Freedom in Christ

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"Since this new way gives us such confidence, we can be very bold. We are not like Moses, who put a veil over his face so the people of Israel would not see the glory, even though it was destined to fade away. But the people’s minds were hardened, and to this day whenever the old covenant is being read, the same veil covers their minds so they cannot understand the truth. And this veil can be removed only by believing in Christ. Yes, even today when they read Moses’ writings, their hearts are covered with that veil, and they do not understand. But whenever someone turns to the Lord, the veil is taken away. For the Lord is the Spirit, and wherever the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom. So all of us who have had that veil removed can see and reflect the glory of the Lord. And the Lord—who is the Spirit—makes us more and more like him as we are changed into his glorious image." - 2 Corinthians 3:12-18

The result of Old Covenant ministry is bondage; but the result of New Covenant ministry is freedom in the Spirit. Legalism keeps people immature, and immature people must live by rules and regulations (see Gal. 4:1-7). God wants His children to obey, not because of an external code (the law), but because of internal character (the Spirit). Christians do not live under the law, but this does not mean that we are lawless! The Spirit of God writes the Word of God on our hearts, and we obey our Father because of the new life He has given us within.

The lure of legalism is still with us. False cults prey on professed Christians and church members, as did the Judaizers in Paul's day. We must learn to recognize false cults and reject their teachings. But there are also gospel-preaching churches that have legalistic tendencies and keep their members immature, guilty, and afraid. They spend a great deal of time dealing with the externals, and they neglect the cultivation of the inner life. They exalt standards, and they denounce sin, but they fail to magnify the Lord Jesus Christ. Sad to say, some New Testament churches have an Old Testament ministry.

Paul said that his own ministry was triumphant and glorious (“But thank God! He has made us his captives and continues to lead us along in Christ’s triumphal procession. Now he uses us to spread the knowledge of Christ everywhere, like a sweet perfume.” - 2 Cor. 2:14). The two go together. When our ministry involves the glory of God--we cannot quit!

1. What are some evidences of "freedom in the Spirit" that you have observed in your life?
2. How could your personal ministry become more triumphant? More glorious?

Dear Lord Jesus, I know I’m not enjoying all the freedom you’ve purchased for us. Though you’ve already freed me from the arrogance of trying to earn a relationship with You, and the anxiety of wondering what God thinks about me in any given moment; and though the chains of condemnation have already been broken and my fear of death and Judgment Day have been eliminated—I’m still not as free as you intend. Jesus, break even more of the chains of my lingering insecurities and self-doubts. Help me to throw off notions of shame and feelings of incompetency, about important things in life. Heal my heart wounds and free me from any residual bitterness. Jesus, please free me for greater spontaneity, louder laughter, saltier tears, and quicker moments of repentance. Grant me a larger heart for loving the least and the last, offering mercy toward doubters, and running after the lost. Amen.
Oct 19 2018