Thursday, February 16, 2017

Dodd: Paul's meaning for freedom (II)

Thursday, February 16, 2017
    Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come.
    —2 Corinthians 5:17 (ESV)
    [Continued from yesterday]
    The result of all this is that the Christian is a free man. It is here to be observed that the term “freedom” is ambiguous in common usage. It is sometimes used to imply that a man can do just as he likes, undetermined by any external force. To this the determinist replies that as a matter of fact this freedom is so limited by the laws which condition man’s empirical existence as to be illusory. The rejoinder from the advocates of free will is that no external force can determine a man’s moral conduct (and with mere automatism we are not concerned), unless it is presented in consciousness, and that in being so presented it becomes a desire, a temptation, or a motive. In suffering himself to be determined by these, the man is not submitting to external control, but to something which he has already made a part of himself, for good or ill. When, however, we have said that, we are faced with a further problem. Not all that is desired is desirable, and in being moved by my immediate desire I may be balking myself of that ultimate satisfaction which is the real object of all effort. If that is so, then to “do as I like” may well be no freedom at all. There is a law of our being which forbids satisfaction to be found along that line, as it is written, “He gave them their desire, and sent leanness into their souls.” (Ps. 106:15) [Continued tomorrow]
    ... C. Harold Dodd (1884-1973), The Meaning of Paul for Today, London: Swarthmore, 1920, reprint, Fount Paperbacks, 1978, p. 135 (see the book)
    See also 2 Cor. 5:17; Ps. 106:15; Isa. 43:18-19; John 8:32-36; Rom. 8:9; Gal. 5:1,13
Quiet time reflection:
    Lord, may I know the freedom that is in Christ.
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