Devoted to the Propagation and Defense of New Testament Christianity
May 9, 1983

Marriage - As God Would Have It - (No. 4)

Gene Frost

VI. Antinomianism

To deny that one is amenable to the law of God, in an attempt to justify those who violate the will of God set forth in Matthew 19:3-9, is antinomianism. Various antinomian approaches have been suggested by the marriage-theorists. One, it is suggested that aliens are not amenable; second, some suggest that Christians are not amenable; and third, some try to make a distinction between a "law of Christ" and a "gospel of Christ."

If it be true that the alien is not amenable to the law, or will of God, it would not be possible for the alien to sin because sin is the transgression of law. So, then, "where no law is, there is no transgression." (Rom. 4:15) If there is no law for an act to violate, there can be no sin. Hence, aliens could not be sinners and would not need to be baptized for a "remission of sins" (Acts 2:38) This would make absurd the preaching of the gospel — the idea of telling people who have no sins to be baptized to wash away sins. (Acts 22:16)

Sometimes it is then reasoned that aliens are sinners by reason of transgression of civil law. If so, they are criminals (sinners) before the state rather than God. If before God, then the laws of the land constitute the laws of God for the alien. But who will dare so affirm? Who will contend that all civil enactments constitute God's law and to resist such makes one a sinner before God? Again, were the theory so then when one satisfied the violation, paid his fine, he would no longer be guilty before God. Or, if he obeyed the gospel and were forgiven of his civil violations, he would not have to pay his fine in court. (Who wants to try it?) The theory would conclude, then, that if the alien lives in obedience to civil law, he is no subject of the gospel to be baptized for a "remission of civil crimes."

But what saith the Scriptures in reply to this theory that "nothing done in the World, by the World, was looked upon as sin, for it transgressed no law of Him"? In reply there are four (as herein enumerated) proofs that aliens are amenable to the gospel (law) of Christ:

(1) Law which is addressed to all men is law to which all men are amenable. "Now we know that what things soever the law saith, it saith to them who are under the law." (Romans 3:19) The gospel of Christ is such a law: it is addressed to all men. (Mark 16:15-16; Acts 17:30) Therefore, the gospel of Christ is law (Gal. 6:2; James 2:12) to which all men are amenable.

(2) Law that brings blessings to all who obey it is law to which all are amenable. For example, obedience to the law of Moses offers no blessings now to any who observe it because none is amenable to it. But the law of Christ brings blessings to all who obey it (Mark 16:16); therefore, the law of Christ is law to which all are amenable.

(3) Law that brings punishment to all who fail to obey it is law to which all are amenable. Such is the gospel of Christ. (2 Thess. 1:6-9) The law of Christ is law to which all are amenable.

(4) Law that will judge all is law to which all are amenable. All will be judged by the law of Christ. (John 12:48; Acts 17:30-31; James 2:12) The law of Christ is law to which all are amenable.

Examples Of Aliens Under Law

"Know ye not that the unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God? Be not deceived: neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor abusers of themselves with mankind, nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners, shall inherit the kingdom of God. And such were some of you: but ye are washed, but ye are sanctified, but ye are justified in the name of the Lord Jesus, and by the Spirit of our God." (1 Cor. 6:9-11)

Some of the Corinthians before becoming Christians were guilty of fornication, idolatry, covetousness, et al. These were violations of the will of God. But, we are told, the Corinthians were sinners because of violations of civil law. Is this so; could it be? Were the Corinthians guilty of fornication by civil law in a city that supported a temple of harlots? Was it a violation of civil law for the Corinthians to worship state-sponsored idols? Where is that civil statute condemning covetousness? Could it be enforced? It is obvious that the Corinthians were guilty as aliens by reason of violating the law of God.

Also Read Colossians 3:5-7.

Some theorists reason conversely, admitting that the alien is amenable to the law of Christ, and when guilty of the condition described in Matt. 19:3-9 he is an adulterer. However, this specie of theorist reasons that "God has the power to set the law aside dealing with those previously married in adultery, and does." Such a position is untenable and hardly worthy of serious consideration; if the Christian is not under law, there are no restrictions nor condemnation. This is the doctrine of the Nicolaitans of the past and of the Calvinist today.

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Some theorists recognize the difficulties that are encountered in the alien-antinomian contention and seek to modify the antinomian concept by suggesting that there is a distinction between the "law of Christ" and the "gospel of Christ." While one becomes guilty by violating the "law of Christ" he must not obey it, we are told, lest he be guilty of seeking justification by a lavi of works as did the Jews. Having become guilty of sin by the "law of Christ," he must not obey it; rather he must obey the "gospel of Christ" which is nothing more than the death, burial and resurrection of Christ, we are told. He does this by believing, repenting (?), and being baptized. Now being in Christ, no cessation of the illicit act is necessary because the relationship is changed: the adulterers are scripturally married! Thus baptism is a divorce decree and marriage ceremony in one.

Taking first things first in reply, there is no such distinction in the will of Christ as the theorist seeks to establish as a "law of Christ" and a "gospel of Christ" There are many contradictions in this theory. First (1), the gospel includes more than the death, burial, and resurrection, and second (2), the gospel is law.


The gospel includes more than the death, burial, and resurrection. The basis of the gospel, the "good news" (euangelion), is certainly the death, burial, and resurrection of Christ, but the "good news" is not confined to "three requirements."

(a) Before the death of Jesus, the gospel of the kingdom was proclaimed. (Matt. 4:23, 9:35, 24:14, etc.) (b) Whatever is associated with Christ, the new covenant, is good news; all that God teaches under the new covenant is the gospel, and we who believe and have repented and have been baptized ARE to live as becomes it! (Phil. 1:27) (c) In Gal. 2:1-2, Paul says, "Then after the space of fourteen years I went up again to Jerusalem with Barnabas, taking Titus also with me. And I went up by revelation; and I laid before them the gospel which I preached among the Gentiles...." Did the brethren in Jerusalem (Acts 15) assemble to discuss the death, burial, and resurrection? The Bible says they "were gathered together to consider this matter": circumcision and keeping of the law of Moses. (Verses 5-6) What Paul preached concerning such matters he calls the gospel!


The gospel is law. Law: "rules or mode of conduct made obligatory by some sanction which is imposed and enforced for their violation by a controlling authority....A divine command or a revelation of the will of God." (Webster's New International Dictionary)

Prophetically speaking of Jesus, Isaiah said, "Behold my servant, whom I uphold; mine elect, in whom my soul delighteth; I have put my spirit upon him: he shall bring forth judgment to the Gentiles.... He shall not fail nor be discouraged, till he have set judgment in the earth' and the isles shall wait for his law." (Isaiah 42:1, 4; cf. Matt. 12:18-20)

To deny that the teachings of Jesus (the gospel, "good news") is law is a grave mistake. Galatians 6:2, "Bear ye one another's burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ.

In Galatians 5:2, Paul pleads, "Stand fast therefore in the liberty wherewith Christ hath made us free, and be not entangled again with the yoke of bondage." The yoke of bondage, he goes on to say is the law of Moses. Liberty is in Christ; the law of Christ is a law of liberty. James 1:25: "But whoso looketh into the perfect law of liberty...." James 2:12: "So speak ye, and so do, as they that shall be judged by the law of liberty." (A quality of law is judgment: John 12:48.)

Then again the theorist contends that in baptism the relationship of the adulterers is changed, what was once illicit is now lawful.

"He argues that if one entered into an unlawful marriage, it is adultery after baptism. He denies forgiveness, mercy and change of relationship in God's sight."

"That they entered an adulterous marriage I freely admit. Now I shall show that they were cleansed and were not required to separate."

Of course, any act violating law is sin; this is true whether committed before or after baptism. The act designated adultery before baptism when committed after baptism is still adultery! Idolatry is still idolatry, and drunkeness is still drunkeness — do mercy and grace "change" these acts from what is sinful to an action now worthy? Yet, the theorist would make this claim with respect to adultery. Were it true (and it is not), the former marriage of the adulterer would have to be dissolved, but Jesus stated that the only cause is fornication. Hence, if the relationship is changed, the adulterer's former mate must be charged with fornication! Then for this cause the former adulterer (he is no longer guilty — the sin has been transferred) puts away his mate, and marries his formerly adulterous partner! Baptism does all this — transfers guilt, divorce, and marries! Who believes it? Yet, the theorist assumes that baptism changes adultery, and brethren are expected to swallow it! God forbid!

— 1930 Jenny Lind Ave., Fort Smith, Ark.