Of Christian Liberty and Liberty of Conscience.
Chapter 21, Paragraph 1.
“….All which were common also to believers under the law for the substance of them; but under the New Testament the liberty of Christians is further enlarged, in their freedom from the yoke of a 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.”
The freedoms that Christ purchased for His people are for all of His people. Throughout history, every elect believer has received the liberties procured for them by Christ: freedom from the guilt of sin, freedom from bondage to Satan, freedom from everlasting damnation, and so on. Believers before the coming of Christ also enjoyed such liberty. They did not have to fear condemnation, or the curse of the Law, for they had faith in the One that was to come.
Although the price of Redemption was not actually paid by Christ, till after his Incarnation, yet the virtue, efficacy, and benefit thereof were communicated to the Elect in all ages successively… (LBCF 8.3)
While both Old and New Testament believers partake of the liberties Christ has purchased, those believers on this side of the cross have been given a fuller extent of those liberties. The ceremonial law is no longer binding on believers, as the One to whom it pointed has come. Old Testament saints, however, were still to sacrifice constantly for sin, obeying the commands of God. Through Christ’s intercession, we can boldly approach the throne with a greater confidence than those saints that lived before Him. While believers in the Old Testament also were regenerated, the intricate knowledge of regeneration, and the work of Spirit, were not as clear to them. The Holy Spirit guides us into all truth, and that truth is revealed to a greater extent to Christians through God’s Word:
The whole Counsel of God concerning all things necessary for his own Glory, Man’s Salvation, Faith and Life, is either expressly set down or necessarily contained in the Holy Scripture…” (LBCF 1.6)
Our union in Christ enables believers from all epochs to share every spiritual blessing in common. Yet the fullness of time has come, and we now see in greater part the glory of salvation through Christ. Old Testament saints need not be pitied, but we should rejoice that much more in our deeper liberty through Christ.
Questions to Consider
- What do Christians have in common with Old Testament saints? What do we have that is different?