Posted by: William | April 3, 2008

The True Bounds of Christian Freedom

A few days back I finished Samuel Bolton’s puritan classic, True Bounds of Christian Freedom. In the world of puritan literature, this one was definitely among the easier to read.

 

In this work, Baxter’s aim was to make clear what it means to have Christian “freedom” and where exactly the law falls into the equation. There is a certain sense of ambiguity throughout the church as to the answer to both of those questions. Some will claim their freedom over all kinds of things they shouldn’t, while some who ought to be free to live in move are paralyzed for lack of understanding their true freedom in Christ.

 

In nine chapters and 224 pages, Baxter endeavors to thoroughly answer each of the following questions:

 

  1. Does our being made free by Christ free us from the law?

  2. Does our being made free by Christ deliver us from all punishments or chastisements [from God] for sin?

  3. Is it consistent with Christian freedom to be under obligation to perform duties because God has commanded them?

  4. My Christ’s freedmen come into bondage again through sin?

  5. Is it consistent with Christian freedom to perform duties out of respect for the recompense of the reward?

  6. Does the freedom of a Christian free him from all obedience to men?

Each chapter, Baxter thoroughly and a biblically makes his case for the answer of each of these questions. Some of the questions appear somewhat elementary, but even still Baxter makes some valuable, encouraging and challenging points.

 

I enjoyed this book at some times more than at others. There were parts that became overwhelmingly dry, while others seemed rich with metaphor and content that kept my mind turning over different thoughts. There was at least one time in this book where the information contained completely lit up my understanding of life, sin, death, Jesus and atonement and then subsequent freedom. It made the interlocking nature of the two covenants become very clear and there connection to each other was no longer hazy. The five or ten pages alone that produced that understanding made the book worth the read.

 

I really think that Christian freedom is something that is not well understood in our churches today, but needs to be. We have it saturating so much of our Christian multimedia and conversation, but most of the time it doesn’t produce heart level bondage to righteousness, as it should, but instead acts as an unjust ease of conscience on men and women who wish to go on sinning.

 

I think this book has a great deal of encouragement and challenge to offer the church today, but may not be the most accessible to average readers. While it is easier than a lot of classic literature, a lot of the wording will probably be lost on people. I would highly recommend this book to anyone who feels their understanding of law and freedom is deficient, but be warned, you’ll have to stay committed to the book in order to benefit from it.

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Responses

  1. I’m just curious….before I read the book, which I am very interested in….

    Does it hold the view (generally speaking) that the New Covenant of Christ is complete or that it is “added to” the Old Covenant as a continuation????

    Know what I mean??

    Thanks,

    Corwin

  2. I would say that Baxter holds that the New Covenant of Christ is complete in the sense that it is not dependent on the old. Christ completed the old covenant and made the new covenant possible. They are separate entities, although connected to one another by Christ.


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