The Good News in the Bible

Against Antinomianism
William Diehl

Those who are teaching that Christians are not to begin to practice active obedience to the word of God and obedience to the Law of God, the Ten Commandments are not the proclaiming true apostolic gospel. They have turned the grace of God into lasciviousness and are teaching classic antinomianism. No one can claim to be justified by faith without works who is practicing known high handed willful unrepented of sin. Some are using Luther as if he were equal to the Bible. Luther never claimed infallibility. It is good to read the Reformers but the Bible is the final word on the matter.

The Christian is both the man of Romans 7 and also the man of Romans 8. Even though we Christians continually fall short of the glory of God and consider ourselves wretched we also walk not after the flesh but after the Spirit. "If you live according to the flesh you will die" It is time for all to take the 8th chapter of Romans just as seriously as the 7th chapter. We must be "careful to maintain good works" or our faith is in vain. Every heresy that has ever come to the Christian church is the product of someone having fallen into the trap of trying to dissolve this tension between "being justified by faith without works" on the one hand and "faith without works is dead" on the other hand. Neither is the perfectionism position correct nor is the "sin boldly" position correct. Both are the lies of the enemy. Neither position is supported by the Gospel.

The word of God clearly denounces lawlessness:

2 Peter 1:3 "According as His divine power hath given unto us all things that pertain unto life and godliness, through the knowledge of Him that hath called us to glory and virtue: 4 Whereby are given unto us exceeding great and precious promises: that by these ye might be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust. 5 And beside this, giving all diligence, add to your faith virtue; and to virtue knowledge; 6 And to knowledge temperance; and to temperance patience; and to patience godliness; 7 And to godliness brotherly kindness; and to brotherly kindness charity. 8 For if these things be in you, and abound, they make you that ye shall neither be barren nor unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. 9 But he that lacketh these things is blind, and cannot see afar off, and hath forgotten that he was purged from his old sins."

1 Cor 15:34 "Awake to righteousness, and sin not; for some have not the
knowledge of God: I speak this to your shame."

Gal 6:7 "Be not deceived; God is not mocked: for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap. 8 For he that soweth to his flesh shall of the flesh reap corruption; but he that soweth to the Spirit shall of the Spirit reap life everlasting. 9 And let us not be weary in well doing: for in due season we shall reap, if we faint not. 10 As we have therefore opportunity, let us do good unto all men, especially unto them who are of the household of faith."

A few months age I spent an entire morning with a whole group of fellows who were teaching that the Gospel does away with the need to be careful to observe the commandments of God, especially the fourth commandment. I had to resist the whole lot of them and only one in the whole group saw the light and repented. Since then the entire group has been blown about by every wind of doctrine and they have gone into the weirdest fanaticism you can imagine. I realize that we can get very frustrated by hearing all the perfectionism and lack of understanding of original sin, and the nature of Christ, but this is not excuse to go into the opposite extreme. There are many unstable souls who will read what these antinomians teach and think they can "walk according to the flesh" and still think they are entering in at the straight gate.

To know how to relate justification to sanctification, go to the section of the web site called "The Evangelical Christian Articles of Faith". Read articles 1, 2, 3,and 15 entitled respectively, The Gospel, Justification by Faith Alone, The Sanctified Life of the Believer, and The Fall of Man. These are very brief paragraphs and not long reading at all.

The Gospel is the good news that our Lord Jesus Christ has lived a perfect, absolutely sinless life and then died upon the cross of Calvary for the sins of the WHOLE WORLD.

The Holy Spirit always attends (called "prevenient grace") the proclamation of the Gospel of Christ's perfect atoning death upon the Cross for the sins of the whole world AND also brings conviction of sin and guilt to the heart of the hearer. In the proclamation of the Gospel, the invitation is given to "whosoever will" to repent of sin and believe in Christ. Justification by faith in the doing and dying of Christ is the God adopts a repentant believing sinner into the family of God on the basis of Christ's imputed, accounted, or reckoned perfect righteousness. The believer's name is placed in the book of Life and he is accounted as perfect and sinless for Jesus' sake.

Those who believe in Jesus as their Savior and Lord receive the gift of the indwelling Holy Spirit (called the new birth or infilling of the Spirit) in their heart and life. The Holy Spirit in the new birth works in the heart of the believer to BEGIN to bring forth the fruits of the Spirit in the life as the believer cooperates with the Spirit to bring forth good works of obedience to the spirit and letter of God's Law. Those whom God justifies He also begins to sanctify.

Sanctification is not the Gospel, but it is ALWAYS the fruit of true faith in the Gospel. Sanctification is the work of a life-time and never ends until our Lord comes in the clouds of heaven. Sanctification is never without taint of sin and is always continually falling short of Christ's perfection. The sanctified believer can never base his acceptance with God on the basis of his sanctification, but rather must continually confess that he falls short and must continually repent and continually trust only in the imputed righteousness of Christ for his justification before God and His holy Law. The believer is always accounted "perfect" as he grows in maturity. The believer must still rely only upon the imputed righteousness of Christ and the incense of His merit in order for his sanctification to be accepted by God. Even when Jesus comes in the clouds of heaven, "He looks upon His people and says, My grace is sufficient for thee." Thus God's people are saved by grace alone even when Jesus comes again on the last Day.

The only way a person can lose his salvation is to no longer confess that he is a sinful wretch who needs to be continually justified by the imputed righteousness of Jesus, the sinless, worthy One. This means that if a person ever thinks that he is sinless, then he is fallen from grace. On the other hand, if a person is no longer repentant for his known sins, his unknown sins, his sinful nature, (and even his "good" works) and is no longer seeking to conform his life to the spirit and letter of God's Law he has fallen from grace (antinomianism). Thus any Man who is sinning willfully, high-handedly, and without repentance has fallen from grace. These sins will cause the once justified believer to lose his justification and his salvation and his gift of eternal life. This is why we as Christians must say that our good works never save us BUT our willful, high handed, continual unrepented of sins can cause us to lose our salvation and have our names removed from the book of life.

Hebrews 12: 13 "And make straight paths for your feet, lest that which is lame be turned out of the way; but let it rather be healed. 14 Follow peace with all men and holiness, without which no man shall see the Lord:15 Looking diligently lest any man fail of the grace of God; lest any root of bitterness springing up trouble you, and thereby many be defiled;16 Lest there be any fornicator, or profane person, as Esau, who for one morsel of meat sold his birthright. 17 For ye know how that afterward, when he would have inherited the blessing, he was rejected: for he found no place of repentance, though he sought it carefully with tears."

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