2 Corinthians 3:17b – …where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty…

Some interpret the liberty spoken of in this verse to mean liberation from any requirement to obey God’s law. Let’s look at the immediate context.

14 But their minds were hardened. For to this day, when they read the old covenant, that same veil remains unlifted, because only through Christ is it taken away. 15 Yes, to this day whenever Moses is read a veil lies over their hearts. 16 But when one turns to the Lord, the veil is removed. 17 Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom. 18 And we all, with unveiled face, beholding the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from one degree of glory to another. For this comes from the Lord who is the Spirit.” (2 Corinthians 3:14-18)

Here’s a list of all the things mentioned in the immediate context that one could be liberated from because of Christ and through the Spirit:

  • A hardened mind (v 14)
  • A veil over the heart (v 15)

For additional context on how the heart is transformed, please review the section on 2 Corinthians 3:7.

Jesus spoke about what happens when the word is presented to a stony heart.

The sower sows the word. And these are the ones along the path, where the word is sown: when they hear, Satan immediately comes and takes away the word that is sown in them. And these are the ones sown on rocky ground: the ones who, when they hear the word, immediately receive it with joy. And they have no root in themselves, but endure for a while; then, when tribulation or persecution arises on account of the word, immediately they fall away.” (Mark 4:14-17)

Another characteristic of a hardened mind is that it doesn’t want God’s law.

But they refused to pay attention and turned a stubborn shoulder and stopped their ears that they might not hear. They made their hearts diamond-hard lest they should hear the law and the words that the LORD of hosts had sent by his Spirit through the former prophets. Therefore great anger came from the LORD of hosts.” (Zechariah 7:11-12)

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