Thursday, January 15, 2009

Antinomianism - Comments (2)

I shall continue with my comments on the next 3 paragraphs of the antinomianism article (the Rev PK version since I have already started on it).

Antinomianism comes from two Greek words: "anti" which means "against" and "nomos" which means "law". The word "antinomianism" means "against the law", against God's moral law, or lawlessness. It is the doctrine that faith in Christ frees the Christian from obligation to observe the moral law set out in the Old Testament.

The opposite of antinomianism is legalism and it is the belief that salvation is based on good works apart from faith and apart from grace. Jesus condemned this view of the Pharisees. Paul condemned this view of the Judaizers, especially in the books of Galatians and Romans. Antinomianism, on the other hand, says salvation is based on faith in God and therefore obedience to God's law is not necessary at any stage in a Christian's life.

The two extreme opposite concepts of legalism and antinomianism are both totally opposed to the teaching of the Bible.



The Law Cannot Be Separated Into Components - It is ONE COVENANT
Antinomianism is defined here as the doctrine that faith in Christ frees the Christian from obligation to observe the moral law set out in the Old Testament. I actually agree with the definition except on the moral law part.  

The Law is one composite whole, not meant to be artificially separated into moral law and ceremonial law.  The Law stipulates the requirements that one must follow in order to be right with God (Exodus 20:1-17).  Failure to comply will result in curses (Deut 28:15-68) while obedience will bring blessings (Deut 28:1-14).

The Israelites, just like many Christians today, thought that they could meet God's standards (Exodus 19:8) but of course they could not.  Neither can we for we still have the flesh with us.  God already knows this so he incorporated the animal sacrifices into the Law so that their sins were covered, otherwise all of them would have died.

Those who separate the Law into moral law and ceremonial law say that Jesus' once for all sacrifice on the cross replaced the ceremonial law of animal sacrifices but the moral law remains and therefore we are obligated to obey.

However, the so-called moral law and ceremonial law are not components that can be separated and viewed independently.  They are meant to be viewed as one system through which the Israelites can stand before God without being struck dead.  They are part and parcel of one covenant with God.

Exodus 19:5 (NLT)
Now if you will obey me and keep my covenant, you will be my own special treasure from among all the peoples on earth; for all the earth belongs to me.


God Replaced The Old Covenant (Law) With A New Covenant (Grace)
God himself found fault with this covenant of Law and instituted a new covenant through Jesus to replace it.

Hebrew 8:6-13 (NLT)

6 But now Jesus, our High Priest, has been given a ministry that is far superior to the old priesthood, for he is the one who mediates for us a far better covenant with God, based on better promises.

 7 If the first covenant had been faultless, there would have been no need for a second covenant to replace it8But when God found fault with the people, he said:

   “The day is coming, says the Lord,
      when
I will make a new covenant
      with the people of Israel and Judah.
 
9 This covenant will not be like the one
      I made with their ancestors

   when I took them by the hand
      and led them out of the land of Egypt.
   They did not remain faithful to my covenant,
      so I turned my back on them, says the L
ord.
 
10 But this is the new covenant I will make
      with the people of Israel on that day,
 says the Lord:
   I will put my laws in their minds,
      and I will write them on their hearts.

   I will be their God,
      and they will be my people.
 
11 And they will not need to teach their neighbors,
      nor will they need to teach their relatives,

      saying, ‘You should know the L
ord.’
   For everyone, from the least to the greatest,
      will know me already.
 
12 And I will forgive their wickedness,
      and I will never again remember their sins
.”

 13 When God speaks of a “new” covenant, it means he has made the first one obsolete. It is now out of date and will soon disappear. 

This new covenant of faith in Christ is a far better covenant based on better promises for God says He will NEVER again remember our sins.  All our sins past, present and future are already forgiven, so how can we who are righteous before God because we are now in Christ, live a holy life if we don't have to obey the "moral" law?


The Law Of LOVE
God himself says that He will put His laws in our minds and write them on our hearts (Heb 8:10).  What exactly is He going to write?  The law of LOVE.

Galatians 5:13-14 (NLT)
For you have been called to live in freedom, my brothers and sisters. But don’t use your freedom to satisfy your sinful nature. Instead, use your freedom to serve one another in love.  For the whole law can be summed up in this one command: “Love your neighbor as yourself.”

Romans 13:9-10 (NLT)
For the commandments say, “You must not commit adultery. You must not murder. You must not steal. You must not covet.” These—and other such commandments—are summed up in this one commandment: “Love your neighbor as yourself.”  Love does no wrong to others, so love fulfills the requirements of God’s law.


Cold or Hot, No Mixture
Legalism in the article is defined as the belief that salvation is based on good works apart from faith and apart from grace.  I have no argument with this definition but if one were to truly believe in legalism, there is hope for him because he will find that he can never be sure that he is doing enough to please God.  In time, he will find that without faith it is impossible to please God (Hebrews 11:6) and gladly embrace the grace of God.

I disagree with the author that The two extreme opposite concepts of legalism and antinomianism are both totally opposed to the teaching of the Bible.  Actually, the bible says that God would rather you be either one rather than trying to "balance" by mixing both.

Revelation 3:15-16 (NLT)
“I know all the things you do, that you are neither hot nor cold. I wish that you were one or the other! But since you are like lukewarm water, neither hot nor cold, I will spit you out of my mouth!

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