2 Corinthians 3:17


I. Intro.

A. liberty is the birthright of every man

1. we may be born a pauper, we may be an abandoned child, or our parentage may be altogether unknown, but liberty is our inalienable birthright

2. no matter what color our skin, nor our education level, God has fashioned us for freedom

3. we have a right to be free, it is our birthright; and if we do not have liberty, we ought not to be content until we win it

B. liberty is the heritage of all the sons and daughters of Adam

1. where can we find liberty that is not accompanied by true religion

2. all men have a right to liberty, but it is equally true that we do not find it in any country except where we find the Spirit of the Lord

C. our country is the home of liberty, but why is it so

1. it is not so much because of our institutions, as it is that the Spirit of the Lord is here; the spirit of true and hearty religion

2. who won our liberties for us; who has loosed our chains; was it not by men of faith, under the hand of God

3. men who would have liberty, or die; men who, if they could not reach the kings’ heart, would strike kings down, rather than be slaves

D. we owe our liberty to men of religion; to men of the stern Puritan school

1. these were men who detested cowardice, and would not yield their principles at the command of man

2. if we are to maintain our liberty, it will be kept by religious liberty; by true religion

3. this Bible is our Bill of Rights; its Truths and its doctrines have broken our fetters, and they never can be put on again, as long as men, with God’s Spirit in their hearts, go forth to speak its Truths

4. in no other land, except where the Bible is preached, can we find liberty

E. where the Spirit of the Lord is, that is where liberty is, and nowhere else

1. men talk about being free; they describe model governments, or utopian paradises, but they are dreamy intellects

2. there can be no freedom in the world, except, “where the spirit of the Lord is”

F. worldly men ought to be told, that if religion does not save them, yet it has done much for them

1. the influence of religion has won them their liberties

2. the liberty of our text is a much greater freedom than this; it is infinitely greater and better

3. as great as civil or religious liberty may be, the liberty of our text surpasses them all

4. there is a liberty which Christian people alone enjoy

G. he is a free man, whom the Truth makes free; he who has grace in his heart is free - John 8:32

1. he has right upon his side; He has God within him; he has the indwelling Spirit of the Holy Spirit

2. he is a prince of the royal blood of Heaven; He is a noble, having the true rights of nobility

3. he is one of God’s children; a distinguished and preferred children

4. he would sooner walk the burning furnace with Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego, or be cast into the lion’s den with Daniel, than yield a point in principle

5. he is a free man; because “Where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty” in its fullest, highest and widest sense

H. we need the “Spirit of the Lord,” for without it, even in a free country we may become bondsmen

1. where there are no serfs in body, we may be slaves in soul

2. the text speaks of Spiritual liberty; if we have “the Spirit of the Lord” within us, but what does this imply

a) it implies that there was a time when we did not have that Spiritual liberty; when we were slaves

b) a little while ago, all of us who now are free in Christ Jesus, were slaves of the devil, and were led captives at his will

c) we may have boasted that we could do what we pleased, but what a slavish and dreamy liberty we had; it was a fancied freedom

d) we were slaves to our lusts and passions; slaves to sin; but now we are freed from sin, we are delivered from our tyrant

e) a stronger than he has cast out the strong man that was armed, and we are free

3. let us now examine what our liberty consists of

II. There Is Liberty From The Bondage Of Sin

A. of all bondage and slavery in this world, there is none more horrible than the bondage of sin

1. tell of a black man beneath the lash of his cruel taskmaster and that it is a fearful bondage to endure

2. there is one far worse, the bondage of a convicted sinner, when he is brought to feel the burden of his guilt

3. the bondage of a man, when the burden of sin is on his shoulder is a burden too heavy for a soul to bear

4. it is a burden that will sink him forever in the depths of everlasting torment, unless he escapes from it

B. the Christian is free; he can smile now, though he once wept

1. he can rejoice now, because we are forgiven

2. all hail Glorious Jesus for breaking our fetters off

3. that moment when the bondage passes away, what liberty and joy we have

4. what ecstasy to have so much forgiven, and now to be freed from sin

5. “Where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty” from the bondage of sin

III. There Is Liberty From The Penalty Of Sin

A. the penalty of sin is eternal death; torment forever; that is the sad penalty of sin

1. it is not a sweet thought to know that Hell is our eternal home, if we died at this moment

2. it is not a pleasant thought to know that we would sink into the arms of Satan, and have him for our tormentor

3. that thought is the plague of all those who still bear the burden of the penalty of sin

4. how many do not know right well, that if they die, Hell is their portion; because they are not believers

B. Christians are free from the penalty of sin

1. they are free from the penalty of sin, at the moment they believe

2. not only are they forgiven, but they can never be punished on account of their sins, no matter how great and enormous they may have been

3. the Christian can never be punished on account of sin

4. the afflictions of this life are not punishments for sin to Christians; they are fatherly chastisements and not the punishments of a Judge

5. for the believer there is no Hell, no smoke, no fire, no gnashing of teeth, and no eternal torment

C. Jesus has suffered the punishment in our place, and God would be unjust if He were to punish sin again

1. Christ has suffered once and satisfied justice forever

2. when conscience tells us that we are a sinner, we tell our conscience we stand in Christ’s place, and Christ stands in our

3. it is true that we are sinners still, but Christ died for sinners - 1 Timothy 1:15

4. we deserve punishment, but Christ was punished in our place

5. there never was been and never shall be one Believer in Hell

6. Heaven will open its pearly gates to admit us, but Hell’s gates will be forever closed to the believer

IV. There Is Liberty From The Guilt Of Sin

A. this is a wonder of wonders, because the Christian is no longer guilty the moment he believes

1. if a king in his goodness spares a murderer by giving him a pardon, that man cannot be punished, but he will still be a guilty man

2. a pardon removes the penalty, restores some rights, but it does not remove the guilt; he will be branded a murderer for as long as he lives

B. the Christian is completely absolved from the guilt

1. this is something that we stand amazed at; because the Christian is no more a sinner in God’s sight

2. he is a sinner as he considers himself, but in the Person of Christ, he is no more a sinner than the angel Gabriel

3. an angel cannot be more pure than the poor blood-washed sinner, when he is made whiter than snow

4. this is made possible because Christ became our Substitute; He took our place and gave us His

a) He took our robe of rags, and gave us His robe of righteousness

b) His spotless robes are round us, His golden sandals are on our feet, and His crown is upon our head; while all our sins have been placed on Him

C. God has made us righteous through Jesus Christ, and we are free from every sin

1. there is not a crime against a believer in the Book of God, it is blotted out forever

2. not only can we never be punished, but we have nothing to be punished for

3. we have made righteousness, “Where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty”

V. There Is Liberty From The Fear Of Death - 1 Corinthians 15:55-57

A. the Grim Reaper stands somewhere in the future grasping his scythe, waiting for you and me; he is coming, but what is behind him

1. that depends upon our character

2. if we are the sons of God, there is Heaven waiting to welcome us home

3. if we are not, Hell follows him

B. how many men are slaves to the fear of Death; most of the people in the world are afraid to die

1. who is the man that does not fear to die; it is the man that is a Believer

2. to the believer, sudden death is sudden glory

C. what is life; it is a narrow screen that separates us from glory and death kindly removes it

D. what is death; it is only a valley we must cross to enter Heaven - Psalm 23:4

E. why dread death since there is no fear of God leaving us when we come to die