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Antinomianism means “against the law.”  This is an unbiblical teaching that believers no longer have a responsibility to God’s moral laws.  While we are free from the ceremonial law and lifestyle and the national law of Israel, we still must obey God’s moral laws such as don’t kill, lie, commit adultery, steal, etc.  Neither the reformers or the early church taught this, but it was taught by the cult of the Gnostics and by several unbiblical cults today.  Strangely, this false teaching is spreading through the churches.

The false teaching sounds like this, ” since God forgave our sins, past, present, and future, we don’t have to confess our sins.”  This is in direct conflict with the teachings of Jesus who told His apostles before he left to teach all things He commanded which includes the Sermon on the Mount and the Lord’s Prayer where we are commanded to pray, “forgive us our trespasses.”  The false teaching explains that Jesus’ commands are old covenant, which would mean that Jesus spent 3 years teaching an old wineskin message.  If Jesus had taught an old covenant message, they would never have crucified Him.  Even John Calvin, the first Calvinist, taught that believers needed to confess their sins.

Much of this teaching is fueled by Joseph Prince, Pastor of New Creation Church in Singapore.  I have found that his biblical interpretations are in opposition to the reformers, the early church fathers, and the teachings of Jesus and the Apostles.

At the root of this teaching are two things:  1)  A misunderstanding of law and grace;  2)  A departure from biblical teaching.  There are 3 parts to the law:  the ceremonial law,  the national law, and the moral law.  We are completely released from the ceremonial and national law in the Old Testament.  But, every believer has a biblical responsibility to keep God’s moral law by the power of the Holy Spirit.  Secondly, many churches have departed from teaching God’s word.  At a popular ministry conference, one nationally known megachurch pastor instructed pastors to stop saying, “the bible says….”  If there ever was a time we need to get back to the bible, it is today.  Believers who are established in the truth of the bible cannot be easily deceived by false teaching.

Contemporary Evangelical theologian J.I. Packer defines 5 strains of Antinomianism:

  • Dualistic Antinomianism (Gnostic) This view sees salvation as for the soul only, and bodily behavior as irrelevant both to God’s interest and the soul’s health…
  • Spirit-centered Antinomianism …puts such trust in the Holy Spirit’s inward prompting as to deny any need to be taught by the law how to live. Freedom from the law as a way of salvation is assumed to bring with it freedom from the law as a guide to conduct.
  • Christ-centered Antinomianism …argues that God sees no sin in believers, because they are in Christ, who kept the law for them, and therefore what they actually do makes no difference, provided that they keep believing.
  • Dispensational Antinomianism …denies that biblical law is God’s direct command and affirms that the Bible’s imperative statements trigger the Word of the Spirit, which when it comes may or may not correspond exactly to what is written.
  • Situationist Antinomianism …says that a motive and intention of love is all that God now requires of Christians, and the commands of the Decalogue and other ethical parts of scripture, for all that they are ascribed to God directly, are mere rules of thumb for loving, rules that love may at times disregard.[10]    

The classic Methodist commentator Adam Clarke held,

“The Gospel proclaims liberty from the ceremonial law: but binds you still faster under the moral law. To be freed from the ceremonial law is the Gospel liberty; to pretend freedom from the moral law is Antinomianism.”
Sin seperates us from God.  Unconfessed sin in the life of a believer will seperate them from fellowship with God, and open them up to deceiving spirits.  Keep a short account with God.  Pray daily for His cleansing.
Another source of this error is thinking that the promises of God are automatic.  All of the promises are accessed by ongoing prayer.  God promises healing and provided for such in the atonement, but we have to pray and ask for healing.  God promises to provide financial needs, but we have to pray it in as the need arises.  We can’t just pray the sinner’s prayer and then assume that the promises are automatic because they are not.  Everything in the Lord’s Prayer can be accessed only through daily prayer.  “Give us this day our daily bread…”  Why do we have to pray that if God already promised it to us?  Everything God has flows to us through the pipeline of prayer.  Jesus explained in John 15 that we are like branches in a vine.  We must abide in Jesus through constant praying which is a joy and not a burden to those who love Him.
The biblical term for antinomianism is lawlessness.  One extreme is legalism, the other extreme is lawlessness.  Jesus corrected wrong thinking about the law in the Sermon on the Mount.  In this great teaching, Jesus taught against legalism and lawlessness.  Matthew 7:21 “Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father in heaven. 22 Many will say to Me in that day, ‘Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in Your name, cast out demons in Your name, and done many wonders in Your name?’ 23 And then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness!’
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