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.…
I. THE BONDAGE SUPPOSED BY THE GOSPEL, AND WHICH CALLS FOR ITS INTERFERENCE. It is a bondage —
1. In which all are born.
2. Produced and perpetuated by an awfully evil agency from without. Satan exercises his dominion in a secret way, by adapting it to our own perverted inclinations. He moves us, not violently, but by means of exciting in a natural way, our depraved powers and propensities.
3. Toilsome and painful, profitless and punishable.
II. THE NATURE OF THAT FREEDOM FROM IT, WHICH THE GOSPEL EFFECTS IN THE CASE OF ALL ITS CONVERTS. Every such one is "the Lord's freeman" Of this freedom the Lord Jesus is the author. He is the meritorious cause of its being bestowed; the agent of effecting it by His Spirit, and the leader of all who partake of it. It is a freedom of three steps and degrees,
1. It is a deliverance from the rightful power and custody of Satan.
(1) Our bondage, because voluntary, is our crime. Satan does not force, but only draws, and we obey. Hence guilt is contracted, and guilt renders us amenable to the Divine justice. Thus guilt brings us under condemnation, and gives Satan a rightful power and custody over us, as the permitted executioner of the Divine displeasure. Such a power the law gives a jailer over the prisoner under sentence.
(2) This is the state of which we are made aware when convinced of sire Nor can we think of any plea for mitigating or removing the sentence of Divine justice. Finding ourselves in this dilemma, we are prepared for the revelation of Divine mercy. Jesus steps forth as an Almighty Deliverer. We see Him in the gospel offering His life, paying it into the hands of justice as a ransom for the deliverance of sinners. But this deliverance must be sued by us, accompanied with a reference by faith to the great ransom presented. Then it becomes applied, and we are set free.
(3) Our sentence being cancelled, Satan loses his rightful power over us. He retains his vexing, tempting, accusing power; but his right is g, no. By the removal of condemnation we are taken out of his custody for ever (Romans 8:1).
2. It is a deliverance from inbred sin, by means of new and holy tastes, inclinations, and principles. The faith by which we obtain deliverance from guilt and the power of Satan is a holy principle. There is a law in the mind now, stronger than the law of sin in the members, and overcoming its dictates (Romans 8:2).
3. It is a freedom of acting and moving in a noble and elevated condition. The converted person is the Lord's freeman. He serves Him in obeying His laws, reverencing His institutions, cherishing His image, cultivating His worship, and promoting His glory. This service is perfect freedom. It is the soul moving in its proper element, and feeling the pleasure which every creature enjoys so moving.Conclusion:
1. Observe the noble character of Christianity.
2. Those who are partakers of the spiritual freedom of the gospel have three appropriate exercises allotted to them.
(1) They should promote the natural and civil freedom of men, according to the dictates of the gospel, and in its spirit. The genius of the gospel is opposed to bondage and vassalage of every kind.
(2) By teaching men in the highest ranks to be just, they can hold none of their fellow-creatures in slavish and ignominious subjection. The reign of Christianity, therefore, must be productive of liberty.
(3) Anticipate for yourselves the liberty of heaven, and exult in the prospect. Your freedom is here only begun. You shall enter into full redemption.
(J. Leifchild, D. D.)
Parallel VersesKJV: 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.