Antinomianism is alive and well in the professing church today. It won’t take you long, or many Facebook conversations, to find out the reality of this statement. Many people desire to “be blessed”, many people desire a savior, and I’ve not met that many people that say they are unconcerned about an eternity in hell. But…they don’t mind going out and living like the devil.
So what is this word “Antinomianism”? And why is it such a big deal.
“Antinomianism teaches that “the believer was completely free from all obligation to the Law and any concession to legal duty was an infringement of free grace.” Roman Catholicism attacked Protestantism for allegedly granting a license to sin through its doctrine of justification by faith alone. The council of Trent, in its decree on justification (1547) implicitly accused the Reformers of abolishing the law for the Christian.
In their view of the law, the Reformers spoke of three distinct “uses” or applications of the law.
- Civil – guide the civil magistrate in rewarding good and punishing evil (Romans 13:3-4; 1 Tim 2:1-2) Luther wrote – “The first understanding of the use of the Law is to restrain the wicked…This civic restraint is extremely necessary and was instituted by God, both for the sake of public peace and for the sake of preserving everything, but especially to prevent the course of the Gospel from being hindered by tumults and seditions of wild men.”
- Evangelical – drives sinners away from their own righteousness to trust in Christ alone. (Galatians 3:10, 24, Gal 2:17) Calvin said the law warns, informs, convicts and lastly condemns, every man of his own righteousness…
- Directive or normative – it serves as a didactic “rule of life” to guide believers in ways that are pleasing to their God and Savior. The law drives sinners to Christ through whom they “become doers of the law”. – James 1:22”  – From A Puritan Theology by Joel Beeke & Mark Jones
2 Corinthians 7:1 Therefore, having these promises, beloved, let us cleanse ourselves from all filthiness of the flesh and spirit, perfecting holiness in the fear of God.
What is Paul referring back to when he says “therefore”? We must look back at what Paul just said. He supports his upcoming argument with his previous statement, and as is the manner of Paul he consistently uses the Word of God, just as we should when we argue for the truth.
2 Corinthians 6:17 Therefore
“Come out from among them
And be separate, says the LORD.
Do not touch what is unclean,
And I will receive you.”
What we will consistently see is an argument against the Bible to support man’s sinful desires, and often we will see the twisting of the Scriptures to get them to say what we want them to say. This is most often done in church going people, or people that want to hold onto their sin. Thus Antinomianism, which means “against law”. Antinomians love to argue against the law. They want to be free from the guilt of obeying the law, but yet their conscience continues to bear witness against them and so they suppress the truth in their unrighteousness.
So what are we to understand about God’s law as New Testament believers? Are we under the obligation to keep the law? Can we keep the law?
One thing all must do, and all are responsible to do, is to understand God’s Word in full context. The best way to interpret Scripture is with Scripture. If you see something that doesn’t seem to make sense, use other Scripture to help you interpret.
Psalm 119:1-2 Blessed are the undefiled in the way. Who walk in the law of the LORD! Blessed are those who keep His testimonies, Who seek Him with the whole heart!
Psalm 119:11-12 Your word I have hidden in my heart, That I might not sin against You, Blessed are You, O LORD! Teach me Your statutes.
I won’t have the space to highlight all of Psalm 119 and the heart of a true believer, but it’s unmistakable, that there must be a heart transformation, and a burning desire to follow God’s law, IF, you are truly saved.
Paul knew this so well and he continued to drive home this point.
Romans 6:1-4 What shall we say then? Shall we continue in sin that grace may abound? Certainly not! How shall we who died to sin live any longer in it? Or do you not know that as many of us as were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into His death…even so we also should walk in newness of life.
The whole message of Scripture is a newness of life. It’s unmistakable, and those that want to continue in their sin are deceived. This does not mean sinless perfection. It means gaining ground on sin consistently. It means we will grow in holiness, because without holiness we will not see God.
This is the life of a Christian, or you’re not a Christian. This must be stressed, because it causes self-examination. It causes lamenting and mourning when we fall back into sin. It’s a constant desire to repent and turn from our sin. The stakes could not be higher. Don’t be deceived by the deceitfulness of sin and risk that you will someday stand before the righteous Judge and hear these words.
And then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness!’ – Matthew 7:23