The Reformed Bible Church
In Suffolk County and Central Virginia
PO Box 2397 Appomattox,Virginia 24522
The fear of the LORD is the beginning of Knowledge: But fools despise Wisdom and Instruction." Proverbs 1:7
APOSTASY Part II
Godís Law: The Rule Of Conduct
"Do we make void the Law through faith? God forbid; yea we establish the Law" Romans 3:31
In an effort to clearly and properly understand the great problem of apostasy, we must first dissect it into its various categories and components. We must labor to understand the various aspects and forms it takes by identifying and researching the errors associated with it. Once this is established, not only can we address the problem of apostasy more directly, but we can apply directives for its remedy more profitably.
Categories of Apostasy
Apostasy does not exist in a vacuum, nor does it remain contained in the area where it begins. It is all encompassing and aggressive in its nature and scope.
Consider the fundamental categories of apostasy: Personal apostasy, marital apostasy, family apostasy, ecclesiastical apostasy, and civil apostasy. Each of these areas must be addressed, one by one, in order to fully understand the problem, and to begin to formulate the directives needed to combat and be completely cleansed from this desertion of Truth.
Within the confines of each of these categories God has expressly given commandment and direction concerning them. None of these areas of life stand alone. They are interactive with one another. They influence one another either positively or negatively. Moreover, each of these areas of life are instituted by God. The individual is God ordained. The marital relationship is a divine institution, as is the entire family. The church is established by God, and not man. So, too, is the civil authority an established institution by Divine mandate. Thus, it must follow that, because each of these categories is God ordained, they must be subject to both God and His Law. They are accountable, as well as responsible, to Godís Law.
For each of these groups there is a prescribed order. This order is given especially for the group to function beneficially for their own sake, and also for sake of the other group. When these areas function according to the Will of God, His Law, God is glorified. When they rebel, God is blasphemed and His Law despised.
Basic to every area of life, God has decreed how one ought to live. We call this the Moral Law. Once there is a digression from, or a rebellion against these absolute precepts of GodĎs Law, there is apostasy. Because most of us live within the confines of one or more of these relational categories, we must either conform to the Biblical Standard or disregard it. We can either conform to the order prescribed by God, or pervert it. When there is order there is peace. When there is disorder, there is unrest and misery.
This sets forth a principle dynamic. Simply stated, whether we follow or disregard the Biblical Standard of behavior, there are consequences associated to that behavior respectively. According to the Holy Scriptures, we are assured that there will be blessings for obedience, and chastisement for rebellion.
Sometimes called, positive sanctions, these blessings are given by God in direct proportion to our obedience. If we obey the Holy Scriptures, God blesses. Obedience brings about a degree of order, joy, peace, devotion, productivity and practical piety. Likewise, God curses to the degree that His holy precepts are ignored or rebelled against. For those who are of the regeneration, God chastens those whom He loves when they stray from His Commandments, and blesses those who follow in obedience. Cf. Heb. 12:6 Prov. 3:12
This, however, by no means insinuates that we are loved in any greater measure when we are doing Godís will. This notion would imply that Godís love is conditional upon our keeping of His precepts. At best this is an heretical works-righteousness doctrine. At worst it is damnable. Now, it is true that God takes no pleasure in His Childrenís disobedience, yet His love for them is in no wise diminished. We are loved because we are His sons and daughters, not because we are obedient to His Word. By the new birth, God sheds His love upon us, and loves us eternally in Christ
Parents love their children because they are their children. They love them, or should love them, unconditionally. However, when there is rebellion on the part of the child, although the parent is not well pleased, the Christian parent still loves that child and seeks to restore the child to order and obedience. Discipline is administered, in loving care, in order to bring about repentance. Repentance brings about restoration and then reconciliation. This attempt unto Godly restoration is done out of parental love. Chastening is applied for the well being and benefit of the child.
When Godís Covenantal Children sin, displeasing their Heavenly Father, He chastens them for the purpose of their restoration and practical reconciliation. This application of correction, through chastisement, is called negative sanctions. God brings negative sanctions in direct proportion to the sin of His people. Therefore we can be sure of either positive or negative sanctions according to our behavior.
What the church has failed to embrace is that God brings about either positive or negative sanctions upon both the church and the world according to their behavior. Yet, this precept is fundamental in understanding the Sovereign working of God in history. Today, the Christian, the church, and the society function as if God is removed from direct judgment upon the actions of His creatures in time and history. Todayís notion of God leaves His sanctions for a future age, after the world has ended. Nothing could be farther from the truth. There are very specific consequences in relation to the behavior of man, which occur in the confines of history.
The Antinomian position [Gr. anti-nomos i.e. against law] claims that because the child of God is dead to the Law of God, there is no longer any responsibility to follow the Law regarding practical obedience.
While it is true that by the works of the Law no man can be saved, it is not true that the Law has no part in the Christian life after regeneration. Rather, because the regenerate is dead to the curse and condemnation of the Holy Law, the Law is no longer grievous nor accusing, but rather a Lamp and a Light. Cf Psalm 119. The Law is used in the life of the saint as a regulational standard for all behavior.
What the Antinomian tries to assert is that the children of God can do just about anything they want, within moral reason. Yet, that reason is subjective to the sinful will and lust of the flesh, not the Scriptures. This position elevates natural reason above the clear and concise Biblical Standard, and interprets the scriptures from the vantage point of autonomy rather than Biblical subjection. This is heresy and leads to horrible destruction.
The Law of God
There is a fundamental flaw in the logic of the Antinomian. The Antinomian sees Grace and Law as opposites. Because the Law cannot save, but is used as a "schoolmaster" in exposing transgression, the Antinomian seeks to do away with Law by using the Grace of God. The problem with this is that the opposite of Law is not Grace. It is lawlessness. In like manner, the opposite of Grace is not Law, it is works-righteousness. Therefore, Grace is never opposed to Godís Law. Grace is the means whereby we follow on to embrace the Law of God, which is pure and good and holy.
The Antinomian view of the Word of God is one of picking and choosing, according to personal taste or convenience. Thus the result is a vacilating notion of Biblical ethics, and impotent solutions to real problems.
The Antinominist falters in another way as well. In his heretical view of Godís Law the basic principles of Law are omitted or redefined. When we look to the definition of the word "law" (the Hebrew word is Torah) we find that it means to direct or to point out. The New Testament use of the word "law" (Greek word nomos) indicates that it is a commandment assigned by a higher authority with the intent that it should be obeyed.
Therefore, Godís Law is a rule of conduct which is backed by Divine force based upon a perfect set of ethical criteria. Moreover, there is a sanctity in the Law of God which cannot be denied. This definition strongly states that if that law is rebelled against, there will be negative sanctions applied to the offender, so as to restore order. What the Antinomian refuses to understand is that Gospel obedience is expressed in the Law of God.
The Use of the Law
The Antinomian confuses the design and purpose of Divine Law, and throws the baby out with the bath water. For better clarification, let us focus upon two distinct uses of Godís Holy Law; Pedagogical and Didactic. For the Antinomian, these distinct uses of the Law of God are conveniently blurred and thereby omitted from practice. The Pedagogical use of the Law is best stated in Romans 3.20 and Galatians 4.24
"Therefore by the deeds of the Law there shall no flesh be justified in His sight: for by the Law is the knowledge of sin." Rom 3. 20
"Wherefore the Law was our schoolmaster [to bring us] unto Christ, that we might be justified by faith." Gal 3.24
The word pedagog simply means teacher or schoolmaster. When the Law is used by the Spirit of God to convict a sinner as to the Holiness and Justice of God, and that He demands both perfection and perfect satisfaction for transgression against His Law, the Law is said to have a pedagogical nature. In this way the Law is used both to slay the sinner and to set Christ as the only hope of salvation. Hence, it is said to be a schoolmaster. In this fashion the Law drives us to the foot of the Cross after the revelation of our need for Godís forgiveness. However, once the soul is regenerated by the Spirit, through the pedagogical use of the Law, the relationship of the Law and the Christian changes. It now has a Didactic nature.
The word didactic also means teacher, but it is used primarily for the regenerate saints. David uses this idea of Law and Commandment in Psalm 119, and Paul in Romans 7:12, 7:22 and 7:25. Antinomianism denies the didactic use of the Law over every area of life. Law is refuted as the set standard, and Gospel obedience is neglected through a redefinition of terms. The Antinomian antagonist adheres to a self-standardized notion of obedience rather than conforming to the Word of God, by the operation of the Spirit of God
Another fundamental malady plaguing the church and its people is autonomy. When every man functions according to what he believes is right in his own eyes, there is autonomy. Autonomy leads to anarchy and a total breakdown of the embracing of Biblical innerrancy. Any neutral or critical attitude toward the inspired Word of God can only undermine its validity, and usurp its recognized authority over all life and faith. Thus, the autonomous Antinomian either ignores, dilutes or changes the didactic use of the Law to suit his own doctrines and needs. Through independent human reasoning, the autonomous individual refuses to submit to the claims of Scripture upon every area of life. The clear admonition to be obedient and set apart unto Holy conduct falls upon deaf ears and a hardened heart. Cf. 1 Peter 1:14-15
Antinomianism, autonomy, and all their forms are foundational to the decay of the Christian church. Yet, the question still remains "How and why"? How have these heresies crept into faithful churches? Why is it such an epidemic? What makes seemingly religious, faithful folk, embrace such sinful doctrines? The answer is multifaceted yet painfully simple.
The reason behind the Truth of God being changed into a lie by many in Christendom revolves around the lust of their flesh. The desire for ease, comfort, and status has blinded the eye of the church. Both church-going individuals, and the institution itself, have formed ungodly and forbidden alliances with the world. Whether it is the stateís socialistic handouts, 501 c (3) incorporated churches, school vouchers or tax write-offs, the church and its people have failed to heed the warnings of both the Old and New Covenant.
Instead of assaulting the ideology of anti- Christ, the Christians have embraced the "way of the Gentiles", and sold themselves (and their children) for a piece of bread. As a result, the witness and power of the church has disintegrated beyond recognition. In accepting the stateís nickel, we have placed our neck in the stateís noose. The church has shifted the yardstick of Biblical ethics to the ideals and notions of Secular Humanism. Make no mistake about it, the church has succumbed to the influence of the world, and all its lusts.Apostasy is a progressive cancer. It begins with the individual, and if not checked, climbs its way into every area of life. As with Achan, so it is with us today. Personal sins bring negative sanctions upon the family, the church and the society. May God have mercy upon us, as we seek to reconstruct and re-establish, through education and bold proclamation, the Principles of Godís Law to a fallen and sinful people.
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