Dear Fellow Believers in Christ, (Liberty comes from Christ living in us as us apart from religion and the law)
Why does Paul focus us to the Spirit of the Lord for liberty? Why is religion so set against liberty? Why does Paul term the law a yoke of bondage for the Christian? Did not our Heavenly Father put us in Christ before the foundation of the world for life, love, and liberty? What is the greatest liberty that we received at the Spirit birthing in us? How can liberty be responsible and not serve the flesh? How can we let this awesome liberty of Christ in us flow in love for the Father to others even more? Father, thank you for your liberty of grace through your Son. Holy Spirit continue to open up the important truth of our ever preaching and focusing others on the life of Christ in us full of life, liberty, and love for you, O Father, and for others.
"Now the Lord ever is the Spirit; and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty. But we all, with already completely unveiled face, continually beholding as in a mirror, the glory of the Lord, are being continually transformed into the same image forth from glory into glory, even as forth from the Spirit of the Lord" (II Cor. 3:17-18, Expanded Greek Translation – EGT).
First, The Spirit of the Lord Ministering in and through Us Is Our Liberty
Paul declares that the Father always leads us in triumph in Christ (II Cor. 2:14). Paul tells us we are an epistle of Christ, written by the Spirit on the tablets of our heart (II Cor. 3:3). Paul also clearly informs us that the Lord ever is the Spirit being discussed in this passage (II Cor. 3:17). Paul states that the Spirit of Christ gives us life (II Cor. 3:6). We are told that Christ ministers in us and through us with a ministry that exceeds in glory (II Cor. 3:8). The ministry of the Spirit of Christ in us remains and does not pass away (II Cor. 3:11). The ministry and expression of Christ in and through us, to and for others, brings a liberty. "For where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty" (II Cor. 3:17). Why? The Holy Spirit renews our minds (Rom. 12:2). The Holy Spirit renews our mind to the Spirit of Christ who is implanted within us at our rebirthing of the Spirit. The Holy Spirit will renew our minds to see that Christ is the life and our righteousness. When Christ is revealed as the life in us and the Spirit to minister through us, there is a veil removed from our hearts (II Cor. 3:14). When we turn to the Spirit and yield to the Lord as minister, He becomes our liberty (II Cor. 3: 16,17).
Second, Religion and Law Cannot Stand Grace and Liberty
Religion cannot stand grace and liberty. Religion wants law and control. Paul tells us that false brothers secretly were brought in to spy the liberty that they had in Christ, so they might bring them back into bondage under the law (Gal. 2:4). Paul clearly informs us that we received our rebirthing of the Spirit by the hearing of faith and that is how we live (Gal. 3:2,3). We were not saved, nor do we live, by the works of the law performed by our flesh (Gal. 3:2,3). In fact Paul declares, "it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me" (Gal 2:20). Paul even tells us that we ultimately no longer live by our own faith, but by the faith of the Son of God (Gal. 2:16,20). When the Holy Spirit reveals this reality, the Spirit of the Son will rise up within your hearts, crying out, "Abba, Father" (Gal. 4:6).
Third, Our Father Put Christ in Us to Be Our Actual Life and Liberty
Christ is your life, not religion. Christ is your life, not the law. Christ is your life, not your false imitation of Christ, trying to be like Him or act like Him. Our Father has not called us to Christian acting school. Our Father put Christ in us to be the actual life, the actual minister, the actual Spirit. Yes, Christ is our actual liberty. Paul said, "Stand fast therefore in the liberty by which Christ has made us free, and do not be entangled again with a yoke of bondage" (Gal. 5:1). Paul clearly instructs us to stay in and stand in our liberty, which comes from letting Christ be our life and ministering through us to and for others. Don't compromise and mix the Christ-life and His grace in us with any portion of religion, law, or flesh.
Fourth, The Father Called Us for the Fullness of Liberty at Our Rebirthing
"For you, brothers, have been once then been called to liberty, only do not use liberty as an excuse by the flesh, but through love continually serve one another" (Gal. 5:13, EGT). Our Father sent the Holy Spirit to birth us into the Body of Christ (I Cor. 12:13), and plant His Son, the incorruptible Seed within us (I Pet. 1:23). At the very moment of our rebirthing in the Spirit, we were once then called to liberty. Now, it might take the Spirit some time to reveal the fullness of the liberty that we have, since we received the fullness of Christ in us. However, the Father called us and desired the fullness of liberty in Christ to be in us and be expressed through us to others from our rebirthing in the Spirit.
Fifth, Fullness of Liberty Doesn't Give Us Any Excuse for the Flesh
Even though we have the fullness of liberty, that does not give us any excuse to have fleshly attitudes or do fleshly deeds (Gal. 5:13). Paul says, "all things are lawful for me, but all things are not helpful. All things are lawful for me, but I will not be brought under the power of any" (I Cor. 6:12). Paul warns us against any unrighteous or immoral living (I Cor. 6:9-11). Paul goes even further. There may be things that we know or do because of our knowledge of His righteousness and life. However, we need to be sensitive of others. We are not to use this liberty to become a stumbling block to a weaker brother (I Cor. 8:9). Through the love of Christ within us we need to serve one another in humility and deep concern.
Sixth, Christ Flowing in and through Us Is Always Responsible in Liberty
Along with great liberty, comes great responsibility. Peter says, "as free, yet not using your liberty as a cloak for vice, but as servants of God. Honor all people. Love the brotherhood. Fear God. Honor the king" (I Pet. 2:16-17). Wow! That points out a lot of areas for using your liberty with responsibility. We should let Christ flow in liberty in us as His servant. Honor all people. That includes everyone in our family, our job, our friends and acquaintances. It is everybody we come in contact with. We should be responsible with our liberty. We are to let Christ minister through us to everyone at all levels and positions with His love and liberty. Christ flowing in and through you is always responsible in liberty. We need to let Christ have liberty to live His love-life for the Father and to others.
Seventh, Christ in Us is the Most Awesome Liberty and Love Experience
Paul lets us know that the mind is the real issue of things after our Spirit rebirthing. To be carnally minded is death (Rom. 8:6). There is no liberty there. To be spiritually minded is life and peace (Rom. 8:6). There is liberty there. "There is therefore now no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus" (Rom. 8:1). Freedom from guilt in Christ is a great liberty. Freedom from my self-righteous works of the flesh to His life of righteousness is another great liberty. Knowing the Father through the Son, who also indwells us is another life-giving liberty (Rom. 8:11). What about the very awesome fact of this reality? While I was in a sinful state, my Father chose to rebirth me and make me His son. My Father had the Holy Spirit put His most precious and Holy Son inside of me to be my life and righteousness. Christ within me would be His holiness and righteousness to flow through this tainted vessel of mine, to express His life and light to others. Christ would literally express His love to others through me as me. That is just the most awesome liberty and love experience.