From time to time we speak of the error of “antinomianism” – the belief that for Christians the rules of the Bible don’t apply. “Anti,” of course, means “against,” and “nomos” is the Greek word for “law.” “Antinomians” are opposed to the rules – they do not see them as needed or required in any practical sense. Antinomianism has always been a popular heresy, in part because we would all naturally like to hope that there are no rules for which we will be held accountable.
It is also a common error because many don’t read the New Testament with care. Many passages speak of “grace overcoming law” and “Christ being the end of the law.” However, before we conclude that God’s rules don’t apply to us we must be careful to read all of the New Testament and thoughtfully discern the context in which these statements are made. There are clearly two basic components of the Bible’s rules – the old covenant’s religious ceremonial laws, and the various laws of moral and ethical conduct. When the Apostles speak of grace prevailing over the law they are plainly arguing that our imperfect attempts at keeping any set of biblical rules are insufficient to earn our justification (Rom.2–7).
Secondarily, the case is made that the ceremonial laws for worship have become obsolete with their fulfillment in Christ (Heb.4–10). While we can’t earn our salvation, and we should not engage in already fulfilled ceremonies, the New Testament is clear that “grace” will always “instruct us” to live “upright and godly lives” (Tit.2:11-12). We can only do that by humbly following God’s ethical and moral instructions – i.e., keeping the rules.
-- Pastor Mike
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