by Mike Ratliff
24 Wretched man that I am! Who will set me free from the body of this death? 25 Thanks be to God through Jesus Christ our Lord! So then, on the one hand I myself with my mind am serving the law of God, but on the other, with my flesh the law of sin. (Romans 7:24, 25 NASB)
As I thought it would, my last post, Antinomianism, caused some backlash. Every time I have posted on that topic it causes something to happen like that. I was accused of things that as far as I know are not true and was told that that article was heretical. At the opening of it I stated, “Antinomianism means “opposed to law.” Antinomian views are those denying that God’s law in Scripture should directly control the Christian’s life.” The one doing most of the accusing demanded a verse stating where God’s law in Scripture should directly control the believer’s life. The first one I thought of was Romans 7:25 (above).
For a more in-depth exegesis of Romans 7:7-25 you may want to read “The Conflict of Two Natures” from February 29, 2012. The reaction to Antinomianism was not surprising, but the accusations went on and on and would be impossible for me to address here nor would I attempt it. The main issue I wanted to address from the “rant” was the above objection. Yes, Christians are under Grace and are not saved by keeping the law. However, the passage I was exegeting in 1 John from that post (and all of 1 John really) makes it clear that any form of antinomianism is not of God. So, if we are saved by grace, but are called to be obedient to serve the law of God with our minds, how does this work?
Here is what I do. I take Romans 12:1,2 literally:
1 Therefore I urge you, brethren, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies a living and holy sacrifice, acceptable to God, which is your spiritual service of worship. 2 And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect. (Romans 12:1,2 NASB)
Through that, I apply Romans 12:3-8:
3 For through the grace given to me I say to everyone among you not to think more highly of himself than he ought to think; but to think so as to have sound judgment, as God has allotted to each a measure of faith. 4 For just as we have many members in one body and all the members do not have the same function, 5 so we, who are many, are one body in Christ, and individually members one of another. 6 Since we have gifts that differ according to the grace given to us, each of us is to exercise them accordingly: if prophecy, according to the proportion of his faith; 7 if service, in his serving; or he who teaches, in his teaching; 8 or he who exhorts, in his exhortation; he who gives, with liberality; he who leads, with diligence; he who shows mercy, with cheerfulness. (Romans 12:3-8 NASB)
From that and the work of God’s sanctifying grace, the marks of a true Christian are made manifest in me more and more as Paul shows in Romans 12:9-21:
9 Let love be without hypocrisy. Abhor what is evil; cling to what is good. 10 Be devoted to one another in brotherly love; give preference to one another in honor; 11 not lagging behind in diligence, fervent in spirit, serving the Lord; 12 rejoicing in hope, persevering in tribulation, devoted to prayer, 13 contributing to the needs of the saints, practicing hospitality. 14 Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse. 15 Rejoice with those who rejoice, and weep with those who weep. 16 Be of the same mind toward one another; do not be haughty in mind, but associate with the lowly. Do not be wise in your own estimation. 17 Never pay back evil for evil to anyone. Respect what is right in the sight of all men. 18 If possible, so far as it depends on you, be at peace with all men. 19 Never take your own revenge, beloved, but leave room for the wrath of God, for it is written, “VENGEANCE IS MINE, I WILL REPAY,” says the Lord. 20 “BUT IF YOUR ENEMY IS HUNGRY, FEED HIM, AND IF HE IS THIRSTY, GIVE HIM A DRINK; FOR IN SO DOING YOU WILL HEAP BURNING COALS ON HIS HEAD.” 21 Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good. (Romans 12:9-21 NASB)
This is a summary; a beginning of what goes much deeper. We keep the law of God in our minds by loving one another and putting other’s needs above our own. We love others the way the Lord loves us.
Soli Deo Gloria!