Friday, 24 May 2013

Antinomianism - A Big Mistake!

Many of my posts feature the word: 'Antinomianism' - sadly my usage of it, I have learnt recently, has been terribly wrong! I apologize for this error and felt compelled to dig a little deeper into the roots of this misleading word...here is a summary of my findings.

Antinomianism stems from the Greek word meaning 'against the law' or 'lawlessness'. It is a concept that branched out of the Christian doctrine of 'Sola-Fide' (which states that salvation can only be attained by faith in Jesus Christ) shortly after the reformation, budding from Germany and penetrating every nation and generation of Christians to have ever lived. Its proposal that Christians are under no obligation to follow the moral laws due to faith in Christ, is a fallacy of the greatest kind; sadly, perhaps due to its appeal, it still lingers amidst us today, and as Christians it is our duty to rid evangelism of it and undo the damage it has caused.

Sadly this concept is used by many in the Catholic church to accuse Protestants. It's also not surprising  that unbelievers refer to it as a common cause of deterance - who can blame them when many evangelists seem to purely focus on 'Jesus loves you as you are!' swallowing perhaps the most important part... 'But He loves you too much to leave you unchanged!'

Surprisingly, antinomianism isn't a recent concept, it is an age old issue that can even be found battled against in Acts 21. However the Bible is very clear on what Salvation is, how it can be attained and the life that should follow as a result. Just like the apostles, we ought to address it too, and do so quickly. 

Salvation is indeed the outcome of faith but that's only part of the picture...
In Paul's letter to the Galatians he writes:

'...know that a man is not justified by observing the law, but by faith in Jesus Christ.' 
'...by observing the law no-one will be justified.' 
Why?

'Cursed is everyone who does not continue to do everything written in the Book of the Law'
So who has kept everything written in the Book of the Law? 
No one! 
Because 'there is no one righteous, not even one', and we can testify to that with our own lives!

Then what is the purpose of the law?
'...the law was put in charge to lead us to Christ that we might be justified by faith'
The law serves as a pointer, to highlight our need for a Savior. 

However, just because salvation is a matter of faith, you cannot happily gallop off into a whirlpool of sin! Repentance is key! Jesus Himself said in the sermon on the mount, that a man is known by his fruits. Moreover, James reminds us lucidly that 'Faith without works is dead' - good works justify before men our faith after salvation. These good works result from a change of heart and an observance of God's holy law. 
Salvation DOES NOT give us a licence to sin but highlights our liability towards our sin; it DOES NOT overthrow the law, but perfects it! Antinomianism is classic case of 2 Peter 3:16 where the 'ignorant and unstable twist to their own destruction, as they do the other Scriptures.'

As I am a novice, I should probably stop ranting, hence I'll leave you to ponder on this Facebook status posted by a friend and young pastor, Ryan King:
'Antinomianism: the sacrifice of godly purity on the alter of 'gospel' passion. It twists propitiation into permission, expiation into an excuse, liberty into licence, and freedom into foolishness. By effectively turning our redemption by Christ's substitution into reason for Christians to sin, it perverts God's grace, denies Christ's Lordship, profanes Christ's blood, and grieves the Holy Spirit. If you want to be truly passionate about the gospel of Christ, you won't go here!'

Sunday, 12 May 2013

Not his head, nor his foot, but out of his rib...

While focusing on Genesis 2:21-23, my study guide 'Engage' makes what it calls, 'a very cheesy point'! However, I loved the way it expands these well known verses, highlighting aspects I was previously oblivious to, hence I couldn't help but share it...

Genesis 2:21-23:
So the LORD God made him fall into a deep sleep, and he took out one of man's ribs. Then after closing the man's side, the LORD made a woman out of the rib. The LORD God brought her to the man, and the man exclaimed, "Here is someone like me! She is part of my body, my own flesh and bones. She came from me, a man. So I will name her Woman!"

Engage: Woman was taken out of man - not out of his head, to rule over him; nor out of his feet, to be trampled on by him; but out of his side, to be equal to him - under his arm, that he might protect her, and near his heart that he might love her.

Who knew that the simple image of God creating Eve from Adam's rib could have so much to it! From the beginning God wanted to accentuate that we are all equal in His eyes, yet we have been entrusted to different roles in our relationships with each other, within the Church and in society as a whole, according to our overall strengths and capabilities. While these roles can differ between individuals, generally speaking, the gender-specific roles are not intended to undermine the other, but are meant to support them, so that united, we can serve the kingdom of God efficiently.