Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Antinomianism (lawlessness) and Grace

Some believers accuse  grace believers of practising antinomianism (lawlessness); hence a healthy dosage of grace + law is warranted, so they say, otherwise vile practices of every kind will be rife in the church. So, the grace preachers are accused of preaching lawlessness.  What do you think?

I attach below, excerpts  of this article written by Tullian Tchividjian.  You can read the details by clicking the link and be blessed. 

Basically the question boils down to what is the power that motivates obedience to God, is it more law or more grace?  There are endless debates and accusations of antinomianism because of grace; to me the debate is basically about your belief system - do you trust Grace (the gospel ) or the law to have the power unto salvation.  Ultimately, the appearance of the nine fragrances of fruit of the Spirit (Gal 5:22)  will be the litmus test of our belief system.  Falsehood can be judged by its fruit (Matthew 7:15-20).

Of course, there will be dodgy "believers" who believe grace is a  licence to sin, but that arises from a false understanding of grace.  Please note that grace is never and has never been a licence to sin.  Please also note the licence to sin was already given by the devil from the very beginning to all mankind.
Excerpts(Tullian Tchividjian)

Because the Bible has so much to say about it, healthy Christian people have always maintained a deep concern for the pursuit of holiness and the practice of godliness. Obedience to God matters to God and it should, therefore, matter to God’s people. In fact, one way to gauge our love for God is obedience to his commands (John 14:15, 1 John 5:3). Where there is a profession of Christ without a practice of Christlikeness, concern is warranted.
So the issue is not whether obedience, the pursuit of holiness, and the practice of godliness is important. Of course it is. The issue is how do we keep God’s commands? What stimulates and sustains a long obedience in the same direction? Where does the power come from to do God’s will and to follow God’s lead?..........

..............To some, this will sound like an antinomian (a lawless, obligation free  version of Christianity) cop-out. After all, doesn’t the American church need to be shaken out of its comfort zone? Yes—but you don’t do it by giving them law; you do it, as Dane points out, by giving them gospel. The Apostle Paul never uses the law as a way to motivate obedience; he always uses the gospel. Paul always soaks the obligations of the law in the declarations of the gospel because God is not concerned with just any kind of obedience; he’s concerned with a certain kind of obedience (as Cain and Abel’s sacrifice illustrates). What motivates our obedience determines whether or not it is a sacrifice of praise. The obedience that pleases God is obedience that flows from faith and grace; not fear and guilt.

Now, hear me: The law of God has its rightful place in the life of a Christian. It’s a gift from God. It’s good. It graciously shows Christians what God commands and instructs us in the way of holiness. But nowhere does the Bible say that the law possesses the power to enable us to do what it says. You could put it this way: the law guides but it does not give. The law shows us what a sanctified life looks like and plots our course, but it does not have sanctifying power—the law cannot change a human heart. As John Bunyan memorably put it:
“Run, John, run,” the law demands,
but gives me neither feet nor hands.
Better news the Gospel brings,
It bids me fly and gives me wings.