“The law sends us to the gospel for our justification; the gospel sends us to the law to frame our way of life”. – Samuel Bolton
“In some respects an opposite error to Popery, “…the Antinomians … make all sanctification to be justification … the Papists make all justification to be sanctification; therefore we would learn to distinguish these two, yet not so as to separate them.” James Durham
“But do not some abuse the grace of the gospel and turn it into wantonness? Answer: Yes, some do, ever did, and still will do so. But it is only the ill-understood and not believed doctrine of grace that they abuse. The grace itself, no man can abuse, for its power prevents its abuse. Let us see how Paul, that blessed herald of this grace (as he was an eminent instance of it) deals with this objection (Rom. 6:1, etc.). How does he prevent this abuse? Is it by extenuating what he said (Rom. 5:20), that grace abounded much more where sin had abounded? Is it by mincing grace smaller so that men may not choke upon it or have too much of it? Is it by mixing something of the law with it, to make it more wholesome? No, but only by plainly asserting the power and influence of this grace, wherever it really is, as he does at length in that chapter. This grace is all treasured up in Christ Jesus, offered to all men in the gospel, poured forth by our Lord in the working of faith, and drunk in by the elect in the exercise of faith. And it becomes in them a living spring, which will, and must, break out and spring up in all holy conversation.” – Robert Traill, Justification Vindicated (Puritan Paperbacks, Banner of Truth, 2002), p. 41.
“Little children, let no one deceive you. Whoever practices righteousness is righteous, as he is righteous.” – 1 John 3:7
Dualistic Antinomianism (Gnostic) This view sees salvation as for the soul only, and bodily behaviour as irrelevant both to God’s interest and the soul’s health…
Spirit-centered Antinomianism …puts such trust in the Holy Spirit’s inward prompting as to deny any need to be taught by the law how to live. Freedom from the law as a way of salvation is assumed to bring with it freedom from the law as a guide to conduct.
Christ-centered Antinomianism …argues that God sees no sin in believers, because they are in Christ, who kept the law for them, and therefore what they actually do makes no difference, provided that they keep believing.
Dispensational Antinomianism …denies that biblical law is God’s direct command and affirms that the Bible’s imperative statements trigger the Word of the Spirit, which when it comes may or may not correspond exactly to what is written.
Situationist Antinomianism …says that a motive and intention of love is all that God now requires of Christians, and the commands of the Decalogue and other ethical parts of scripture, for all that they are ascribed to God directly, are mere rules of thumb for loving, rules that love may at times disregard.
Paul’s concise answer to antinomianism:
“By no means! How can we who died to sin still live in it? Do you not know that all of us who have been baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death? We were buried therefore with him by baptism into death, in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, we too might walk in newness of life.” – Romans 6:1-4
Dr. Michael Horton, professor of theology at Westminster Seminary, California has this to say about Paul’s answer:
“What’s striking is that Paul answers antinomianism not with the law but with more gospel! In other words, antinomians are not people who believe the gospel too much, but too little! They restrict the power of the gospel to the problem of sin’s guilt, while Paul tells us that the gospel is the power for sanctification as well as justification.”
“The ultimate antidote to antinomianism is not more imperatives, but the realization that the gospel swallows the tyranny as well as the guilt of sin. It is enough to save Christians even in their failure and not only brings them peace with God in justification, but the only liberation from the cruel oppression of sin. To be united to Christ through faith is to receive everything that we need not only to challenge legalism but antinomianism as well.”
I have yet to find in scripture that you can become an antinomian heretic by preaching too much grace! What I do believe is that when we are truly growing in grace and all that it means, there is a corresponding growth in what I call ’gospel driven’ obedience.