Liberty and Slavery
1 Corinthians 7:17-24
But as God has distributed to every man, as the Lord has called every one, so let him walk. And so ordain I in all churches.…

The ideas are antithetical; they therefore explain each other. We cannot understand the liberty spoken of until we understand the bondage, and vice versa. Liberty is not freedom from restraint or authority. No creature is thus free. All rational beings are under the authority of reason and right. And as these are in infinite subjection to God, all creatures are under absolute subjection to Him. And this is the highest liberty. Consider —


1. In renouncing subjection to God man lost his liberty and became —

(1) The slave of sin. This subjection is bondage because —

(a)  It has no right to rule. It does not belong to our normal state, and is inconsistent with the end of being.

(b)  It is independent of the will. We cannot throw it off.

(2) The slave of the law. He is under the obligation of satisfying its demands or of bearing its penalty. This —

(a)  Is inexorable.

(b)  Reveals itself in the conscience.

(c)  Produces the slavish spirit — fear and anxious looking for of judgment.

(3) The slave of Satan. We are in his power, subject to his control.

2. This subjection manifests itself in various ways.

(1) It destroys the balance and power of the soul.

(2) Not being subject to God, and being unable to guide itself, it submits to the world and public opinion, and to the priesthood and the Church.

II. MAN'S FREE STATE. Christ is our Redeemer, and the author of our liberty. They only are truly free whom He makes free. He frees us —

1. From condemnation. Until this is done nothing is done. A man in prison under sentence of death must be freed or he cannot be delivered from other evils.

2. From the law or the obligation of fulfilling its demands.

3. From the authority and power of Satan (Hebrews 2:14, 15).

4. From the reigning power of sin.

5. From a slavish spirit.

6. From all undue subjection to men.

(1) By bringing the reason under subjection to His truth we are freed from their authority as to doctrine.

(2) As we are subject to Him alone, as to the conscience, we cannot be subject to any other authority in deciding what is morally right or wrong.

(3) As we have through Him deliverance from condemnation and acceptance with God, we are free from the priesthood.

(4) As all we do is done in obedience to Him, lawful subjection to men is part of our liberty.

(C. Hodge, D. D.)

Parallel Verses
KJV: But as God hath distributed to every man, as the Lord hath called every one, so let him walk. And so ordain I in all churches.

WEB: Only, as the Lord has distributed to each man, as God has called each, so let him walk. So I command in all the assemblies.

In Christ, the Servant the Lord's Freeman
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