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Posts Tagged ‘lawlessness’

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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Do Christians today need to confess their sins?

I heard a television minister this week say that born again believers do not need to confess their sins in prayer to God.  If you are exposed to a ministry that teaches this, you are being taught false doctrine on the most basic level.  I also understand where the misunderstanding originates from, because for many years I struggled with the issue of law and grace.  There are 2 false ideas being taught today:  legalism and lawlessness.

This new idea is that since Christians are no longer under the law, there can be no sin to confess without the law.  This concept is based on a basic misunderstanding of the 3 uses of law throughout scripture:

1) The National Law of Israel.  (Judicial laws for the functioning of a theocracy)

2) The Ceremonial Law (Connected with the Old Covenant system of priesthood and animal sacrifices)

3) God’s Moral Law (The knowledge of sin:  stealing, killing, lying, sexual sin, pride, etc.)

Legalism deals with going back under the ceremonial laws and adding ceremonial law (sacrifices, cleansings, feasts, etc.)  and national law (eye for an eye) to the gospel.  Paul makes his case against legalism in the entire book of Galatians.

Right now, I want to deal with the false teaching of believers not confessing their sin.  This is nothing new.  The early Gnostics taught the same thing (there were 2 basic types of Gnosticism).   Jesus dealt with this false teaching and the writers of the Epistles did also.  They called this error Lawlessness.  Here are some scriptures (NKJV except where noted)  that denounce lawlessness:

Matthew 7:23, And then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness!’

Matthew 13:41, The Son of Man will send out His angels, and they will gather out of His kingdom all things that offend, and those who practice lawlessness…

Matthew 24:12, And because lawlessness will abound, the love of many will grow cold.

Matthew 6: 12, And forgive us our sins, as we have forgiven those who sin against us. (NLT)

1 John 1: 8, If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. 9 If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. 10 If we say that we have not sinned, we make Him a liar, and His word is not in us.

As believers, the bible instructs us to examine ourselves and confess our sins to God and to each other.  The Corinthian church is an example of what happens to a church that stops doing this.  The wrath of God rested on those believers because of unconfessed sins.  Paul’s solution was for them to judge their own sin and confess it so that God would not have to deal with their unconfessed sin in judgment.

Jesus gave us a model prayer to guide our daily prayer life.  Confessing sin is a part of the model Jesus gave us… so we’d better be doing it.  Unconfessed sin in the life of believer will result in hardness of heart and a love that grows cold. The letters to the seven churches in Revelation dealt with this very problem.  Where is this big push for lawlessness inside the church coming from?  2 Thessalonians 2:8, “And then the lawless one will be revealed, whom the Lord will consume with the breath of His mouth and destroy with the brightness of His coming.”  This is nothing less than the spirit of the antichrist creeping into the church and confusing a generation of believers who do not know their bibles.  Stay in the word, examine yourselves daily and confess any revealed sin in your life daily.  Keep short accounts with God and man.  Jesus called this “watching and praying.”  Grace and Peace –  Jeff Burke

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