Friday, July 24, 2009

Free to edify

Calvin's Institutes (1559)
Book 3 of 4 - How We Receive the Grace of Christ

Chapter 19 - Christian Freedom
10-13 - Christian freedom and offending weaker brothers

10. Some think you don't have the freedom unless you use it, but you are as free when you abstain as when you use a gift of God. Some think you don't have the freedom unless you use it before men, but we must remember not to stumble the weak. We DO have to declare our freedom before men, at times.
11. An offense is given when something is done out of place, by the doer's fault, stumbling the weak. Rom 14:1, 13; 15:1-2; 1 Cor 8:9; 10:25, 29, 32; Gal 5:13. An offense is received when the act is appropriate, but received with ill will or intent, by a Pharisaical mind. Matt 15:12-14. "We shall so temper the use of our freedom as to allow for the ignorance of our weak brothers, but for the rigor of the Pharisees, not at all!"
12. Continuing the distinction, Paul circumcised Timothy, to not stumble the weak and to be a Jew to the Jews - Acts 16:3; 1 Cor 9:19-20, 22. But he would not circumcise Titus, to resist the Pharisees - Gal 2:3-5. "We should use our freedom if it results in the edification of our neighbor, but if it does not help our neighbor, then we should forgo it." See 1 Cor 10:23-24.
13. We may not offend God, while saying we are trying to accommodate a weaker brother. Rome does this, saying the Mass is like milk for weak Christians, when it is really poison that offends God.

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