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Faith: Antinomian or not?

In the execution of the pastoral office I've been noticing a troubling belief system called "antinomianism" cropping up quite frequently. And I would bet my bottom dollar that this word is never on your mind nor is it part of your daily conversations.

So you might be curious enough to ask what it means. Of course, it's not about being against the little gnome in the Travelocity commercials. It is, however, something you might believe as a Christian, whether you realize it or not.

So you may be an antinomian believer if you subscribe to the belief that if you are under Christ's grace you are no longer obligated to keep God's moral law, nor is it any longer of any use to you because faith alone is necessary for salvation.

So, have you heard of this before? If not, here is an illustration of antinomian thinking that has crept into Christ's church from the world. It's the popular but deceptively misleading belief that all men have the right to make a choice regarding their sexuality even though God says any choices that depart from His natural law for man is immoral.

Nonetheless, believers like so many unbelievers hold to any number of antinomian beliefs such as this regarding choices that are contrary to God's will, claiming they are free to make them because they are no longer bound to God's moral law if they live by faith in Christ.

But if this were true, why did St. Peter speak against this some 2,000 years ago, quoting from the Old Testament that Christ has always commanded His people to live according to His righteous law, "But as he which hath called you is holy, so be ye holy in all manner of conversation (your whole life before the world); Because it is written, 'Be ye holy; for I am holy.'"

And also, "Dearly beloved, I beseech you as strangers and pilgrims, abstain from fleshly lusts, which war against the soul; Having your conversation honest among the Gentiles." (1 Peter 1:15-16, 2:11-12a)

Of course, anyone is free to dispute the Biblical evidence that antinomianism is a false belief system, but Scripture has historically stood firm on this issue. Nothing is new under the sun. So it shouldn't surprise us that in our culture it has crept into Christ's church through the immoral viewpoint of the world that so readily influences Christians as easily as anyone else.

After all, we are sinners prone to succumb to all kinds of misguided beliefs, so much so that St. Paul comments on our nature: "For the sinful nature is always hostile to God. It never did obey God's laws, and it never will." (Romans 8:7)

Accordingly, God teaches that antinomian thought corrupts the moral law that He created for our good that His love may abound among us. Take, for instance, the antinomian attitude of those who condone cohabitation as being a sinless act as long as the couple loves one another. Here antinomianism quickly tosses aside the sacred blessing of marriage for the sake of human love. It then holds up the sentimental argument that no one, not even God, has the right to disparage any type of love.

Thus, God's will is quickly swept under the rug in support of sinful behaviors rather than men being repentant of them before the Lord to receive the forgiveness of sin they need through Christ, who is the true and only cause for our salvation.

Antinomian thinking simply finds it impossible to criticize love in any form as being wrong even if that love built upon an unrepentant sin can lead the sinner to condemnation.

Antinomianism thinking is plainly dangerous to Christians and, for that matter, to all men since it deceives them into believing that sin is no longer sin, and that God's wrath will not be brought to bear against the unrepentant sinner.

For this reason, St. Paul addressed this danger among Christians with the urgent warning that they put to death their sinful desires under Christ's grace that they might live according to God's law as their guide rather than choosing the path of lawlessness that leads to death: "For if ye live after the flesh, ye must die; but if by the Spirit ye put to death the deeds of the body, ye shall live." (Romans 8:13)

The grace of God through Christ is indeed a precious gift, something to be cherished, so I hope you gathered from this brief discussion that as Christians, our Lord asks us to be "serious" about what constitutes the makeup of our faith in Him.

And that means being aware of what others might be declaring as true, when it is not, not to mention that Satan and our flesh are always working overtime to deceive us into such thinking as antinomianism.

So my heartfelt appeal is that you take a moment to think about where your Christian heart is at, whether it's antinomian or not.