of the Divine Redeemer. It is "the glorious liberty of the children of God."
IV. THE FRUITS OF FREEDOM.
1. Obedience, strange and paradoxical as the assertion seems, is the consequence of the gracious enfranchisement of the soul. The service of the heart, which cannot be rendered in bondage, is natural in the state of emancipation.
2. Joy is natural to the emancipated slave, who realizes the dignity and the blessedness of freedom.
3. Praise of the Deliverer never ceases, but ascends in unintermitting strains to the Author and Giver of spiritual and everlasting liberty. - T.
Parallel VersesKJV: Now the Lord is that Spirit: and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty.