Antinomianism comes from the Greek meaning lawless. Being one of the most virulent forms of heterodoxies about Christianity, antinomianism holds that the moral law is of no use or obligation under the gospel dispensation of grace, because salvation is by faith only. Therefore antinomianism stands in direct contradiction of the biblical doctrine of grace. It has been condemned as erroneous by some of the most notable Theologians in church history.
- The Christian is required to obey the moral law, not in order to be accepted by God but in order to continue in His grace. (John Wesley)
- God promises grace and every blessing to all who keep His commandments and Christians should therefore love Him, trust Him, and cheerfully do what He has commanded. (Martin Luther)
- If you dismiss the word of God’s command, you will not receive His word of grace. How can you hope to enter into communion with Him when at some point in your life you are running away from Him? The man who disobeys cannot believe, for only he who obeys can believe.” (Dietrich Bonheoffer)
The Biblical view of Grace and Law
- Christ didn’t abolish the law. He fulfilled it so that we will delight to walk in it for the love of Christ:
“Do not think that I have come to abolish the law or the prophets. I have not come to abolish these things but to fulfill them.” (Matthew 5:17)
- Grace is not proportionate to sin. A common misinterpretation of Romans 5:20-21 is that grace is indeed proportionate to sin. Truth be told grace and sin is inversely proportional. The more grace I receive the less I should want to sin because God’s grace empowers me to live for Him. Grace never leads me to continue doing the very thing it just rescued me from. True grace never leads me to take it for granted by trampling on it.
“What shall we say then? Are we to remain in sin so that grace may increase? Absolutely not! How can we who died to sin still live in it? Or do you not know that as many as were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death?” (Romans 6:1-2)
- Grace isn’t a license for lawlessness. Grace is given so that the sinner has the opportunity to repent and return. True repentance means to confess one’s sin and turn away. One cannot deliberately continue in sin in the name of grace.
“For certain men have secretly slipped in among you – men who long ago were marked out for the condemnation I am about to describe – ungodly men who have turned the grace of our God into a license for evil and who deny our only Master and Lord, Jesus Christ.” (Jude 1:4-5)
- We need to produce the fruit of grace. It’s one of the roles of grace we cannot neglect.
“I am the true vine and my Father is the gardener.He takes away every branch that does not bear fruit in me. He prunes every branch that bears fruit so that it will bear more fruit. (John 15:1-2)
The importance of the moral law
- There’s a profound relationship between Law and Gospel. Just as the Law could not be fulfilled without the Gospel, so the Gospel can never be preached without the background of the law. Apart from the law the Gospel is meaningless. (Romans 3:21)
- The law drives sinners to the saving grace of God in Christ because it reveals the reality of sin and the culpability of all human beings even as it drives them to the saving grace of God in Christ. (Romans 3:20; Galatians 3:19; 24)
- The Law solemnly reminds if not for the grace of God, we will still be under the curse of sin. (Galatians 2:16)
- The Law helps to discern and obey God’s will. It guides our path and illuminates our steps. (Psalm 119:105)
Other religions teach we will receive grace if we do good. Christianity teach God gives grace so that we can do good if we have grace. Let’s not forget grace is free but not cheap. God had to sacrifice his son. Let’s thrive to live for him.
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