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In the context of II Cor. 3: 18, we meet with the passage that says:
"Where the spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty" (17).
Moreover, we learn from Heb. 3: that Moses was a `servant' but that Christ was a
`Son'. These words `spirit', `son', `liberty', are key words of Rom. 8:, the next
passage to which we must turn.
I Cor. 15: 28.
pp. 201 - 204
The attainment of a goal not only involves Purpose, Wisdom and Power, but when the
attainment of that goal includes moral creatures, who are free to love and serve, but also
free to disobey, then margin must be allowed for moral lapses, sin may manifest itself,
Redemption may be necessary, Reconciliation and Salvation, Death and Resurrection, all
may be involved before such a goal, with such materials, can be reached. We have no
need to labour this point, the whole testimony of Scripture and the witness of history are
unanimous on the subject. James knew that the tongue of man might be used not only in
the blessing of God, but in the cursing of man made in the similitude of God.
Man, as a son of Adam, quite irrespective of nationality, whether Jew or Gentile, was
made in the image and after the likeness of the Creator, but man, irrespective of
nationality, whether Jew or Gentile, degraded the high glory of his Maker, and in so
doing degraded the high dignity of his own calling, by falling into the senseless sin of
idolatry. Today, surrounded by the evidences of `civilization', with science laying bare
the innermost secrets of matter, and man triumphing in the physical conquest of earth, sea
and sky, the idea of anyone becoming an `idolater' seems absurd, yet we have to face the
fact that idolatry has been well nigh universal, that it is confined to no class or period,
that it was the snare not only of the ignorant barbarian, but of the people of Israel and of
the men of Athens and moreover, that idolatry was seriously discussed in the early church
(Acts 15: 20); in the epistles of Paul (I & II Corinthians; Galatians; Ephesians); by
Peter (I Pet. 4: 3) and in the book of the future, the Revelation.
The epistle that contains the glorious determination of the God of all grace that His
believing people shall one day be "conformed to the image of His Son" is the one that
reveals the folly and degradation of the image of God in man. All indeed have sinned
and come short of the glory of God. Man, as we have already seen is "the image and
glory of God" (I Cor. 11: 7), and we have the Apostle's own argument to confirm our
thought that this very fact alone should have made idolatry impossible (Rom. 1: 23).
Speaking in a city renowned alike for its `wisdom' as for its `idolatry', namely
Athens, Paul said: