“Likewise, my brothers, you also have died to the law through the body of Christ, so that you may belong to another, to him who has been raised from the dead, in order that we may bear fruit for God. For while we were living in the flesh, our sinful passions, aroused by the law, were at work in our members to bear fruit for death. But now we are released from the law, having died to that which held us captive, so that we serve in the new way of the Spirit and not in the old way of the written code” (Romans 7:4-6, ESV).
Some interpret these verses and others in Romans 7 describing how the Law aroused sin in our bodies to mean that God’s Law was a temporary or provisional arrangement–a relic of Old Testament times.
They suppose that since Christ came there is no Law binding upon us. (When we say God’s Law we mean the ethics or ethos of God’s character typified in the Ten Commandments and other Old Testament moral and ethical regulations.)
If I may use a theological term, such thinking is a form of antinomianism.
Antinomianism refers to the belief that having received grace, Christians are ethically free to live whatever lifestyle they choose.
Antinomianism trivializes the Law of God to deem it something we no longer care about. Specifically, God’s covenant established under Moses has become useless because the gospel of Christ and the New Testament in essence abolishes the Law and the Old Testament.
Antinomianism is basically Christianity without conviction!
Unfortunately, what preachers and Bible teachers have described as casual or convictionless Christianity is exactly the form of Christianity some and possibly many Christians practice.
A closer reading of Romans Chapters 6, 7 and 8 establishes that the Law is, in fact, relevant and binding on our lives as Christians: “The law is holy, and the commandment is holy and righteous and good” (vs. 7:12). “By sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh and for sin, he condemned sin in the flesh, in order that the righteous requirement of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not according to the flesh but according to the Spirit” (vs. 8:3-4).
The problem with convictionless Christianity is that it relieves us of the responsibility of serving God and doing His will. With convictionless Christianity we live according to our own desires rather than what God requires.
But, we serve God through adherence to His commands!
God has even enabled and empowered us by His indwelling Spirit to serve Him through righteous living: “I appeal to you therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship. Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect” (Romans 12:1-2, ESV).
Therefore love is the fulfilling of the law. (Romans 13:10, ESV)
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