Living in Grace: A Discussion on Antinomianism

Let’s delve into a topic that has stirred many conversations among believers: Antinomianism. This theological term, often misunderstood and misapplied, is crucial for us to understand as we navigate our Christian walk.

So, what is Antinomianism? The term itself, derived from two Greek words ANTI and NOMOS, and is defined as “against the law.” At its core, Antinomianism asserts that as Christians, we are not bound by any moral laws. It suggests that because we are saved and made new in Christ, there is no need for us to obey any moral guidelines. It is the classic foundation upon which people build the accusation that the gospel gives the individual a license to sin.

Let’s reflect on this definition for a moment and apply it to the Scriptures. Does being saved mean we stop sinning altogether? Well, I know haven’t become sinless, and I’m sure many of you haven’t either. Let’s be honest with ourselves. We all still struggle with sin!

The idea behind Antinomianism is, in essence, a distortion of biblical truth. It takes the beautiful concept of our new birth in Christ and twists it into a dangerous doctrine. Some may even use it as a “license to sin,” claiming that they are perfected in Christ, therefore free to live as they please.

But let’s dig deeper into the Scriptures. The Apostle Paul, in Romans 6:1-2 (KJV), poses a question that resonates with this discussion: “What shall we say then? Shall we continue in sin, that grace may abound? God forbid. How shall we, that are dead to sin, live any longer therein?”

Paul’s words here strike at the heart of the matter. Grace is not a justification for us to continue in sin. It is a transformative power that empowers us to live righteously by the new birth, which was born immediately after we placed our faith in Jesus Christ for salvation. As believers, we are called to a life of obedience, not because it earns us salvation, but because it reflects our love and gratitude towards our Savior.

A key error of Antinomianism lies in its misunderstanding of progressive sanctification. Yes, we are new creatures in Christ, but that doesn’t mean our old sinful nature disappears. 1 John 1:9 (KJV) reminds us, “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” This is not about earning salvation but about the quality of our walk with God. The instruction for confession is given because we will need to come to an agreement with God about the sin in our lives and restore the quality of fellowship with Him. If there was no sin nature of the believer than 1 John 1:9 would have to refer to how one is born into eternal life, and that would imply works for salvation.

Furthermore, Antinomianism often overlooks the importance of personal responsibility and spiritual growth in the Christian life. We are not called to live in a state of lawlessness but to strive towards Christ-likeness. As 1 John 2:3-6 (KJV) tells us, “And hereby we do know that we know him if we keep his commandments… He that saith he abideth in him ought himself also so to walk, even as he walked.”

Living in grace does not mean living without boundaries. It means recognizing the incredible gift of salvation we have received and allowing it to transform every aspect of our lives. It means striving daily to align our will with God’s will, knowing that His commandments are not burdensome but a path to true freedom in Christ.

As believers, we must be vigilant against doctrines like Antinomianism that can lead us astray. We are called to live disciplined lives, seeking to honor God in all we do. And if we do stumble, His grace is there to lift us up, not as an excuse for sin, but as a reminder of His unfailing love and mercy.

Let us not be deceived by the allure of lawlessness masked as liberty. Let us instead embrace the true freedom found in Christ, walking in obedience and love. And as we do, may the love of God be perfected in us, guiding us ever closer to Him.