Antinomianism and Homosexuality?

Question
Since we are no longer under the law but under grace (Rom 6:14), I can now practice homosexuality, right? The law is abolished, right?
Answer

Such an assumption would be incorrect.

First, Romans 6:14 (cf. Gal 3:23-25; Eph 2:15) states, "For sin shall not be your master, because you are not under law, but under grace." But Romans 6:14 is immediately followed by Romans 6:15, which states, "What then? Shall we sin because we are not under law but under grace? By no means!" Thus, an interpretation of Romans 6:14 that says one is free to sin does injustice to the context of God's unchangeable Word.

Homosexuality is sin! It is still a sin even today. It will and is a sin for all time; just like adultery, beastality, fornication, idolatry, etc. (1 Cor 6:6-9). Grace is not a means to being "without the law" (i.e. Antinomianism). One "in Christ" is not set free to sin, but set free to live righteously!

Paul also says, "the law is holy, and the commandment is holy and righteous and good" (Rom. 7:12), "we know that the law is spiritual" (Rom. 7:14), and "I delight in the law of God" (Rom. 7:22). Being no longer "slaves of sin," true Christians, "have become obedient from the heart to the standard of teaching to which [they] were committed and . . . have become slaves to righteousness" (Rom. 6:17-18).

The law of God is precious! Simply put:

1. The first purpose of the law is to be a mirror.

This is two-fold:

a. The law of God reflects and mirrors the perfect righteousness of God. The law tells us much about who God is. We are made in God's image (Gen 1:27). We are to reflect his goodness, righteousness, etc.

b. Moreover, the law illumines human sinfulness. Augustine wrote, "The law orders, that we, after attempting to do what is ordered, and so feeling our weakness under the law, may learn to implore the help of grace" (Calvin, Institutes, Book II, 1:306). So, the law highlights our weaknesses so that we might seek the strength (grace) found in Christ.

2. The second purpose for the law is the restraint of evil.

The law, in and of itself, cannot change our heart - only the Spirit does that! (John 3:1-8). It can, however, serve to curb unrighteousness. Calvin says this purpose is "by means of its fearful denunciations and the consequent dread of punishment, to curb those who, unless forced, have no regard for rectitude and justice" (Calvin, Institutes, Book II, 1:307).

3. The third purpose of the law is to reveal what is pleasing to God.

As new creatures in Christ Jesus, the law enlightens Christians as to what is pleasing to God, whom we will seek (Jer 29:13), serve (Luke 4:8), and obey (Heb 5:9). The true Christian will delight in the law as God himself delights in it. Jesus said, "If you love me, keep my commandments" (John 14:15). So, the law serves as an instrument for the people of God to give him honor and glory.

So, the liberty which we have in Christ is not license to commit sin (Antinomianism, being without law), but the freedom to obey his will. It is glorious, lovely, and life changing "in Christ."

Second, a very brief study of the Bible reveals that the moral law still exists and that Antinomianism (being without the law) is sin:

1. Note what Jesus spoke to the Rich Young Man in Matthew 19:16-19 concerning the moral law (cf. Matt 5:17).

2. See what Paul states in Romans 13:8-10 about the law.

3. John clearly defines sin, telling us that "sin is lawlessness" (1 John 3:4).

4. John describes the saints as those "who obey God's commandments and remain faithful to Jesus" (Rev. 14:12; cf. 1 John 5:3).

5. John also gives us this sobering warning: "The man who says, "I know him," but does not do what he commands is a liar, and the truth is not in him" (1 John 2:4).

6. Peter delivers a similar warning. "If they have escaped the corruption of the world by knowing our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ and are again entangled in it and overcome, they are worse off at the end than they were at the beginning. It would have been better for them not to have known the way of righteousness, than to have known it and then to turn their backs on the sacred command that was passed on to them" (2 Pet. 2:20-21).

7. Last, but not least, note what happened in the Old Testament - even to Israel - when they tried to live outside of God's law.

There was Antinomianism even in the Garden of Eden. The devil himself is the chief Antinomian. Remember what he said to Eve: "Yea, hath God said, Ye shall not eat of every tree of the garden?" and again, "Ye shall not surely die" (Gen. 3:1, 4). These statements were against God's law (Gen 2:16-17). We see Israel going against God's law in Exodus 32:7-8 (i.e. golden calf). Perhaps Judges gives us the best definition of Antinomianism, "every man did that which was right in his own eyes" (Judges 21:25). It surfaced in Jeremiah's day as well (Jer. 7:9-10).

Don't be fooled. The heart is very deceitful (Jer 17:9). Don't fall for its tricks.

Homosexuality is against the moral laws of God. It is still a sin. There is no biblical reasoning that supports the activity of homosexuality as righteous before holy God. We all (the present author included) at times try to justify our sin. But know this 'our sins WILL find us out' (Num 32:23). All sin will be judged; fully, completely, and eternally (Rom 6:23). The day of the Lord is near (Jas 5:8; cf. Rom 13:11). Only by the Spirit of God can one turn to the Lord with all of their heart (Jonah 2:9; Psa 3:8; 27:1; Hos 14:2). Ask for his mercy and grace. Seek him now (Deut 6:5; Isa 55:6; cf. Joel 2:12). Don't be like some at Thyatira (Rev 2:20-23).

Related Links:

Were Ruth and Naomi Lesbians?
Same-Sex Love?
Is Passive Homosexuality Permitted in Scripture? - 1 Corinthians 6:9
The Queen James Bible?
No Cake for You?
Homosexuality and the Centurion's Servant?
Practicing Homosexuals Can Go to Heaven?
Homosexuality or Inhospitality? - Genesis 19:5
Was David a Homosexual? - 1 Samuel 18:1-4
Isaiah and Homosexuals? - Isaiah 56:3
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Answer by Dr. Joseph R. Nally, Jr.

Dr. Joseph R. Nally, Jr., D.D., M.Div. is the Theological Editor at Third Millennium Ministries (IIIM).