The Antinomianism in You

Romans 6:1–2 (ESV)
"What shall we say then? Are we to continue in sin that grace may abound? By no means! How can we who died to sin still live in it?"

You might not be familiar with the term antinomianism, but you have likely lived out its precepts at one time or another during your life.

Antinomianism means “against the law.” It was a common teaching that the early church ran up against and fought to dismantle. The verse above is a direct refutation of antinomianism by the apostle Paul to those in Rome. The fundamental doctrine of antinomianism was that since Christ fulfilled the Old Testament Law (Romans 10:4; Galatians 3:23-25; Ephesians 2:15), the Law itself is no longer valid as a moral guide for Christians to observe. As one researcher described it, antinomianism basically holds the belief that ‘I like to sin, God likes to forgive, it’s a perfect relationship!”

Unfortunately, that’s not the way it works.

While it is true we are saved by grace alone (Ephesians 2:8-9), it does not provide a free ticket to living a life of sinful rebellion. The cloak of righteousness we received (Isaiah 61:10; Job 29:14; Romans 13:14) by no means allows us to live a sinful life without impunity. Antinomianism creates the false impression of what a life given to the Lord is all about.

This was the heart of Paul’s admonition: yes, you have been saved by grace, but when accepting the Lord’s invitation, you are to die to your old ways and embrace the ways of Christ (Ephesians 4:22-24; Romans 8:12-13; 12:1-2). This is also what James was confronting in his epistle (James 2:17). Antinomianism is therefore unbiblical because it takes this unmerited favor of God and twists it to try to justify a life of continued sin.

True, we are no longer under the Old Testament Law. But we are under that law of Christ which states, “You shall love the Lord God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the great and first commandment. And a second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself. On these two commandments depend all the Law and the Prophets” (Matthew 22:37-40). If we truly love God, we would not deliberately continue in sin.

So, do you have antinomianism tendencies? Does sin still reign in your life?

You’re not an antinomian just because you sin, else we would all be categorized as such. You only join this brotherhood once you decide to thrive in sinful behavior because you’ve been forgiven already. God expects us to live a life of morality, integrity, and love. Christ has freed us from a Law we could never keep, but that does not grant us carte blanche to glory in continuing to fulfill our sinful desires.

Obedience to God’s Word and the knowledge of His Truth will defeat antinomianism. If we boast of being a child of God, this obedience is a pre-requisite to making such a declaration (1 John 2:3-6).