一.基督为在福音之下的信徒所买赎的自由包括:免除罪债的自由,脱离上帝定罪之震怒的自由,和脱离道德律的咒诅的自由(多2:14;帖前1:10;加3:13);又把他们从现今这邪恶的世界、撒但的捆绑、罪恶的辖制(加1:4;西1:13;徒26:18;罗6:14)、苦难的煎熬、死亡的毒钩、坟墓得胜的权势和永远的定罪中,救拔出来(罗8:28;诗119:71;林前15:54-57;罗8:1);也使他们得以自由地进到上帝面前(罗5:1-2),顺服祂,不是由于奴仆的恐惧,而是由于孩子一般的爱和乐意的心(罗8:14-15;约壹4:18)。这一切也属于在律法之下的信徒(加3:9,14);但在新约之下,基督徒的自由更加扩大,他们从犹太人教会所服从的礼仪律的轭下得了自由(加4:1-3,6,7;5:1;徒15:10-11),并且能更加坦然无惧地进到施恩宝座前(来4:14,16;10:19-22),与上帝自由之灵有交通,这交通比在律法之下的信徒通常所享有的更丰盛(约7:38-39;林后3:13,17,18)。

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 a 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.

二.惟有上帝是良心的主宰(雅4:12;罗14:4),并使良心在信仰或崇拜上,不受那些违背圣经或在圣经之外的属人的各种主义与命令的束缚(徒4:19;5:29;林前7:23;太23:8-10;林后1:24;太15:9)。所以人若本乎良心相信此类主义,或遵守此类命令,乃是背叛良心的真自由(西2:20-23;加1:10;5:1;2:4-5);若要求人毫无保留地相信,绝对地、盲目地服从,这乃是毁灭人良心和理性的自由(罗10:17;14:23;赛8:20;徒17:11;约4:22;何5:11;启13:12,16,17;耶8:9)。

God alone is Lord of the conscience, and hath left it free from the doctrines and commandments of men which are in any thing contrary to His Word, or beside it in matters of faith or worship. So that to believe such doctrines, or to obey such commandments out of conscience, is to betray true liberty of conscience; and the requiring an implicit faith, and an absolute and blind obedience, is to destroy liberty of conscience, and reason also.

三.凡假借基督徒自由之名犯罪纵欲的,乃是破坏基督徒自由的真谛;因为主叫我们从仇敌手中被救出来,是为要叫我们终身在祂面前坦然无惧地用圣洁公义事奉祂(加5:13;彼前2:16;彼后2:19;约8:34;路1:74-75)。

They who, upon pretense of Christian liberty, do practice any sin, or cherish any lust, do thereby destroy the end of Christian liberty; which is, that, being delivered out of the hands of our enemies, we might serve the Lord without fear, in holiness and righteousness before Him, all the days of our life.

四.并且因为上帝的意思不是要叫祂所设立的权柄与基督为我们所买赎的自由互相毁坏,而是使二者互相维持,彼此保守;所以,凡假借基督徒自由之名反对国家或教会的任何合乎律法的权柄,或其行使的人,都是抗拒上帝的命令(太12:25;彼前2:13-15;罗13:1-8;来13:17)。凡人所发表的意见,或支持的行为,若违背自然之光,或违反基督教关于信仰、崇拜或品行的已知原则,或违反敬虔的实意,以及凡在其本身性质上,或在其发表和提倡的方式上,有损基督在教会中所设立的和平与秩序的荒谬意见和行为,都可以根据教会的审查,和国家官员的权柄(申13:6-12;罗13:3,4;约贰10,11节;拉7:23-28;启17:12,16,17;尼13:15,17,21,22,25,30;王下23:5,6,9,20,21;代下34 :33;15:12,13,16;但3:29;提前2:2;赛49:23;亚13:2,3),予以传唤,令其做出解释,受到合法的制裁( 罗1:32;林前5:1,5,11,13;约贰10,11节;帖后3:14;提前6:3-5,又多1:10,11,13又3:10;太18:15-17;提前1:19,20;启2:2,14-15,20,3:9)。

And because the powers which God hath ordained, and the liberty which Christ hath purchased, are not intended by God to destroy, but mutually to uphold and preserve one another; they who, upon pretence of Christian liberty, shall oppose any lawful power, or the lawful exercise of it, whether it be civil or ecclesiastical, resist the ordinance of God. And, for their publishing of such opinions, or maintaining of such practices, as are contrary to the light of nature, or to the known principles of Christianity, whether concerning faith, worship, or conversation; or, to the power of godliness; or, such erroneous opinions or practices, as either in their own nature, or in the manner of publishing or maintaining them, are destructive to the external peace and order which Christ hath established in the church, they may lawfully be called to account, and proceeded against by the censures of the church.