New Covenant Freedom

Consider these words from 2 Corinthians 3:17, “Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom.” When we are connected to Jesus by the gift of faith worked in our hearts through Word and sacrament we are set free from the bondage of sin. Our sin is forgiven. We are set free to serve our gracious God in joy. This is a freedom we celebrate as we celebrate the Reformation. This is a freedom we celebrate and cherish even as we endure the ongoing need for reformation in Christ’s Church. This freedom is a wonderful privilege – but a privilige that comes with a good amount of responsibility. We dare not use our freedom to stand in the way of the gospel and the work of the Spirit. We dare not return to some legalistic slavery either. These are things the Church has constantly wrestled with – how do we use the freedom Christ has given wisely and lovingly? Let’s search the Scriptures together to answer this question. Share your thoughts and scriptural insights. Contemplate these words from the past. I share a quote from and adress about Christian liberty presented in March of 1860 by the Rev. Charles P. Krauth (St. Mark’s Lutheran Church in Philadelphia): “The Redeemer of the world was sent with the Spirit of the Lord God upon him “to proclaim liberty to the captive, and the opening of the prison to them that are bound.” He same to give freedom, through his truth, to the soul in the bondage of error; freedom through his precious blood from the power of sin; freedom through his kingly might from every sorrow, and in his eternal realm a full entrance on “the glorious liberty of the children of God.” We have a free Gospel, the free gift of God, to make us free; free by what Christ taught, free by what he was, free by what, in his infinite grace, he imparts to us: “if the Son make you free, ye shall be free indeed.” Christ has redeemed us from the bondage of the whole law. The moral law is no longer the ground of justification, though it remains as a restraint upon the remnants of our indweeling corruption, as the guide of our life, the rule of a voluntary obedience, the directory of that holiness, without which no man shall see the Lord. The ceremonial law, Christ has utterly and absolutely abrogated in all its parts, as the sun at noon-tide abrogates the shadows it cast in its rising and ascending. No lamb is henceforth to bleed, for the Lamb of God has forever taken away all sin by the one sufficient sacrifice. No high priest is to come into the earthly shrine, for the great High Priest has passed within the veil of God’s eternal temple, and ever lives to interced for us. The las of the whole Old Testament service, with the passing away of the necessities from which it arose, has vanished. A disepensation in which the minutest points of ritual were determined by the absolute prescription, has been succeeded by one in which nothing merely ceremonial is fixed by positive divine law. The New Testament has no Book of Leviticus; no, not a solitary Levitical verse … And yet order is just as necessary under the New Testament as it was in the old. God is not a God of confusion, nothing can long exist without order; and , therefore, order under the New Testament is just as little left to accident as it was under the Old. It is committed to another principle, not indeed as precise in its operation, not as mechanically regular in its work as that of law, but all-sufficient for its ends if properly applied, a principle in beautiful harmony with the benignity, spirituallity, and power of universal adaptation which belong to our holy religion. The principle is the principle of liberty, freedom to the Church to exercise her own judgment and to determine for herself all points of mere order. This is an inalienable endowment of the Church, and, in iits light, as in so many others, the affirmation of our text is true, “Where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty.” So far Krauth. Interesting words of you can work through some of the vocabulary (it never hurts to expand the mind) and some of the forms of expression in vogue in 1860, but not used so much today. These are words to chew on and contemplate. Feel free to contemplate and then comment on the topc of Christian freedom or liberty.

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