Christian freedom, in my opinion, consists of three parts.
The first: that the consciences of believers, in seeking assurance of their justification before God, should rise above and advance beyond the law, forgetting all law righteousness.
The second part, dependent upon the first, is that consciences observe the law, not as if constrained by the necessity of the law, but that freed from the law’s yoke they willingly obey God’s will.
The third part of Christian freedom lies in this: regarding outward things that are of themselves “indifferent,” we are not bound before God by any religious obligation preventing us from sometimes using them and other times not using them, indifferently.
Accordingly, it is perversely interpreted both by those who allege it as an excuse for their desires that they may abuse God’s good gifts to their own lust and by those who think that freedom does not exist unless it is used before men, and consequently, in using it have no regard for the weaker brethren. Nothing is plainer than this rule: that we should use our freedom if it results in the edification of our neighbor, but if it does not help our neighbor, then we should forego it.
—John Calvin (1509-1564)