2 Corinthians 3:17

Now the Lord is the Spirit;
and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty.
2 Corinthians 3:17
Have you ever had the chance to look into a kid’s eyes when they grasp some new concept or ability? I have loved teaching each of my kids to ride a bike. There’s the ‘don’t let go’ phase where you are running behind them, hunched over with your hand on the back of the seat. Then there’s the phase where you are running behind them and they think that you have a hand on the seat, and then there’s that one time where you stop running and they just keep going! It is so much fun to see their eyes when they grasp that concept.
Paul is writing in 2 Corinthians 3 about how God has dealt with his people through time. A covenant is an agreement between two parties, kind of like a wedding. In the old covenant, God promised Israel that he would be for them and for their good as long as they followed certain laws and provided sacrifices to cover their sins. In the new covenant, the law isn’t needed anymore because Jesus provided the once for all sacrifice. The law, or the old covenant, could only show where folks have sinned. The law had no power to remove sin, but Jesus’ sacrifice on the cross removed the power of sin in our lives. Imagine you are at a job interview and you nailed it. You get back out to your car and you adjust your rearview mirror and your reflection shows you have a big grease smudge on your face, and it dawns on you that that grease smudge had been there through the whole interview. Did the mirror put the smudge on your face? Can the mirror remove the smudge from your face? Think of the law of God like a mirror, it didn’t make us sin, neither can it remove sin, its one power is to show us that we have sinned.
Paul then spends most of chapter 3 contrasting what the law did for the Israelites and what it does for us now. It’s not that the law was unnecessary or irrelevant, it was very powerful and needed, even for us today, to show that we can’t possibly live up to what God expects. But now God who give us his Spirit to transform those of us who believe in the gospel to be more like Jesus.
There is freedom in the Spirit, freedom from the confines of the law and freedom to say no to sin.  All this ‘comes from the Lord’ (v.18), who is Spirit! The Spirit’s role in our life is profound, as he continues to help us become more like Jesus. Talking about the Spirit seems strange at times, but he is as real as the sun and he is working in our hearts and minds to help us see Jesus every day!
Questions for reflection:

  1.  Do you recall a time when a “light” came on for you and you understood something? How did that make you feel?
  2.  When the Bible talks about freedom, it may not mean what we think it means- because our western culture defines freedom as ‘doing anything I want’. Think about what Paul is talking about here how is he defining freedom.
David Flug | Community Life Pastor

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