From a teaching series on Worship, this lesson explored the notions of Sphere Sovereignty and the limits of authority that God has placed upon certain institutions. It then explored the notion of Liberty of Conscience and how it affects our understanding of corporate Worship.
The lesson notes can be downloaded here: Christian Liberty and Liberty of Conscience
Westminster Confession of Faith, Chapter XX
Of Christian Liberty, and Liberty of Conscience
I. 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 curse of the moral law; and, in their being delivered from this present evil world, bondage to Satan, and dominion of sin; from the evil of afflictions, the sting of death, the victory of the grave, and everlasting damnation; as also, in their free access to God, and their yielding obedience unto him, not out of slavish fear, but a childlike love and willing mind. All which were common also to believers under the law. 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 free Spirit of God, than believers under the law did ordinarily partake of.
Then Pharisees and scribes came to Jesus from Jerusalem and said, “Why do your disciples break the tradition of the elders? For they do not wash their hands when they eat.” He answered them, “And why do you break the commandment of God for the sake of your tradition? For God commanded, “˜Honor your father and your mother,’ and, “˜Whoever reviles father or mother must surely die.’ But you say, “˜If anyone tells his father or his mother, “What you would have gained from me is given to God,”he need not honor his father.’ So for the sake of your tradition you have made void the wordof God. You hypocrites! Well did Isaiah prophesy of you, when he said:“”˜This people honors me with their lips, but their heart is far from me; in vain do they worship me, teaching as doctrines the commandments of men.'”
I picked out one of the posts from the PuritanBoard to discuss an issue with respect to liberty. bfrank writes:
A few years ago I was sitting outside on a patio enjoying a pint with a buddy, having theological and personal discussions…there was absolutely no problem in my conscience or faith about the issue. I knew the Scriptures did not condemn alcohol, but drunkeness. One thing we both gleaned from the afternoon was that if Jesus Christ Himself walked into the place we would have no problem whatsoever. However, if some of the members from church walked in it would be a very uncomfortable situation. Of course this caused further study on my part so that I was certain I wasn't using my liberty for license and that I was on solid biblical ground.