I was recently reading my Bible with no particular objective in mind and came across a familiar verse, 2 Corinthians 3:17, which reads “Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom.” My initial thought upon reading it was that God must have removed His Spirit from our nation as we see more and more of our freedoms being eroded. But then I realized that was not what this scripture is about. This led me to several thoughts about our freedom in Christ.
The first thought that occurred to me is that our freedom in Christ is not dependent on any government. Although a government may restrict our freedoms, we remain free in Christ. John 8:32 tells us “and you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.” Which brings one to question “What is freedom and what is truth?”
One definition of freedom is “the quality or state of being exempt or released usually from something onerous.” We are free, unrestrained, we can do whatever we want to do. When we throw off all restraints, we think we are free. But that is not the case. When we go our own way, obeying our own rules, we will sin. Nothing enslaves like sin. It corrupts our thinking, and controls our actions. Sin separates us from God, leaves us without hope, and without peace (Ephesians 2:12-14). Our freedom is in God.
This leads us to the other concept of “What is truth?” God is truth. In John 14:6 Jesus said “I am the way, the truth, and the life. Furthermore, He states in verse 17 that the Holy Spirit is the Spirit of truth. This brings us back to John 8:32. The truth we need to know is God. That truth gives us real (eternal) life, real freedom, the real way.
God is omnipresent, omniscient, and omnipotent. It is beyond the scope of this writing to deal with these in detail. His omnipresence means simply that God is always present for us. That presence includes the Holy Spirit, one of the three parts of the Trinity. So the Spirit also knows all and is all powerful. I recently ran across another “omni” word that applies to God – He is omnibenevolent. He possesses perfect or unlimited goodness.
Therefore, the freedom we have in God is true freedom. What better to have than a God who is always there for you, a God who knows what you need, and a God who is powerful enough to provide for you. But that’s not all. Our God is not just a good God, He is a God of unlimited goodness that he wants to bestow on us. No, we don’t always get what we ask of God – we get what He knows is best for us at the right time.
I recently watched the movie “Elvis” which deals with the relationship between Col. Tom Parker and Elvis Presley. Although Parker played an extremely large role in making Elvis rich and famous, it became apparent that Elvis was a prisoner. Parker kept him close. For example, Elvis wanted to travel – he wanted to perform concerts overseas. Parker blocked any and all efforts for him to do this. Parker was an illegal alien and could not leave the United States without the risk of suffering legal consequences. He needed to keep Elvis close so he could control him. While appearing to be working in Elvis’ best interests, he was, in reality, looking out for himself, making millions off Elvis to the singer’s detriment. We may envy people like Elvis, who seem to have it all. But he did not have freedom, the freedom that God offers. Without God, our freedom is a vapor, an illusion. God, and only God, provides true freedom.