Friday, July 24, 2009

Freedom from condemnation, to obey and enjoy

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

Chapter 19 - Christian Freedom
1-3 - Introduction
1. Our liberty is an important extension of our justification. We either go hog wild with it, into sin, or we are so afraid of it doing just that.
2. There are three parts to our freedom. ONE: our conscience, "worried how to render God favorable," should be free of trying to use the law to do so.
3. This is the main point of Galatians - Gal 3:13; 5:1-4; 4:5.

4-6 - part two of three: freedom obeys the law
4. TWO: "freed from the law's yoke they willingly obey God's will." We can't keep the first commandment of the law (Deut 6:5), anyway.
5. We can seek to obey the law, not daring approach God before having done each task. Or we can seek to obey God joyfully as children, free to offer Him our imperfect works, with confidence He will accept us - Mal 3:17.
6. We need not fear God's judgment on us for the remants of sin in us, justified as we are by faith - Heb 11; Rom 6:12-14.

7-9 - part three of three: freedom in indifferent things
7. We need to understand this, or "our consciences will have no repose and there will be no end to superstitions." If we think it wrong to use a certain fine linen, we'll eventually think it wrong to use anything but the most coarse. If we think it wrong to drink sweet wine, we'll eventually think it wrong to drink water that is cleaner and sweeter than other water. Scruples tend to multiply beyond God's Word. "he will come to the point of considering it wrong to step upon a straw across his path."
8. We should receive all lawful things with gratitude (1 Tim 4:4-5), and use them as God intended without troubled conscience.
9. Luxuries are indifferent things, "provided they are used indifferently," but not when coveted, boasted of, or shown off. They become sin when used by corrupt men - Titus 1:15; Luke 6:24-25; Amos 6:4; Isa 5:8, 12. "Where there is plenty, to wallow in delights, to gorge oneself, to intoxicate mind and heart with present pleasures and be always panting after new ones - such are very far removed from a lawful use of God's gifts."

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