2 Corinthians 3:17 has to be up there with John 3:16 when it comes to verse popularity. It states, “Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom.” We have a tendency to use this verse to speak about our dance parties that break out during good worship services, or to put it as a banner over our deliverance ministries where the Spirit of God free’s people from all kinds of past wounds and spiritual bondage. We can definitely use it for these reasons but the context of the Spirit’s freedom referenced here is different than an awesome ‘flags-flying-everywhere’ worship conference.
In this section of Paul’s letter to the Corinthian church he is talking about the freedom the Spirit of God has to offer to the Jewish people from the blinding that has occurred through the rejection of God, His Son, His Spirit and their irrevocable calling to be His covenant people. Yes, many Jew’s seek to honor God with their lifestyle and deep commitment to Torah. The problem is found in that it is a pursuit founded upon on their terms, instead of God’s. Put simply, God’s only condition for them to enter into the fullness of what He desires to give them is found in Christ alone. The blindness that is preventing the Jewish people from entering into the greatness God has bestowed upon them can only be removed through the receiving of the true Man, Jesus from Nazareth, the Christ and Son of God.
This brings us to our verse. Paul says in 2 Corinthians 3:12-16 that the veil which is blinding unredeemed Judaism is removed through Christ and/or the Lord. He uses these two titles interchangeably to refer to Jesus. What makes this interesting is he goes on to say in v. 16 that the Lord is the Spirit and it is the Spirit who will bring freedom and remove the veil. Paul even goes on to emphasize it one more time at the end of v. 18 by saying, “For this comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit.” What makes this so fascinating is that if it is the Spirit of God who brings freedom to the Jewish people, there is only one category of human beings who possess the the key to bringing redemption to them – it is the Church. We alone are those who have the freedom giving Spirit dwelling inside of us (2 Cor. 1:22). It is weak and broken people who have been redeemed by the blood of the Lamb who are God’s mercy strategy for the Jewish people in the days ahead.
May we all be lights.