The Sunday school class in Romans was really good this week, it was one of those bible studies that I will remember for a very long time. We continue to make our way through the book of Romans at a very slow pace, digging into all the nooks and crevices, all the twist and turns, so what often happens is I turn right down rabbit trail lane and we found ourselves into an apparent opposing principles… So let me explain! During this past week I was reading to prepare myself to teach on Romans 3:7-8 where Paul is continuing his diatribe with an imaginary opponent… Paul says in Romans 3:7 But if through my lie the truth of God abounded to His glory, why am I also still being judged as a sinner? The objecting opponent “why does God punish me for lying if my lying brings glory to Him?” Romans 3:8 And why not say (as we are slanderously reported and as some claim that we say), “Let us do evil that good may come”? Their condemnation is just. Paul returns and says if anyone thinks that God should overlook his sinning because his sinning glorifies God, that person deserves condemnation. Paul is really saying this is so absurd it doesn’t deserve anymore of my time.
The apostle Paul’s gospel, the same gospel we believe who are saved by grace through faith alone had been perverted by his opponents who argued it provides a license to sin and encourages us to do so even more. Paul touches on that in Romans 5:20 and 6:1, 2. They are really accusing Paul of heretical teaching (as we are slanderously reported and as some claim that we say). This is where the right turn down rabbit trail lane took place this past week as I was reading and preparing this study, I thought about Antinomianism and those who adhere to this theology would have loved the imaginary opponents argument… The Antinomians say they’re saved by grace but they live sinful lives, what we do doesn’t matter as long as we believe rightly. (more to say on that in part two of this post Thursday) What’s Legalism? Really it’s any self-effort to meet or keep up our justification before God. Galatians 3:1-5 It always denies that Christ is enough for salvation… Are you starting to see the apparent opposing principles of legalism and antinomianism. I will leave you with this quote I came across from A.W. Pink that describes Legalism and Antinomianism and the apparent opposing principles that are two sides of the same coin… We’ll take this back up on Thursday.
A.W. Pink writes the following about the similarities between Pharisees (legalists) and antinomians:
“It has been said that every unregenerate sinner has the heart of a Pharisee. This is true; and it is equally true that every unregenerate sinner has the heart of an Antinomian. This is the character which is expressly given to the carnal mind: it is “enmity against God”; and the proof of this is, that “it is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be” (Rom. 8:7). “Should we be surprised, then, if we find the underlying principles of Phariseeism and Antinomianism uniting in the same mind? Surely not. There is no more real opposition between these apparently opposing principles, than there is between enmity and pride. Many a slothful servant has hated his master and his service, and yet had he pride and presumption enough to demand his wages. Phariseeism and Antinomianism unite, like Herod and Pilate did, against the Truth.” (Taken from The Law and The Saint)