Tag Archives: freedom

The Taste of Freedom (Rom. 8:12-17)

This stone stele was erected along one of the paths that lead to Santiago de Compostela, an important pilgrimage site. Santiago de Compostela, Spain. https://diglib.library.vanderbilt.edu/act-imagelink.pl?RC=56146

For Sunday, May 30, 2021
Trinity Sunday, Year B

Think of a time in your life when you really felt free.

For me, it was one morning on a motorcycle cresting the pass overlooking Pagosa Springs in the San Juan Mountains of Colorado. The entire valley floor opened up before my son Noah and I in a glorious display of shimmering golden and green sunlight. The taste of freedom was palpable.

So it is meant to be for us in our spiritual journeys. This passage is about the taste of freedom that comes from realizing we are no longer under the claim of the flesh but now under the claim of the Holy Spirit.

Sometimes to really appreciate what God wants to say to us we need to change translations. There is a newer translation called The Passion Translation (TPT) that does a great job capturing some of the emotion that Scripture is intended to convey by speaking truth to us in contemporary English language. It’s so easy for us to get caught up in tradition. We end up domesticating the gospel. The gospel was never meant to be caged! Let this passage speak to you uncaged. I’ll share the whole thing here from the TPT:

12 So then, beloved ones, the flesh has no claims on us at all, and we have no further obligation to live in obedience to it. 13 For when you live controlled by the flesh, you are about to die. But if the life of the Spirit puts to death the corrupt ways of the flesh, we then taste his abundant life.

14 The mature children of God are those[a] who are moved by the impulses of the Holy Spirit. 15 And you did not receive the “spirit of religious duty,”[b] leading you back into the fear of never being good enough.[c] But you have received the “Spirit of full acceptance,”[d] enfolding you into the family of God. And you will never feel orphaned, for as he rises up within us, our spirits join him in saying the words of tender affection, “Beloved Father!”[e] 16 For the Holy Spirit makes God’s fatherhood real to us as he whispers into our innermost being, “You are God’s beloved child!”

17 And since we are his true children, we qualify to share all his treasures, for indeed, we are heirs of God himself. And since we are joined to Christ, we also inherit all that he is and all that he has.[f] We will experience being co-glorified with him provided that we accept his sufferings[g] as our own.[h]

That last phrase “provided we accept his sufferings as our own” can be jarring. Yet all it means is that we put ourselves under the discipline of his discipleship. He died on the cross for our sins. When we accept that, when we own that, our own challenges become the light and momentary afflictions that they actually are, which we gladly accept, for the sake of qualifying to share in his inheritance as co-heirs of our Heavenly Father.

What does freedom look like for you today?

freedom

"Transfiguration of Christ," Giovanni Bellini, Galleria Nazionale di Capodimonte, Naples, Italy.  d. 1516.

“Transfiguration of Christ,” Giovanni Bellini, Galleria Nazionale di Capodimonte, Naples, Italy. d. 1516.

2 Corinthians 3:12 – 4:2
For Sunday, February 10, 2013
Transfiguration Sunday

If you have ever worked on a team you know how strained relationships can become.  We are so quick to ascribe failure to to others yet so slow to recognize fault within ourselves.  When faced with such conflicts the important point to remember is what the Apostle Paul says here:  “Where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom” (3:17).

The Corinthians were not pleased with Paul when he wrote this letter to them. They were experiencing him as operating out of worldliness and insincerity (the opposites of what Paul affirms for himself in 1:12).  Paul had promised to visit, didn’t, and they likely felt slighted (1:15-17).

Yet rather than getting caught up in a “he said, she said” exchange, Paul kept his eye on the bigger picture.  The bigger picture was that as glorious as was God’s ministry to Moses on stone at Sinai, so much more glorious was God’s ministry to Paul and his brothers and sisters at Corinth.  While Moses was the only one to reflect God’s glory then, on this side of the cross we all now reflect God’s glory (3:18).

Remember this the next time you find yourself in conflict with another Christian brother or sister or the next time your motives are misunderstood.  Don’t get caught up in defending yourself or in mutual recrimination.  Instead, marvel at the connection we share with one another  in the gospel and keep proclaiming the gospel’s hope with great confidence and boldness.  Where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom.

Points to Ponder:

  • What would most help you hang on to the freedom of the Spirit of the Lord the next time you find yourself in conflict, whether with Christians or non-Christians?
  • How does the fact that God has illuminated our faces with the gospel cause us to be more bold in proclaiming the message?
  • Where is the freedom of the Spirit of the Lord leading you next?