Tuesday 3 December 2013

Antinomianism: Identifying a problem is the first stage to solving a problem

Antinomianism means to be against the law. In Christian circles this means down-playing the ongoing application of the moral law of God and especially the Ten Commandments. Paul makes many statements in the Book of Romans that relate to the Law of God, for example, here are a few.

Romans 3:20 "Through the law comes the knowledge of sin". Therefore, if the law is removed from the church, then the cutting edge of the presentation of the gospel will be blunted and sin will not be exposed in the way it could and should be.

Romans 3:28 "For we hold that one is justified by faith apart from works of the law". In other words, Paul teaches that we are saved by faith in the gospel and the person of Jesus Christ; we are not saved through our law-keeping, but he does not teach that the law has no purpose. Before we are converted we are law-breakers, but sanctification is to produce the love of law-keeping in us so that we do not continue glibly as a law-breaker in the name of supposed Christian love (as some Christians do today).

Romans 7:22 "For I delight in the law of God, in my inner being". Clearly, Paul has a love for the moral law of God and he expects the church to have the same.

Romans 6:14 "For sin will have no dominion over you, since you are not under law but under grace".a This is the kind of verse which antinomians press and selectively quote. False teaching always leads people to only consider certain biblical texts and to omit others. However, our currency as ministers of the gospel is truth and this requires us to assess all the biblical data, in order to present the biblical truth. It is like being a lawyer working to present a biblically watertight case, but not just to prove our own point. This is challenging but it must be done.

An American minister recently lamented to me the collapse of the Christian Sabbath in the USA and he asked me 'what are the main influences in the UK that have led us to go the same way?'. My initial answer was "sin" but my follow up answer was "antinomianism in the church". If there is no law and rules then we can seemingly do what we want including disobedience to the Lord and the moving away from the Lord's Day. The reality is that most Churches meet on Sundays because that is what is most convenient, rather than being based on the biblical premise of it being the Lord's Day and something that is commanded as the fourth of the Ten Commandments.

In Conclusion, I call out and name "antinomianism" as a pervasive worldwide problem and doctrinal error. This is part one to solving a problem and hopefully I can write more on this topic. However, let us turn to the Lord in prayer for this problem to be rooted out of the church as well and not simply acknowledge the problem ourselves.

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