Tag Archives: antinomianism

Both Get Asked the Same Question


Text: Luke 15:1-3,11-32
Full Sermon Draft

The text is the prodigal son. Actually the entire 15th Chapter of Luke should be taken together, but the assigned text was just the last of three parables. I struggled this week to find the clarity. Part of that I think was that pastors, especially those who are trying to be orthodox, feel something different from this parable.

The orthodox preacher teaches law and gospel. Both of them have their place. The church since the reformation has been about a specific viewpoint on the gospel. And that viewpoint is neatly captured by the prodigal or by the hymn amazing grace. I once was lost by now am found. The focal point is all on the individual and the God they are being reconciled to. Now what gets taken for granted in that reformation mentality is the whole. The prodigal is reconciled to the family of God. The prodigal is restored to the church. But let’s call it the reformation on steroids, TROS eventually loses the church. What we have is a whole lot of people in churches of one. They have achieved a state they think of as wholeness between them and their god. And then the church attempting to shepherd that person in holiness points out that the law is how God intended things to be. But in TROS the reply is “that’s not my God” or “God didn’t mean that” or some such answer. And the communicant in this church of one, if the true church persists, starts shouting things like Pharisee, or unloving older brother. You just need to accept me, because god has.

That is a completely different order than what the prodigal did. The prodigal may have thought he was returning but keeping his “freedom” – “make me a hired man”. That prodigal at the state wanted to enjoy the benefits of the family while still keeping his little shack just outside and rejecting those parts of the family he didn’t like. But by the time he has arose (a loaded term) and walked the path back and felt the compassion of the father in his embrace that demand or caveat on the repentance is gone. The prodigal submits himself completely to the household.

The question that both sons get asked is this: do you trust the Father’s judgment and ways? Older sons must accept the repentance of prodigals because God has. God works on repentance and absolution. Neither of those does away with the law. What they do is demonstrate that we have all fallen short. But prodigals, those being restored to the whole have to submit to that household. It is not Pharisaical for the church to point out that partial repentance is no repentance at all. In fact that is called Shepherding. (Ezek 33:8-11)

God is about restoring his people, restoring a whole. But we do not define that whole. All we can do is exclude ourselves from it. Do we accept the grace of the Father to be part of his family, or do we stand outside. We can stand outside in a far country. We can stand outside within the walls demanding our way. Both are forms of slavery to our sin. Only in submission and repentance do we find freedom. Do you truth the Father’s ways best revealed in Christ and the cross? The decision is life or death.

I fought the law and the law won…

Full Text

What does the law of Moses mean to a Christian? I think that is what Paul is trying to answer in Romans 7. And the text for today talked about the ditch to the right side of the road and the ditch to the left side of the road. On the right, you fall into legalism. You fall into the error that the law still has some role in your justification. Paul takes an analogy from marriage, but compared to Galatians, Paul is subdued in this response. He just reminds us that in Christ we are freed from the law, contrary to legalists everywhere. On the left side the ditch is antinominanism or the thought that the law itself has been banished. It is against this that Paul gets really tough. Boiled down he says – you need the law, you need it to show you just how lost and condemned you are.

Another way I thought about it this week is the right side is religious without being spiritual – the problem in the 16th century. The left is spiritual without being religious – the bigger problem today. Paul takes each in turn and says go back.

Next Sunday’s text looks at Paul’s via media on the law. But to stay out of the ditches both that law we can’t keep and the Spirit in us point toward Christ. Its His way that we walk.