God promises us liberty and freedom. People often use the phrase, “I have my liberty!”
Yet this statement can at times be made to justify wilful and selfish actions taken without regard to the hurt caused to others. So, what does it look like to possess true liberty from a biblical perspective?
2 Corinthians 3:16-17 (NKJV) Nevertheless when one turns to the Lord, the veil is taken away. Now the Lord is (the) Spirit; and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty.
But where is that liberty to be found? It is found “where the Spirit of the Lord is” – in HIS presence! He dwells in the spirit world, beyond the veil. True ‘liberty’ is not in our world, it’s in HIS world!
And here is the most interesting and empowering thought. The definition of ‘liberty’ is, “A legitimate freedom to pursue, as in the granting of a visa or the right to cross the border.”
It can also apply to one getting official notification that they are free to leave prison (to step over the threshold) and embrace the rights of citizenship again.
Our ‘liberty’ is the authentication of our right to cross the border, our right of access into His presence and His throne room! We have been granted the liberty, freedom, to enter His presence and not be consumed. In fact, we are lovingly accepted and enthusiastically embraced!
2 Corinthians 3:18 (NKJV) But we all, with unveiled face, beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory, just as by the Spirit of the Lord.
Let me read that passage from the original Greek, the phrase ‘beholding as in a mirror’: “Seeing the Lord with the intent and fervent desire of being mirrored to HIS image, we are being transformed into the same image.”
Friends, it is the fervent desire and intent of being a mirror of His image, of who He is, that allows the transformation to take place as we are beholding Him in His presence.
We have an example in Exodus 34 in which Moses, because of his passionate desire to encounter God’s presence personally, catches a small glimpse of God as He passed by. Moses was so transformed by that experience, glowing with a heavenly light, that even those who knew him really well were fearful of approaching him!
It is impossible to spend time in His actual Spirit presence, communing with him in intimacy, with a passionate desire to be like him, to be mirrored into His image, and not be changed by that experience. But there is also a challenge.
Hebrews 12:14 (NKJV) Pursue peace with all people and holiness, without which no one will see the Lord.
In other words:
- Pursue peace (get your attitudes right)
- Pursue holiness (purity, truth, transparency, authenticity) – “without which no one will see the Lord” Or, without which no one will experience a “beholding Him face to face” encounter!
Oh, believers might pray to Him, they might sing to Him, they might witness concerning Him, but they will not see Him. They will not experience being ‘in spirit’ – they will not live beyond the veil in intimacy experiencing the wonder of the dimension in which He dwells! To them relationship with God will always be a distant thing. The veil will always exist.
Why is this? Because sin cannot dwell in His presence! That still has not changed. A selfish attitude cannot dwell there! A proud or wilful attitude cannot dwell there! Such attitudes have no access. It’s not the person, it is sin that does not have access!
Hebrews 12:15-16 (NKJV) Looking carefully lest anyone fall short (fail to qualify) of the grace (the unmerited favour to enter the presence) of God; lest any root of bitterness springing up cause trouble, and by this many become defiled; lest there be any fornicator or profane person like Esau, who for one morsel of food sold his birthright.
My friends, because of Jesus, there is a grace extended to each one of us. This grace allows us to boldly enter into the very throne-room of God as our personal Father and be in awe of His power and know the wonder of His loving embrace. It’s incredible!
You and I can enter in beyond the veil into the most holy place! We have been given 24/7 access. But the Holy Spirit tells us in Hebrews 12 that there are things that will prevent that and will keep us (as Christians) out of His presence. Attitudes of self-gain cancel our ‘liberty’ to cross the border, our passport is stamped “NO ACCESS”.
Let me explain it to you this way… there are metal detectors at the airport. You can have a valid, legal boarding pass but if you carry scissors with you, you have to get rid of the scissors first before entrance is allowed.
Sin has not been given the right to cross the border into God’s throne-room! It has not been granted liberty! It cannot exist in the place of His holiness and power! It would be automatically incinerated.
I am not talking about committing an indiscretion out of ignorance or a spontaneous fault quickly repented of.
James 4:17 (NKJV) Therefore to him who knows (has full knowledge of) to do good, and does not do it (by intentional choice), to him it is sin.
Sin is not the action, it’s the deliberate disobedience, the defiance. “I will do it my way!” Those who wilfully and knowingly harbour that sin in their hearts (they refuse to give up the scissors at the gate) have no access. I’m not talking about a person’s salvation or going to heaven. I am talking about access to the intimacy and spiritual authority of His presence, the throne room of His power as a present tense reality! The capacity to be ‘in spirit’.
The veil to His presence has been taken away but it doesn’t change the nature and power of God! The nuclear reactor is still the nuclear reactor! And rules apply if you want to access that indescribable power.
When it says in Hebrews 12:14 that no one will ‘see’ – the word see in the original Greek means “to gaze (with wide-open eyes, as at something remarkable; to be in awe at what one is beholding and yet to fix ones gaze with great intentionality and resolve).” To make the decision to gaze in awe at that which is breath-taking! Amazing! Remarkable! Irresistible!
This seeing is not to necessarily see in physical form with human eyes (God is Spirit), but to be so intimately close to your Father’s heart in the realm of the spirit, your spirit at one with His spirit, that we see Him with the inner eye of revelation and insight, with Holy Spirit governed imagination. In that moment He becomes so incredibly real!
There is no veil between me and the realm of the spirit in which my Father dwells!
John ‘being in spirit’ saw! And every time a person has that encounter, everyone in the tangible world around them sees that little bit more of Jesus. The encounter is life-changing! The nature of Jesus was fully imparted to us at the moment of our born-again experience, but it takes the encounter with His presence (beyond the veil) to remove the outer shell of humanity and allow the light, that is now truly our own, to shine!
In these past few articles, I have been describing what it is like to live beyond the veil.
How do I know what that is like? Because, my friends, I am learning to live there! And it is so empowering and transformational that I find myself now addicted to His presence and His person. It is intoxicating.
The spirit realm, that other dimension beyond the veil, that unseen world, that place of His presence, is becoming more and more real to me every day of my life! The penny has finally dropped.
- I have free access
- I have been granted liberty to cross the border at any time
- I come boldly before His throne of grace
I don’t have to wait for special occasions when His world (His presence) invades mine – as wonderful as that is. I can, at any time, invade His! And the things He allows me to see, I run with, and I boldly pursue. My faith and obedience do not create anything. They simply draw that which He has already created in the world of the spirit into the world of the tangible.
My prayer for you is that your hunger and your obedience will be unconditional and that your passion to please Him will rip that veil apart and you will know the wonder of His Father’s heart in a life-transforming way.