lawcup

I know someone, who claims they are a believer in Christ and that grace rendered the Old Testament Scriptures outdated and the Biblical moral law irrelevant. They believe a false teaching that is called “antinomianism” which is a doctrine of demons straight from the pit of Hades.

Antinomian means “anti = against + nomian = law” against law or in opposition to the law

“The Gospel proclaims liberty from the ceremonial law: but binds you still faster under the moral law. To be freed from the ceremonial law is the Gospel liberty; to pretend freedom from the moral law is Antinomianism.” ~ Adam Clarke

The contemporary evangelical theologian J. I. Packer defines five strains of antinomianism:

1. Dualistic Antinomianism (Gnostic): This view sees salvation as for the soul only and bodily behavior as irrelevant both to God’s interest and the soul’s health…

2. Spirit-centered Antinomianism: …puts such trust in the Holy Spirit’s inward prompting as to deny any need to be taught by the law how to live. Freedom from the law as a way of salvation is assumed to bring with it freedom from the law as a guide to conduct.

3. Christ-centered Antinomianism: …argues that God sees no sin in believers, because they are in Christ, who kept the law for them, and therefore what they actually do makes no difference, if they keep believing.

4. Dispensational Antinomianism: …denies that biblical law is God’s direct command and affirms that the Bible’s imperative statements trigger the Word of the Spirit, which when it comes may or may not correspond exactly to what is written.

5. Situationist Antinomianism: …says that a motive and intention of love is all that God now requires of Christians, and the commands of the Decalogue and other ethical parts of scripture, for all that they are ascribed to God directly, are rules of thumb for loving, rules that love may at times disregard. ~ J. I. Packer (from Concise Theology pp 178-180)

Here is a short list of the errors of antinomianism:

1. How the antinomians view justification:

a. That the justification of sinners is an imminent and eternal act of God, not only preceding all acts of sin, but the very existence of the sinner himself, and so perfectly abolishing sin in our persons, that we are as clean from sin as Christ himself.

b. That justification by faith is no more but a manifestation to us of what God did before we were created. That because God laid His iniquities upon Christ, God cannot charge one sin upon a man who believes this teaching.

2. That men ought not to doubt of their faith, or question, whether we believe, or not: That we ought no more to question our faith than to question Christ.

3. That believers are not bound to confess sin, mourn for it, or pray for the forgiveness of it; because it was pardoned before it was committed; and pardoned sin is no sin.

4. That God sees no sin in believers, whatsoever sins they commit. That God can see no adultery, no lying, no blasphemy, and no deceit in believers for though believers do fall into such transgressions, yet all their sins being pardoned from eternity, they are no sins in them.

5. That God does not get angry with the elect, nor does he discipline them for their sins; and to say that he does so is an injurious reflection upon the justice of God.

6. That by God’s laying our iniquities upon Christ; he became as completely sinful as we, and we as completely righteous as Christ.

7. That believers need not fear either their own sins, or the sins of others for that neither their own, nor any other men’s sins can do them any harm, nor must they be concerned for their own salvation.

8. They will not allow the new covenant to be made properly with us, but with Christ for us; and that this covenant is all a promise, having no condition on our part. They do not absolutely deny that faith, repentance, and obedience are conditions in the new covenant; however, they say that the conditions are not on our part, but upon Christ; and that He repented, believed, and obeyed for us.

How the Word of God answers the antinomian:

Rom. 3.23-25

“For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and are justified by his grace as a gift, through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus, whom God put forward as propitiation by his blood, to be received by faith. This was to show God’s righteousness, because in his divine forbearance he had passed over former sins.”

Rom. 8.3-4, 30

“For God has done what the law, weakened by the flesh, could not do. By sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh and for sin, he condemned sin in the flesh, in order that the righteous requirement of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not according to the flesh but according to the Spirit.” “And those whom he predestined he also called, and those whom he called he also justified, and those whom he justified he also glorified.”

2 Cor. 5.19-20

“That is, in Christ God was reconciling the world to himself, not counting their trespasses against them, and entrusting to us the message of reconciliation. Therefore, we are ambassadors for Christ, God making his appeal through us. We implore you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God.”

Gal. 3.13-14

“Christ redeemed us from the curse of the law by becoming a curse for us—for it is written, “Cursed is everyone who is hanged on a tree”— so that in Christ Jesus the blessing of Abraham might come to the Gentiles, so that we might receive the promised Spirit[a] through faith.”

Eph. 1.17

“That the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give you the Spirit of wisdom and of revelation in the knowledge of him”

2 Cor. 13:5

“Examine yourselves, to see whether you are in the faith. Test yourselves. Or do you not realize this about yourselves, that Jesus Christ is in you?—unless indeed you fail to meet the test!”

2 Peter 1:10

“Therefore, brothers, be all the more diligent to confirm your calling and election, for if you practice these qualities you will never fall.”

Titus 1:16

“They profess to know God, but they deny him by their works. They are detestable, disobedient, unfit for any good work.”

1 Cor. 10:12

“Therefore let anyone who thinks that he stands take heed lest he fall.”

1 John 1: 7-10

“But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus his Son cleanses us from all sin. 8 If we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. If we say we have not sinned, we make him a liar, and his word is not in us.”

James 3:2

“For we all stumble in many ways. And if anyone does not stumble in what he says, he is a perfect man, able also to bridle his whole body.”

Psalm 51:1-6

“Have mercy on me, O God,
according to your steadfast love;
according to your abundant mercy
blot out my transgressions.
Wash me thoroughly from my iniquity,
and cleanse me from my sin!
For I know my transgressions,
and my sin is ever before me.
Against you, you only, have I sinned
and done what is evil in your sight,
so that you may be justified in your words
and blameless in your judgment.
Behold, I was brought forth in iniquity,
and in sin did my mother conceive me.
Behold, you delight in truth in the inward being,
and you teach me wisdom in the secret heart.”

Romans 7:21

“So I find it to be a law that when I want to do right, evil lies close at hand.”

Ephesians 4:30

“And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, by whom you were sealed for the day of redemption.”
1 Timothy 1:13

St. Paul said, “though formerly I was a blasphemer, persecutor, and insolent opponent. But I received mercy because I had acted ignorantly in unbelief, and the grace of our Lord overflowed for me with the faith and love that are in Christ Jesus.”

1 Cor. 11:32

“But when we are judged by the Lord, we are disciplined so that we may not be condemned along with the world.”

Hebrews 12:8

“If you are left without discipline, in which all have participated, then you are illegitimate children and not sons.”

2 Cor. 5:21

“For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.”

Jeremiah 23:6

“In his days Judah will be saved, and Israel will dwell securely. And this is the name by which he will be called: ‘The Lord is our righteousness.”

1 Cor. 5:12-13

For what have I to do with judging outsiders? Is it not those inside the church whom you are to judge? God judges those outside. “Purge the evil person from among you.”

1 John 3:4

“Everyone who makes a practice of sinning also practices lawlessness; sin is lawlessness.”

Romans 4:6, 22-23

“Just as David also speaks of the blessing of the one to whom God counts righteousness apart from works: But the words “That is why his faith was “counted to him as righteousness. It was counted to him” were not written for his sake alone.”

Romans 2:8

“But for those who are self-seeking and do not obey the truth, but obey unrighteousness, there will be wrath and fury.”

1 Peter 4:17

“For it is time for judgment to begin at the household of God; and if it begins with us, what will be the outcome for those who do not obey the Gospel of God?”

Luke 13:3

Jesus says, “No, I tell you; but unless you repent, you will all likewise perish.”

Luke 29:47

“And that repentance and forgiveness of sins should be proclaimed in His name to all nations, beginning from Jerusalem.”

Acts 3:19

“Repent therefore, and turn back, that your sins may be blotted out.”

John 3:36

“Whoever believes in the Son has eternal life; whoever does not obey the Son shall not see life, but the wrath of God remains on him.”

Hebrews 8:10-12

“For this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, declares the Lord: I will put my laws into their minds, and write them on their hearts, and I will be their God, and they shall be my people. And they shall not teach, each one his neighbor and each one his brother, saying, ‘Know the Lord,’ for they shall all know me, from the least of them to the greatest. For I will be merciful toward their iniquities, and I will remember their sins no more.”

The covenant of redemption was made between the Holy Triune God, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. The covenant of grace, into which believers are taken, there is a Mediator, and this Mediator is Christ Himself.

In conclusion*,

Paul’s seventh argument against the Judaizers is this: If the law is kept as a way of salvation, it produces only death and destruction because of its curse. Thus, the Judaizers really destroy the law by misusing it. On the other hand, on the basis of grace we keep the law. Thus, the way to magnify the law is to use it properly, not as a way of salvation but as a guide to holy living. The Spirit, not the law, gives life, and life yields obedience to the law (Galatians 5:13ff.).

Paul begins by saying that we are free from the law as a slave-master, but not free to sin (5:13). True moral freedom means loving God and loving one’s neighbor as oneself. Those who do not love show that they are not free and are still slaves of sin (vv. 14–15).

Paul goes on to say that if we live by the Spirit, we will not gratify the desires of the sinful nature. This sounds at first as if Paul is saying something mystical: Just yield to the Spirit and you will float along doing good and never sinning. This is not at all what he means. Being led by the Spirit means doing certain things and not doing other things, and it is the law that shows us what these are. It is the law that shows what loving our neighbor entails. Thus, the Spirit-led person is the person who studies the Bible and obeys it, not as a means of salvation but in a spirit of gratitude and out of a desire for holiness.

One of the major problems in Christianity has always been “antinomianism.” It is still a great problem today. We hear from some teachers that it is possible to have Christ as Savior but not as Lord, as if we could chop God in half and have a relationship with only half of Jesus. The outer fringe of this heresy teaches that it does not matter how you live so long as you claim the promise of salvation. This is not the teaching of the New Testament. Paul lists a whole catalogue of sins in Galatians 5:19–21, and then says, “Those who live like this will not inherit the kingdom of God.”

A mere profession of faith does not get you into heaven. What is required is a continuing relationship with God, the sovereign Savior of men. That relationship means bowing the knee and serving Him because He has saved you.

Some nominal “believers” are professors of faith only. All who claim to be in Christ must also be possessors of faith. Read slowly and carefully the two lists of Galatians 5:19–23. Where do you need help? Pray through each of the sins and blessings listed. Examine yourself, and ask God to grant His Spirit to transform your life.

*Concluding remarks taken from Ligonier Ministries devotional “Grace Fulfills the Law.”

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