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Chapter XXI : Of Christian Liberty and Liberty of Conscience

1. 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 (a) Curse of the Law; and in their being delivered from this present evil (b) World, Bondage to (c) Satan, and Dominion (d) of Sin; from the (e) Evil of Afflictions; the Fear, and Sting (f) of Death, the Victory of the Grave, and (g) Everlasting Damnation; as also in their (h) free access to God; and their yielding Obedience unto him not out of a slavish fear, (i) but a Child-like love, and willing mind. All which were common also to Believers under the Law (k) for the substance of them; but under the new Testament, the Liberty of Christians is further enlarged in their freedom from the yoke of the 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 (l) Free Spirit of God, then Believers under the Law did ordinarily partake of.

a Gal. 3.13.

b Gal. 1.4.

c Act. 26.18.

d Rom. 8.3.

e Rom. 8.28.

f 1 Cor. 15.54,55,56.57.

g 2 Thes. 1.10.

h Rom. 8.15.

i Luk. 1.74,75. 1 Joh. 4 18.

k Gal 3:9,14

l Joh. 7.38,39. Heb. 10, 19,20,21.

2. God alone is (m) Lord of the Conscience, and hath left it free from the Doctrines and Commandments of men, (n) which are in any thing contrary to his Word, or not contained in it. So that to Believe such Doctrines, or obey such Commands out of Conscience, (o) is to betray true liberty of Conscience; and the requiring of an (p) implicit Faith, and absolute and blind Obedience, is to destroy Liberty of Conscience, and Reason also.

m Jam. 4.12, Rom. 14.4.

n Act. 4.19 & 5.29. 1 Cor. 7.23. Mat. 15.9

o Col: 2.20 22,23

p 1 Cor. 3.5: 2 Cor. 1.24.

3. They who upon pretence of Christian Liberty do practice any sin, or cherish any sinfull lust; as they do thereby pervert the main design of the Grace of the Gospel, (q) to their own Destruction; so they wholy destroy (r) the end of Christian Liberty, which is, that being delivered out of the hands of all our Enemies we might serve the Lord without fear in Holiness, and Righteousness before him, all the days of our Life.

q Rom. 6.1,2.

r Gal. 5.13. 2 Pet. 2.18.-21.

The 1677/89 Baptist London Confession of Faith

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On Reading the Bible Pt 1

The preaching of the gospel being an instituted means of grace, ought to be thankfully and frequently improved. And books that have a savoir and unction may likewise be helpful, provided we read them with caution, compare them with the scripture, and do not give ourselves implicitly to the rules or decisions of any man or set of men, but remember that one is our Master and infallible Teacher, even Christ. But the chief and grand means of edification, without which all other helps will disappoint us, and prove like clouds without water, are the Bible and prayer, the word of grace and the throne of grace. A frequent perusal of the Bible will give us an enlarged and comprehensive view of the whole of religion, its origin, nature, genius, and tendency, and preserve us from an over-attachment to any system of man’s compilation. The fault of the several systems, under which, as under so many banners, the different denominations of Christians are ranged, is, that there is usually something left out which ought to have been taken in, and something admitted, of supposed advantage, not authorized by the scriptural standard. A Bible Christian, therefore, will see much to approve in a variety of forms and parties; the providence of God may lead or fix him in a more immediate connection with some one of them, but his spirit and affection will not be confined within these narrow enclosures. He insensibly borrows and unites that which is excellent in each, perhaps without knowing how far he agrees with them, because he finds all in the written word.

John Newton—A Letter Written to a Certain Madam