Chapter 21: Of Christian Liberty and Liberty of Conscience
Are Christians free? How are Christians free? What does this liberty consist of? Are we free to sin?
- The liberty which Christ hath purchased for believers under the gospel, consists in their freedom from the guilt of sin, the condemning wrath of God, the rigour and curse of the law, 1 and in their being delivered from this present evil world, bondage to Satan, and dominion of sin, 2 from the evil of afflictions, the fear and sting of death, the victory of the grave, and everlasting damnation: 3 as also in their free access to God, and their yielding obedience unto Him, not out of slavish fear, but a child-like love and willing mind. 4
All which were common also to believers under the law for the substance of them; 5 but under the New Testament the liberty of Christians is further enlarged, in their freedom from the yoke of a ceremonial law, to which the Jewish church was subjected, and in greater boldness of access to the throne of grace, and in fuller communications of the free Spirit of God, than believers under the law did ordinarily partake of. 6
- John 3:36; Rom. 8:33; Gal. 3:13
- Gal. 1:4; Eph. 2:1-3; Col. 1:13; Acts 26:18; Rom. 6:14-18; 8:3
- Rom. 8:28; 1 Cor. 15:54-57; 1 Thess. 1:10; Heb. 2:14-15
- Eph. 2:18; 3:12; Rom. 8:15; 1 John 4:18
- John 8:32; Ps. 19:7-9; 119:14, 24, 45, 47, 48, 72, 97; Rom. 4:5-11; Gal. 3:9; Heb. 11:27, 33-34
- John 1:17; Heb. 1:1-2a;7:19, 22; 8:6, 9:23, 11:40; Gal. 2:11f.; 4:1-3; Col. 2:16-17; Heb. 10:19-21; John 7:38-39
The freedom and liberty which Christ hath purchased for believers under the gospel consists in the freedom from the dominion of sin, the punishment for sin and the free access (Eph. 2:18; 3:12), which we received through Christ, to God. Furthermore, our obedience to God and His commandments is not out of slavish fear (1John 4:18), but a child-like love and willing mind (Rom. 8:14-15). We obey because we love our Father and not because we are afraid of how He might punish us. In our obedience there is reverence, but no fear of punishment or condemnation. All these things were common also to believers under the law although those living under the law were still under the yoke of a ceremonial law (e.g. Col. 2:16-17), which believers under the New Testament are not. With the doing away of the ceremonial law, we have a greater boldness of access to the throne of grace (Heb. 4:16) now that we know what Christ has accomplished and what it means for us. The Spirit of God is more fully communicated to us with His gifts and graces than believers under the law did ordinarily partake of (John 7:38-39). There are no believers without the Holy Spirit, but under the New Testament, there is a fuller communication of the free Spirit of God.
The Children Of God Are Freed From
Oh, brothers and sisters, how thankful should we be to our Lord for the many liberties which He has blessed us with as His children. The Confession mentions ten things which we have been freed from. As His children and followers of the Lord Jesus Christ, we are slaves to no one, but God. Paradoxically, true freedom comes from slavery to none other than Christ. We belong to Him and we are called to walk in freedom (Gal. 5:1). We are under grace and are free, but our freedom does not consist in doing our own will, but the will of the Father and seeking His good p...