“You are the salt of the earth, but if salt has lost its taste, how shall its saltiness be restored? It is no longer good for anything except to be thrown out and trampled under people's feet."--Matthew 5:13

Friday, April 29, 2011

Libertinism and Antinomianism

Libertinism comes from the word "libertine", defined by Miriam-Webster's Dictionary as "a freethinker especially in religious matters" and "a person who is unrestrained in convention or morality". Libertines typically think outside the box. They do not like to be bound by rules or traditions.

Theological libertines argue that they are not bound by the law of God, but are under grace. They cite  Romans 6:14 as the verse supporting their philosophy. "For sin will have no dominion over you, since you are not under law but under grace." Libertines interpret this verse as meaning that God has given them grace to do whatever they want. Since we are no longer bound by the law, libertines claim that we do not have to live up to God's standards because He has given us grace and will continue to give us grace.

Libertinism coincides with antinomianism. Antinomianism, a term coined by Martin Luther, is a belief that existing religious laws are no longer applicable. Antinomians are against all religious laws and restrictions.

While some aspects of the law, such as blood sacrifices, food restrictions, and worship on the seventh day, may be inapplicable for us today, there is a further application to laws such as these. While we are not required to offer blood sacrifices to the Lord, He does require us to be genuine in our worship of Him. This includes offering Him the best of ourselves. Furthermore, God's moral laws are never optional. For example, the Ten Commandments are not optional. These important commands, while given to old covenant Israel, should be kept by us today. Also, we should never ignore anything that the Lord says. Everything in His Word is applicable to us and is included for a specific reason.

Antinomianism is very much alive today, and can occur in different forms. For example, antinomians and libertines believe that grace allows total freedom. Romans 6:1-14 notes that Christians should not take advantage of the grace that God has given us by intentionally sinning. How can we be alive in Christ, but still live in sin? We are no longer enslaved to sin, but have been bought out of slavery by the blood of Christ. We should present our bodies as instruments for God, not instruments for sin. The fact that we are now under grace, instead of the law, should cause us to strive for holiness. I Peter 2:16 also says that we are free to live as people who have been redeemed, but we should not use our freedom as an excuse to sin.

Another example of antinomianism is what R.C. Sproul calls, "Gnostic Spiritualism". This form of libertinism says that there is a secret knowledge of the Spirit that can contradict the will of God. For example, a husband might say that God told him to divorce his wife and marry someone else. A serial killer might say that he heard God tell him to kill someone. The Holy Spirit will never tell someone to do something that is contrary to God's laws.

A further form of antinomianism is when people find loopholes in the law of God. They would argue that certain behaviors are excused because the Bible does not specifically condemn them. To this, we must ask, but does the Bible condone them?

Libertines and antinomians misconstrue the Bible to serve their own selfish purposes. May we carefully read and reflect on what the Lord's Word says. Pray that you will not abuse the grace He has given you.

1 comment:

  1. I saw your comment today on Heath's post about the death of Osama Bin Laden.

    I feel compelled to confess that not once did I think, prior to reading your question, of praying for Osama to find salvation.

    Oh how I wish I had.

    Thanks for your question.