The word antinomianism comes from two Greek words, anti, meaning “against”; and nomos, meaning “law.” Antinomianism means “against the law.” Theologically, antinomianism is the belief that there are no moral laws God expects Christians to obey. Antinomianism takes a biblical teaching to an unbiblical conclusion. The biblical teaching is that Christians are not required to observe the Old Testament Law as a means of salvation. When Jesus Christ died on the cross, He fulfilled the Old Testament Law (Romans 10:4; Galatians 3:23-25; Ephesians 2:15). The unbiblical conclusion is that there is no moral law God expects Christians to obey.
The apostle Paul dealt with the issue of antinomianism in Romans 6:1-2, “What shall we say, then? Shall we go on sinning so that grace may increase? By no means! We died to sin; how can we live in it any longer?” The most frequent attack on the doctrine of salvation by grace alone is that it encourages sin. People may wonder, “If I am saved by grace and all my sins are forgiven, why not sin all I want?” That thinking is not the result of true conversion because true conversion yields a greater desire to obey, not a lesser one. God’s desire—and our desire when we are regenerated by His Spirit—is that we strive not to sin. Out of gratitude for His grace and forgiveness, we want to please Him. God has given us His infinitely gracious gift in salvation through Jesus (John 3:16; Romans 5:8). Our response is to consecrate our lives to Him out of love, worship, and gratitude for what He has done for us (Romans 12:1-2). Antinomianism is unbiblical in that it misapplies the meaning of God’s gracious favor.
A second reason that antinomianism is unbiblical is that there is a moral law God expects us to obey. First John 5:3 tells us, “This is love for God: to obey His commands. And His commands are not burdensome.” What is this law God expects us to obey? It is the law of Christ – “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: Love your neighbor as yourself. All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments” (Matthew 22:37-40). No, we are not under the Old Testament Law. Yes, we are under the law of Christ. The law of Christ is not an extensive list of legal codes. It is a law of love. If we love God with all our heart, soul, mind, and strength, we will do nothing to displease Him. If we love our neighbors as ourselves, we will do nothing to harm them. Obeying the law of Christ is not a requirement to earn or maintain salvation. The law of Christ is what God expects of a Christian.
Antinomianism is contrary to everything the Bible teaches. God expects us to live a life of morality, integrity, and love. Jesus Christ freed us from the burdensome commands of the Old Testament Law, but that is not a license to sin, but rather a covenant of grace. We are to strive to overcome sin and cultivate righteousness, depending on the Holy Spirit to help us. The fact that we are graciously freed from the demands of the Old Testament Law should result in our living our lives in obedience to the law of Christ. First John 2:3-6 declares, “We know that we have come to know Him if we obey His commands. The man who says, ‘I know Him,’ but does not do what He commands is a liar, and the truth is not in him. But if anyone obeys His word, God’s love is truly made complete in him. This is how we know we are in Him: Whoever claims to live in Him must walk as Jesus did.”
FROM DAYS OF PRAISE
“And many of them that sleep in the dust of the earth shall awake, some to everlasting life, and some to shame and everlasting contempt.” (Daniel 12:2)
Some claim that the Old Testament knows nothing of a resurrection, but this promise of God clearly refutes such a notion. Not only will some be raised to everlasting life, but some to everlasting shame and contempt!
What a bitter end this will be for those who now look with contempt upon the Bible. The Hebrew word translated “contempt” is used only one other time, in the very last verse of Isaiah, but is there translated “abhorring.” “And they shall go forth, and look upon the carcases of the men that have transgressed against me: for their worm shall not die, neither shall their fire be quenched; and they shall be an abhorring unto all flesh” (Isaiah 66:24).
There is probably no doctrine of the Bible more hated by unbelievers than the doctrine of everlasting punishment. It was this teaching (not the imaginary evidence for evolution) that turned Charles Darwin away from God. Nevertheless, it was verified by Christ Himself. “It is better for thee to enter into the kingdom of God with one eye, than having two eyes to be cast into hell fire: Where . . . the fire is not quenched” (Mark 9:47-48). Christ will say to the “goats” on His left hand, “Depart from me, ye cursed, into everlasting fire, prepared for the devil and his angels: . . . these shall go away into everlasting punishment” (Matthew 25:41, 46). Paul also warned that those who “obey not the gospel . . . shall be punished with everlasting destruction from the presence of the Lord” (2 Thessalonians 1:8-9). Everlasting contempt, everlasting fire, everlasting punishment, everlasting destruction—these await all who reject God and His saving word, through Christ. How much better to “awake to everlasting life”! HMM
FROM DAYS OF PRAISE
The Fire of Hell
“The tongue is a fire, a world of iniquity: so is the tongue among our members that it defileth the whole body, and setteth on fire the course of nature; and it is set on fire of hell.” (James 3:6)
The word for “hell” in this verse is gehenna, and this is the only one of its 11 occurrences in the New Testament that is not a direct quote from the lips of Christ. Since the tongue is not a literal fire and since its misuse can in effect make it a “world of iniquity,” this passage suggests that hell itself is the ultimate world of iniquity that has made the uncontrolled tongue an extension of itself.
The Bible speaks of this future hell as a place of “everlasting fire, prepared for the devil and his angels” (Matthew 25:41). However, if these were fires such as we have here on Earth, it is difficult to see how, as Jesus said, God will “destroy both soul and body in hell” (Matthew 10:28). Fire would destroy the body, but what about the soul?
The fire of hell may include some kind of spiritual fire or environment whose destructive nature can only be characterized by the metaphor of fire. The “lake of fire” cannot be on Earth, of course, because the Beast, the False Prophet, and Satan will all be sent there before the disintegration of Earth in its present form, whereas all lost human souls will be sent there after that event (Revelation 19:20; 20:10-11, 15). The awful lake probably is somewhere far out in the “outer darkness” (Matthew 25:30; Jude 1:13).
And it will be “a world of iniquity” where “he that is unjust [will] be unjust still: and he which is filthy [will] be filthy still” (Revelation 22:11). Those who have opted not to be with Christ will be given their chosen status forever. That means no light, no peace, no rest, no joy, nothing at all associated with the Lord.
One should certainly “flee from the wrath to come” (Matthew 3:7) while he can. HMM
FROM DAYS OF PRAISE
What Jesus Said about Hell
“And if thy right eye offend thee, pluck it out, and cast it from thee: for it is profitable for thee that one of thy members should perish, and not that thy whole body should be cast into hell.” (Matthew 5:29)
People do not like to think about hell—especially those who are headed there! But that doesn’t mean it isn’t real.
We need to know that the Lord Jesus Himself often warned about the reality of hell. Today’s verse is in His Sermon on the Mount, a message often quoted because of its wonderful promises. Hell is also mentioned in the same sermon in Matthew 5:22 and 5:30. Jesus also stressed in that sermon that “broad is the way, that leadeth to destruction, and many there be which go in thereat” (Matthew 7:13). He later warned that we should “fear him which is able to destroy both soul and body in hell” (Matthew 10:28).
The religious leaders of the day were not exempt. To them, speaking of their religious hypocrisy, He said, “Ye serpents, ye generation of vipers, how can ye escape the damnation of hell?” (Matthew 23:33).
Hell is also a place of fire or possibly of some fearful environment that could only be described adequately under the metaphor of fire. “Depart from me,” He will say to the lost souls at His coming judgment, “into everlasting fire, prepared for the devil and his angels” (Matthew 25:41). Hell is called a “lake of fire” by Christ in John’s vision of Him on His great white throne, where He will have to say, “But the fearful, and unbelieving, . . . and all liars, shall have their part in the lake which burneth with fire and brimstone: which is the second death” (Revelation 21:8).
Hell will indeed be very real—eternally real! Since Christ is both our Creator and our Savior, who died for our sins and defeated death by His resurrection, it is foolish for anyone to reject His revelation about hell. HMM