Thursday, January 15, 2009

Antinomianism - Comments (1)

I will start with the article's first 2 paragraphs.

As human beings, we are naturally inclined towards the "easy life" and we cleverly devise ways that will help us to achieve such a life. For instance, 'dieting made easy' attracts us because it seems to mean we can eat all we want and yet stay slim. 'Exercise made easy' appeals to us because it seems to mean we can accomplish the benefits of physical exercise, but without the sweat.

In the same way, in our spiritual life, we also like to have 'salvation made easy', which means we are able to go to heaven while still living in sin. In other words, we want to have our cake and eat it tool. In our city today, there are churches packed with people who love this 'salvation made easy' theology and this is the subject of this article - antinomianism. Antinomianism refers to lawlessness and the concept of 'salvation made easy'. The "sales pitch" for this is — "You lose nothing while you are on your way to heaven. You can be lawless and go to heaven."


Human beings by nature cannot "take it easy"

Rev PK said that as human beings we are naturally inclined towards the easy life. He raised the examples of "dieting made easy" and "exercise made easy" which appeal because they require no effort.


I disagree because I think that by default, we human beings tend to think that we must pay a price for everything. A popular saying in Singapore is "there is no such thing as a free lunch". I think this is ingrained in us because of the curse of Adam - Genesis 3:19 "By the sweat of your brow you will eat your food until you return to the ground,"


If someone approached you along Orchard Road and told you that you will receive $1,000 just by filling up your particulars in a form, will you believe him? This is easy money but most people's natural response will be scepticism. They will be thinking: "This is too easy. What is the catch?"


Similarly, many people especially Christians find it hard to accept "salvation made easy". They cannot accept that they can go to heaven simply because Jesus has already paid the price for sin for them on the cross. If this "salvation made easy" is so easy to sell, then there should be a lot of such churches around but the reality is that in Singapore and all around the world there are a lot more "traditional" churches.


Definition of "Salvation Made Easy"

Rev PK says "salvation made easy" means we are able to go to heaven while still living in sin. I disagree with that definition.


Firstly, salvation is easy because God made it easy for us - Romans 10:9 "That if you confess with your mouth, "Jesus is Lord," and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved." The difficult part has been done by Jesus. Our easy part is to confess with our mouth and believe in our heart.


Secondly, a Christian who is truly saved has died to sin, so how can he still be living in sin? He is living a new life in Christ - Romans 6:2-4 "Of course not! Since we have died to sin, how can we continue to live in it? Or have you forgotten that when we were joined with Christ Jesus in baptism, we joined him in his death? For we died and were buried with Christ by baptism. And just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glorious power of the Father, now we also may live new lives."



A sinner once saved is no longer a sinner but a new creation in Christ

Rev PK by his definition of "salvation made easy" exposes his worldly point of view. Rev PK still treats the sinner who has received his salvation as a sinner, albeit forgiven. Therefore, he assumes that the forgiven sinner wants to continue living in sin if there are no eternal consequences. However, that sinner is no longer a sinner after he has received Christ. He is a new creation; his old life is no more! The new creation now lives for Christ!

2 Corinthians 5:14-17

For Christ's love compels us, because we are convinced that one died for all, and therefore all died. And he died for all, that those who live should no longer live for themselves but for him who died for them and was raised again. So from now on we regard no one from a worldly point of view. Though we once regarded Christ in this way, we do so no longer. Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come!


Keeping the Law is not required in order to get to heaven

By his definition of "salvation made easy", Rev PK is implying that he does not agree that we are able to go to heaven while still living in sin. In other words, he's saying that holy living (i.e. keeping God's law) is a must if we want to be able to go to heaven. However, this contradicts his concluding remarks in the 2nd last paragraph that we are saved by grace through faith alone. If we are saved by grace through faith alone, then whether we keep God's law or not does not affect our getting into heaven.


We are made right with God by faith in Jesus Christ, not by obeying the law. If we still need to keep the law so that we are able to get to heaven, then there was no need for Christ to die.


Galatians 2:15-16,21 (NLT)

15 “You and I are Jews by birth, not ‘sinners’ like the Gentiles. 16 Yet we know that a person is made right with God by faith in Jesus Christ, not by obeying the law. And we have believed in Christ Jesus, so that we might be made right with God because of our faith in Christ, not because we have obeyed the law. For no one will ever be made right with God by obeying the law."

21 I do not treat the grace of God as meaningless. For if keeping the law could make us right with God, then there was no need for Christ to die.


Keeping the law is NOT the sure evidence that a Christian is justified by grace through faith alone

Rev PK says "keeping the law is the sure evidence that a Christian is justified by grace through faith alone" but which bible verse confirms that? Romans 10:10 says "For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you confess and are saved" – through believing and speaking i.e. Faith, nothing about keeping the law.


The Law Condemns
Paul himself said that when he tried to keep the law, it condemned him. Therefore he died to the law - stopped trying to meet all its requirements - so that he might live for God. His old self has been crucified with Christ, it is no longer he who lives but Christ lives in him. In fact, Paul says that he is a sinner when he tries to keep the law after he has already torn it down through faith in Christ.

Galatians 2:17-20 (NLT)

17 But suppose we seek to be made right with God through faith in Christ and then we are found guilty because we have abandoned the law. Would that mean Christ has led us into sin? Absolutely not! 18 Rather, I am a sinner if I rebuild the old system of law I already tore down. 19 For when I tried to keep the law, it condemned me. So I died to the law—I stopped trying to meet all its requirements—so that I might live for God. 20 My old self has been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me. So I live in this earthly body by trusting in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.

1 comment:

Malcolm Loh said...

Hi Stan

Looks like I do not need to spend too much effort in responding to PK's article point by point because you are doing a fine job already! Will instead link your blog entry to mine :-D

What I will however highlight is that one major accusation is that antinomians are very Pauline in their inclinations (ie. Paul's letters are more important than the gospels -- which I personally agree because they were written after Jesus had risen), so it is strange that PK quotes so frequently from Paul's epistles. Perhaps he's a closet antinomian...