COGWriter Dr Robert Thiel published an article today on Church of God News about “The horrible legacy of Martin Luther”. It appears that many consider this Luther’s birthday (Wikipedia says he was born 10 Nov 1483) and observe it (not sure how, seeing he’s dead). Some of the article is typical Thiel going off into rabbit holes, but his main point about Martin Luther and his legacy of hatred, especially towards Jews, is a good one.
I want to touch upon another part of his legacy: out and out antinomianism. It is quite clear that he believed in “once saved, always saved” in his writings. Here, in his own words, is the “non-sanitized version”:
13. If you are a preacher of mercy, do not preach an imaginary but the true mercy. If the mercy is true, you must therefore bear the true, not an imaginary sin. God does not save those who are only imaginary sinners. Be a sinner, and let your sins be strong, but let your trust in Christ be stronger, and rejoice in Christ who is the victor over sin, death, and the world. We will commit sins while we are here, for this life is not a place where justice resides. We, however, says Peter (2. Peter 3:13) are looking forward to a new heaven and a new earth where justice will reign. It suffices that through God’s glory we have recognized the Lamb who takes away the sin of the world. No sin can separate us from Him, even if we were to kill or commit adultery thousands of times each day. Do you think such an exalted Lamb paid merely a small price with a meager sacrifice for our sins? Pray hard for you are quite a sinner.
~ Luther, Martin. As quoted from Let Your Sins Be Strong: A Letter From Luther to Melanchthon Letter no. 99, 1 August 1521, From the Wartburg (Segment) Translated by Erika Bullmann Flores from: _Dr. Martin Luther’s Saemmtliche Schriften_ Dr, Johannes Georg Walch, Ed. (St. Louis: Concordia Publishing House, N.D.), Vol. 15,cols. 2585-2590. Retrieved from: http://onecanhappen.wordpress.com/2008/08/07/martin-luther-sin-boldly-%E2%80%94-no-sin-can-separate-us-from-him-even-if-we-were-to-kill-or-commit-adultery-thousands-of-times-each-day/
You can compare this to Sin Boldly.
Can one be “repented” and commit murder “thousands of times each day”? Can one be “converted” and commit adultery “thousands of times each day”?
Such utter nonsense!
Antinomians want to be free from the Law. Christ did not come to save us from the Law. Christ came to save us from sin and its ultimate consequences (Mt 18:10-11; Mk 2:17; Mt 1:21; Jn 3:16-17, cf Ro 6:23)! The tie-in is that sin is the transgression of the Law (1Jn 3:4). You break the Law, therefore you sin, and therefore you are sentenced to death. However, Christ came to take away the charges against us (Col 2:14) so that we can be “Justified”, that is stand guiltless, before God the Father. All charges against us have been dropped! We are free from spiritual slavery.
If a criminal is arrested, then in the US you are supposed to read him or her their rights, often called the “Miranda rights”. If they are not read their rights, then they can get off on a technicality. They are set free. The charges are dropped.
So, if a thief has their charges dropped, they are essentially innocent in the eyes of the law (unless, of course, they can charge them with something else, but let’s try to keep this simple, OK?). Does that mean that the thief can now go out and steal? Was the “law done away”? Are they now innocent now and forever, even if they willfully commit another crime over and over again?
When can the Law pass away? When “all” is fulfilled!
“All” is “pas”, which is Strong’s G3956, and it means “each, every, any, all, the whole, everyone, all things, everything” or it can mean collectively “some of all types”.
We have to be careful here because when Jesus healed “all manner of sickness” (Mt 4:23), it doesn’t mean He healed every disease in the entire world. Clearly, it is a collection of all types of diseases, and the English translation clearly reflects that sense. However, Satan tempts Jesus with “all these things” in Mt 4:9. All what things? Well, he showed Jesus all the kingdoms of the world. Did he mean just some of them? Would Jesus have even been tempted with just a representative portion of them?
However, when “all” is not modified by “manner” or “kinds” or words to that effect, we have to assume it means the entire superset of things being discussed. In Mt 5:18, Jesus simply states “till all be fulfilled”. What is “all”? All of “heaven and earth”! The whole enchilada! All of creation!
Does the earth still spin on its axis and go around the sun? Is Heaven still God’s throne? Then the Law is still there! It has not passed!
Furthermore, the Bible makes it quite clear that it existed from the beginning. Lucifer rebelled against God’s commandments, chose to decide for himself what was right and what was wrong and began to actively oppose God.
Question: Can someone “rebel” if there is no law or rule in place?
Of course not. God’s Law has always existed in some form.
Eventually, came along Abram, who was renamed to Abraham. He kept God’s Law (Ge 26:5)!
The idea of “righteousness”, that is, being “right” before God, is often ignored in discussions of grace. “Justice” and “righteousness” are closely related synonyms. “Righteousness” is H6666, “justice, righteousness”, and it describes righteousness in terms “of judge, ruler, king” and “of law”. It can even refer to “righteous acts”.
How are we “justified” before God? Every Christian should know that it is only through the blood of Jesus Christ. His blood covers our sins. We of ourselves cannot clean up ourselves. It takes His blood to cleanse us. This process of “justification” means we are presented as “righteous”.
So, now that we are cleaned up, should we go out and roll around with the pigs again? According to Martin Luther, “Yes.” According to God’s word: