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Broad River Baptist Association (NC)
      Beloved Brethren: - The subject on which we have thought proper to address you this year is that of Christian Liberty - a subject which you will discover is of great importance, if you consider the great price with which it was purchased, viz: the precious blood of Christ. For when we speak of Christian Liberty, we mean a liberty peculiar to christiaus - that is, a liberty to which none but christians are entitled. You will observe, Brethren, that the term, liberty is, in its meaning, very copious, embracing a variety of ideas, and consequently is liable to misconstruction. We shall therefore through the whole of this address speak of liberty and freedom, as being synonymous terms. These things being promised, we proceed to state briefly in the first place what we understand by the term. Christian Liberty, and secondly, how that liberty may be abused. First, our blessed Lord speaks of the state
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of wrath and condemnation in which sinners are by nature in a state of slavery to sin. John viii. 34. "Whosoever committeth sin is the servant of sin;" consequently, to be delivered from the guilt of sin, maybe considered Christian liberty. For Christ says, "If the Son therefore shall make you free, ye shall be free indeed." John viii. 36. And the Apostle Paul says, "The law of the spirit of life in Christ Jesus hath made me free from the law of sin and death." Romans viii. 2. Furthermore, by Christian liberty or freedom, we may understand freedom from the wrath of God and the curse of His law. For the Apostle saith, "Christ hath redeemed us from the curse of the law, being made a curse for us." Galatians iii. 13. Much more to the same purport might be said: as freedom from the sting of death - victory over the grave, &c., but our limits forbid us to proceed.

      The liberty of which we have been speaking was common to the saints under the Old Testament dispensation as well as under the New; but under the dispensation of the New Testament Christ hath greatly enlarged the liberty of His church, by delivering them from the yoke of the ceremonial law. To this subject the Apostle evidently alludes, when he says: "Stand fast therefore in the liberty wherewith Christ hath made us free." Galatians v. 1. Our blessed High Priest has freed us from those numerous ceremonies to which the Jewish church was subject - those ceremonies having received their accomplishment in Him, and He having entered into Heaven, where He lives and pleads His own merits in behalf of His church. To this subject the Apostle evidently alludes when he says, "Seeing then, that we have a great High Priest that is passed into the heavens - Jesus, the Son of God - let us hold fast our profession." Hebrews iv, 14. Christian liberty further consists in a privilege to use and enjoy, in a lawful manner, those temporal blessings which God has provided for mankind in common - such as eating, drinking, etc., together with all the real or lawful enjoyments arising from the nuptial or social life.

     Having briefly stated what we understand by Christian libertv, we come secondly to speak of the way in which that liberty may be abused. 1st, when professors of Christianity indulge in the practice of licentiousness, or sin of any kind, they abuse Christian liberty, as is evident from the words of the Apostle; for in the epistle to the Galatians he speaks thus: "For, brethren, ye have been called unto liberty: only use not liberty for an occasion to the flesh, but by love serve one another." Galatians v. 13. For although the saints "are not under the law, but under grace;" yet they have not liberty to transgress the law, nor can they transgress it without chastisement Romans vi. 13, 14; Hebrews xii. 5, 6, 7, &c., and placed in a state of justification before God, through the merits of the atonement of Christ We indulge in the neglect of any of those duties which are enjoined on us as Christians; we, in that case, abuse Christian liberty. For Christ hath not freed His people from the curse of the moral law, and from the yoke of the ceremonial law, to indulge them in slothful or careless neglect of the ordinances of His Gospel; "but now

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being made free from sin, and become servants to God," &c. Romans vi. 22. So that if we are free from sin, we are the servants of God, and we cannot be the servants of God except we serve Him; nor can we serve Him in the neglect of His ordinances; so we see that we are not at liberty to neglect any of those. And we have reason to believe, if we are willing to indulge ourselves in sin, or in any respect to neglect the duties of religion, that we are yet under sin, however highly we may endeavor to Halter ourselves to the contrary. Indeed, we have no right to claim the promises of the Gospel if we indulge in sin, and thus abuse our liberty. For our blessed Lord says, "He that hath my commandments stud keepeth them, he it is that loveth me." John xiv. 20. Again, "If a man love me, he will keep my words; and my Father will love him," &c. Thus, brethren, we see that although Christians under the Gospel are freed from the ceremonies of the Jewish law, from the condemning power of the moral law, and have liberty to come to the throne of grace and plead the merits of their blessed High Priest, yet they have no liberty to neglect the ordinances of the Gospel, or to indulge in sin. Let them know that they are abusing Christian liberty, wounding the cause of their blessed Redeemer, the feelings of their pious brethren, and are bringing darkness on their own minds, and must finally answer for such conduct to God.

     "And now, brethren, we commend you to God and to the Word of His grace," praying that He may give you grace to rightfully appreciate your liberty as Christians." Farewell!

Thomas Bomar.
October l5th. 1824.

[From John R. Logan, Sketches, Historical and Biographical, of the Broad River and King's Mountain Baptist Associations, (NC) From 1800 to 1882, 1887, pp. 271-273. Document from Google Books. Scanned and formatted by Jim Duvall.]

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