Monday, November 19, 2007

Antinomianism - The Seduction of Lawlessness (by Pst Kong Hee)

Antinomianism—The Seduction Of Lawlessness

Within the pages of the New Testament, we discover that Christian living is often referred to as "the way." In the four passages about "The Way" in Acts, Luke uses the term "way" (odos ooóç NT: 3598) to describe a way of life, a lifestyle, a direction, path or course that one walks that distinctly conforms to the holy and pure life and character of Christ. "The Way" (odos) also implies the purpose of life. Since we know that Jesus is the only way (John 14:6), we need to glorify Him in all we say and do, think and feel.

More than that, Christ Himself exhorted His disciples to walk by the "narrow way."

"Enter by the narrow gate; for wide is the gate and broad is the way that leads to destruction, and there are many who go in by it. Because narrow is the gate and difficult is the way which leads to life, and there are few who find it." (Matt. 7:13-14)

A distinct difference exists between the narrow way and narrow-mindedness. Narrow-mindedness usually refers to a judgmental attitude or a critical mind-set. On the other hand, walking the "narrow way" does not mean that you have a distorted mental attitude; rather, you have a very clear focus of what righteousness demands.

Jesus says that on either side of the "narrow way" is a "broad way" that we can easily choose to walk. But He warns that if we choose this broad path, it will lead only to destruction. As we walk out our Christian life, the tendency and temptation to veer away from the path of righteousness by moving too far to the left or too far to the right is all too real. This has been typified throughout Church history, as entire church sects, movements and denominations digressed and perilously moved onto those broad ways—to the right and to the left.

LEGALISM—VEERING TO THE RIGHT

In a three-part feature, "Just How Liberated Are You?" found in issues 12 to 14 of Harvest Times, I wrote extensively on the topic of legalism and described the harmful effect it has had on believers and churches alike throughout the history of Christendom. [Editor's note: You can find the three-part series on our online edition of Harvest Times at www.chc.org.sg.]

In Jesus' day, the Jewish community was the most regulated society in the world. The religious leaders added more than 1,000 commandments and laws to the Law given by God to Moses at Mount Sinai. The Pharisees and scribes were putting everyone under such close surveillance that life was becoming unbearable. Jesus was so upset that He rebuked them for their legalism:

"You guide the people, but you are blind! You are like a person who picks a fly out of a drink and then swallows a camel!" (Matt. 23:24, NCV)

Jesus was essentially saying, "You guys are ridiculously setting up rules and regulations that you yourselves can't even keep. You're nothing more than just a bunch of hypocrites! You have lost your relationship with God and now you're trying to make up for it by keeping a bunch of rules."

Those words may be scathing but they still resonate truth in Christianity today. Believers begin in the Spirit. They have a revelation of God. They experience the saving grace and enabling power of the Holy Spirit. Then for some reason, they have this tendency to lean back on manmade rules and regulations instead of continuing their reliance on the Holy Spirit by faith.

During the Charismatic Renewal of the 60s and 70s, the greatest hindrance to the infilling of the Holy Spirit was the legalism entrenched in many traditional churches. No lifting up of hands. No singing of up-tempo choruses. No praying for the sick. No speaking in tongues, etc. Many who succumbed to the controlling climate of legalism found it very difficult to receive the baptism in the Holy Spirit.

While legalism may have been the biggest hindrance to the Holy Spirit during the Charismatic Renewal, Jesus warns us of another problem that would pose an even greater hindrance in the last days."

And because lawlessness will abound, the love of many will grow cold." (Matt. 24:12)

Lawlessness (anomiaNT: 458) literally means iniquity, complete contempt and disregard for law, refusing and despising all law. Anomia is "living without law," which in culture leads to anarchy, and in Christianity to heresy, immorality and the complete casting aside of all restraints.

In the end times, the greater concern will be lawlessness—the veering to the left. The Antichrist himself will be called "the lawless one." While legalism may serve to weaken your conscience, a lifestyle of lawlessness will eventually kill the love you have for the Lord.

3 comments:

DannyWatt said...

when i first heard this sermon on the cd, i knew he was trying to up someone's lorry.

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Tee said...

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