Is Christ, The End of the Law for Righteousness, an Antinomian Idea?
by Scott Price
"For Christ is the end of the Law for righteousness to everyone who believes." Romans 10:4
Those who consistently declare the God's gospel of free grace in Christ will always be accused of being against the Law (the theological term: Antinomian). Self-righteous, false religion always makes salvation conditioned on the sinner at least in some small way and the smaller that way, the more subtle it is. Most in this error who fall under the category of "Sovereign Grace", "Reformed", or "Calvinistic", condition salvation on final perseverance. They, like the Pharisees of old, seek to bring men and women back under the bondage of the Law and would have them to base their assurance on baring the heavy yoke of the Law on their necks.
What about the use of the Law in our justification? Scripture is very clear that nobody can be justified by the deeds of the Law. We are justified by the imputed righteousness of Jesus Christ, which was obtained by His Law keeping and by the merit of His action wherein He, forever, blotted out and put away the sin of His people, reconciling them to the Father with complete satisfaction. So, for righteousness, Christ is the end of the Law (Romans 3:20a, 10:4, Galatians 2:16, 3:11, Philippians 3:9).
What about our use of the Law for sanctification? Christ is our sanctification; "But of Him (God the Father) are you in Christ Jesus, who of God (the Father) is made us wisdom, and righteousness, and sanctification, and redemption: that according as it is written, He that glories, let him glory in the Lord." I Cor 1:30-31
What is the proper use of the Law? The Law is used in the preaching of the gospel to show our sinfulness according to Romans 3:20b, "...for by the Law is the knowledge of sin." Also Scripture further provides an answer concerning exactly what the purpose of the Law is in Galatians 3:24-26, "...the Law was our schoolmaster (tutor) to bring us unto Christ, that we might be justified by faith. But after that faith is come we are no longer under a schoolmaster. For you are all children of God by faith in Jesus Christ." Verse 29 explains it is by promise instead of our works.
How do we establish the Law by faith? God's people are given the gift of faith, which looks to Christ alone for their righteousness and justification. Christ is the only person who ever obeyed, honored, magnified, and fulfilled the strict Law of God. He then took on the curse, condemnation, and guilt of it as He hung on Calvary's tree for the penalty of sin God's elect, which was imputed to His account by the Father. As the Father accepts the law keeping of His perfect Son we also look to Christ and His obedience for all our acceptance and righteousness to a holy God of justice. Do not be fooled in thinking we establish the Law by trying to keep the Law by faith.
Is Grace alone motivation enough for godly, acceptable obedience? The Reformed/Calvinistic Legalist, like the Arminian who believes you can lose your salvation, does not think grace alone is enough to motivate God's people. The Legalist will always obey out of at least one of the two improper self-righteous motives: #1) Fear of punishment and, #2) Promise of reward. These are what the Scripture calls dead works.
God's people obey out of the spirit of adoption wherein they are thankful and grateful for the love and mercy shown to them by grace. They obey by faith, faith that they are already fully accepted in the Person of Christ and by His work as their Representative to God. The justified lives and walks by faith. The Spirit of God indwells them and by the means of God's word shows them the many New Covenant commands revealed for our walk of faith. God's people are to seek and strive to cheerfully and willfully obey these commands.
The accusations will continue Uncompromising promoters of grace will always be accused of being against the Law. They are the only one's who cherish the holy Law of God. The Legalist is the real Antinomian who dishonors the very Law he claims to keep. Grace reigns through righteousness (Romans 5:21). That righteousness is the very righteousness that the Lord Jesus Christ brought in and merited as a Mediator of the New Covenant. It sure is not our righteousness in any sense because all of our own personal righteousness is filthy rags and dung before a holy God. God's people do not find assurance in a "touch not, taste not, handle not" religion of works for salvation. Let the accusations continue and be a testimony of proper gospel preaching.
What is the "Lordship Salvation" issue?
Lordship Salvation is the doctrinal position that receiving Christ involves a strong emphasis on the initial commitment of the sinner to the Lordship of Christ by obedience to the Moral Law of God, repentance of their sins, a progressive increase in godliness, holiness and sinning less, as assurance of salvation. This is what they consider Christ Jesus as being Lord of your life. It also maintains the doctrine that makes Perseverance an emphasis over Preservation. Those who hold to Lordship see this, not only as a requirement, but as already mentioned - a basis for their assurance. Anything less than this emphasis they consider to be “easy believism” in their mind. Lordship Salvation says a lack of obedience in a person’s life is warrant to doubt that one is even saved. Just how much obedience is required for acceptance with God is not clearly spelled out in most Lordship camps, but you can gather that it is never enough to get rid of the burden on their backs.
This page examines, both, Lordship Salvation and Non-Lordship Salvation, from and Sovereign Grace, Calvinist or Reformed perspectives. It does seem that most who advocate Lordship Salvation do lift up popular Arminian preachers and theologians who were famous for supposedly "living godly lives", such as heretics like John Wesley, for example. Many of these heretics are the heroes of the Lordship advocates. The problem is, Arminianism is clearly a false gospel and Arminians do NOT have a proper foundation for anything they say about "holy living" since they condition salvation the sinner in the first place.
Let us be clear that this is not at all a defense for an Arminian Baptist position on Non-Lordship Salvation because they have no real ground for eternal salvation and have a christ who died for many who end up in hell. They have no clue how God saves sinners in the first place, so we do not associate with, promote or use any of their material. The Calvinistic Lordship people are usually only dealing with Arminian Baptists on the position of "easy believism", altar call and the sinner's prayer. We think they have really missed the point in dealing with real gospel issues in the debate.
Not so good quotes from some "Lordship" guys :
"Salvation isn't the result of an intellectual exercise. It comes from a life lived in obedience and service to Christ as revealed in the Scripture; it's the fruit of actions, not intentions. There's no room for passive spectators: words without actions are empty and futile...The life we live, not the words we speak, determines our eternal destiny" - John MacArthur, Hard to Believe, p. 93
"Salvation is by grace through faith; it does not come from ourselves; it is the gift of God. What these texts teach is that the faith which justifies also sanctifies. All the obedience of believers necessary for final salvation is obedience that comes from faith. If it does not come from faith, it is legalism." - John Piper, The Pleasures of God, pg. 292
"But there are cherished parts of our sanctification that are conditional. The condition of justification is faith." - John Piper, Future Grace, pg. 234
"Therefore Romans 8:4 fits perfectly with Romans 9:32 in teaching that the law is to be pursued not by works but by faith." - John Piper, Future Grace, pg. 167
"That the righteousness of the law might be fulfilled in us. This statement does not refer to the justifying righteousness of Christ, but to the work of the Holy Spirit within the believer. According to Jeremiah, God's promise to write his law upon the hearts of his people was to be a distinguishing feature of the New Covenant of which he prophesied. This New Covenant is not indifferent to law. It is not contrasted with the old because the old had law and the new has not. The superiority of the new does not consist in the abrogation of that law but in its being brought into more intimate relation to us and more effective fulfillment in us" – Geoffrey Wilson, Commentary on Romans, pg. 133
Send all correspondence to Scott Price at GospelDefense@gmail.com
WARNING: Below is a typical, short "Lordship Salvation" featuring Steve Lawson and put out by Lordship group called "I'll Be Honest". There are some bits of truth sprinkled throughout the video but what I mainly wanted to expose was the conditional nature (the "cost" they call it) of how one attains peace with God. He's not hiding anything here either. Very telling of the movement.
Notice the above video ("It Will Cost You Everything") by the Lordship guy fails to mention the REAL, GOSPEL-TERMS OF PEACE: THE BLOOD OF THE CROSS OF CHRIST.
Sanctification by God's Sovereign Grace as Opposed to "Lordship Salvation"
Sanctification by Sovereign Grace Conference 2.0 from 2019