LIBERTY IN THE SPIRIT – 2 Corinthians 3:17
As a church, we continue to make strides of progress in fulfilling our part of the Great Commission. Year by year, we grow in the grace of the Lord, and are led by His Spirit in our acts, as a New Testament model church. Having been through several phases of the Spirit’s involvement with us, we now venture into a totally refreshing arena, where we are liberated by the same Spirit to function. We are liberated because we belong to Christ. That is why we have chosen to express this year’s theme in the words of Apostle Paul to the Corinthians, “where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty”.
The context of this statement, 2 Corinthians chapter 3, reveals a sharp difference between the glories of the New and the Old Covenants. Though the Old Covenant brought some glorious relief to the people of God, it still had a grievouslimitation. Paul even describes it as a “ministry of death” in verse 7. Though it was revealed under glorious circumstances, with signs and wonders, the children of Israel could not even look at the countenance of Moses; it eventually brought death and destruction to the recipients.
Paul further describes the glorious older covenant under Moses, as “the ministry of condemnation” in verse 9, because it did not spare the very people who were beneficiaries. Again Paul mentions that the old order contained glory that was passing away; glory that was transient; glory that was veiled or covered. It became necessary for God to change the order. He therefore, through the prophets, promised a New Covenant which would liberate the people of God.
Consequently, Paul explains the provisions of the New Covenant under Christ, and affirms that the new arrangement offers us Salvation, Sufficiency, Sustenance, and Security. As believers, and “ministers of the New Covenant”, we have received glory that is permanent; glory that is righteous; glory that is life-imparting; and glory that exceeds the older order.
To crown it all, Paul makes the most amazing revelation about this new order. He explains that the bondage of the previous covenant exists because of the Law, and also because it came through Moses, who was a servant of the Lord. However, in the case of the New Covenant, it came through the Spirit; and since the Lord Himself is the Spirit, He brings us freedom wherever His presence is found. In this era of the Holy Spirit, the Lord offers liberty to those who Invite Him; those who Involve Him; and those who Invest in Him.
The liberty granted us suggests that we are no longer under bondage of keeping the Law of Moses, neither is it a liberty for us to be complacent, and without obligation. Rather, it is a propelling and compelling liberty that should express itself in our Engagement, Evangelism, Expansion, and Establishment.
LIBERTY TO ENGAGE
Though a spiritual organism, the Church exists as a physical organization to carry out its mission on earth. To accomplish this, the church engages with political, social, and religious institutions in and around its context. To these, the Church is the Salt and the Light. Our engagement with these structures should impact them positively, and influence them for the Kingdom of God. For this, we have the LIBERTY.
LIBERTY TO EVANGELIZE
The liberty in the Spirit is not without responsibilities. Having crossed over into the Kingdom of Light, and having surrendered to a superior Ruler, we take on ourselves His Vision and His Mission. He came to Seek and to Save that which is lost, and has left us with the Ministry of Reconciliation. It therefore behooves on us to do likewise. The Vision 3000 is not only the vision of the leadership of Assemblies of God, Ghana, but is also the heartbeat of the Saviour. For this, we have the LIBERTY.
LIBERTY TO EXPAND
One cardinal principle of the Kingdom of God is expansion.This is made abundantly clear in several of the parables of Jesus in connection with the Kingdom. The Mustard Seed principle ought to be experienced within the confines of the liberty in the Spirit. As a church, we have experienced growth and expansion over the years, but now, more than ever before, we need to reach every nook and cranny of the nation with the presence of the Gospel. The Assemblies of God logo and banner should be present in every town and village. For this, we have the LIBERTY.
LIBERTY TO ESTABLISH
When a mustard seed is put into the soil, and germinates, it becomes a big tree that gives shelter to the birds of the air, and shade to the beasts of the field. Our church has come of age. With all the limitations broken by the Spirit of God, nothing stops us from establishing projects and institutions that will serve as our interventions in national development. Not only must our voices be heard, but also our works must be seen. Establishing clinics, schools, universities, factories, and several others should be part of our social vision. For this, we have the LIBERTY.
In the year 2017, as a church organization, we continue to embrace the liberating presence of the Spirit as we embark on massive church planting. Liberty in the Spirit should propel us in the direction of unprecedented impact and influence.