From sermons to podcasts, big theological terms get thrown around with the best of intentions. Maybe you’ve heard some of these terms from someone and thought: Okay, I get it. You’re really smart. Can you bring it down to a normal level of understanding for the rest of us everyday people who don’t spend all day in our study with the Puritans? 

You’re not alone. 

At the same time, expanding our theological vocabulary sharpens our minds, improves word economy (the idea of reducing how many words it takes to explain something), and helps us communicate rock-solid truths. While many words can be substituted for common, understandable, and digestible words, not every “ten-dollar word” or phrase needs to be pulled from our rhetorical roster. 

In this new series on the blog, we’re going to make good on our promise to provide sound doctrine for everyday people by providing you with clear and simple definitions that will strengthen your theological foundation. Each article will cover 4 categories including: 

  1. The Term – We lay out how it’s pronounced.
  2. The Definition – We provide the Merriam-Webster definition and an everyday version.
  3. The Biblical Connection – We show you where the term connects with Scripture.
  4. Used in an Everyday Conversation – We use it in a basic conversation.

Here we go! 

The Term

“Antinomian”

an·ti·no·mi·an |  \ ˌan-ti-ˈnō-mē-ən

The Definition 

Merriam Webster: One who holds that under the gospel dispensation of grace the moral law is of no use or obligation because faith alone is necessary to salvation. 

FTG’s Expanded Explanation: We would expand on this definition by pointing out that “antinomian” is from two Greek words: anti and nomos. These two words combine to mean: “against law.” People who are antinomian believe that there is no need to obey the Law of God because we are under grace. Antinomianism is the extreme opposite of works-based salvation (which insists that obeying God’s Law is what saves you). This concept is unwise and sinful because people begin to neglect obedience to God, and they abuse the grace of God. This is where we get the idea of “cheap grace”. People who think they can do whatever they want, sin however they want, but still call themselves Christian see the grace of God as some cheap ticket to heaven. This leads to a lifestyle of sin but under the label of “Christian.” In many cases, calling someone “antinomian” results in them calling you a “legalist” in return. These terms are used in connection to one another because they are opposing ideas. 

The Biblical Connection

We see the concept of “antinomian” in the Bible when Paul the Apostle is telling the church how they should view the grace of God in relation to their sin. He refutes the idea of “cheap grace” and urges believers to be very careful with treating the grace of God as a license to sin. 

Therefore sin is not to reign in your mortal body so that you obey its lusts, and do not go on presenting the parts of your body to sin as instruments of unrighteousness; but present yourselves to God as those who are alive from the dead, and your body’s parts as instruments of righteousness for God. For sin shall not be master over you, for you are not under the Law but under grace. What then? Are we to sin because we are not under the Law but under grace? Far from it!” 

Romans 6:12-15

Further Study: Romans 6, 7; James 2; 1 John 3

Used in Everyday Conversation

“You’re continuing to sin without repentance, yet claiming to be a Christian. That is the kind of antinomian lifestyle that Scripture speaks strongly against.” 

“Too many people have an antinomian approach to Christianity, believing that they can sin however they want against whoever they want and the grace of God covers it all. This turns the grace of God into a license for sin, rather than a motivator for righteousness. While it’s true that grace covers our sin, it’s also true that genuine repentance results in brokenness over our sin and a desire to take action against it” (2 Corinthians 7:9-10)

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