Posted On October 3, 2017

How the Gospel Frees From Lawlessness

by | Oct 3, 2017 | Sanctify, Featured

We previously considered the pitfalls of legalism, and how the gospel lifts us out of them. Now let’s look at the dangers of lawlessness, and how the Gospel guards us against them.

Just as we observed with legalism, lawlessness can be displayed in many ways. Lawlessness (or “antinomianism” as it is sometimes called) is the opposite of legalism though; whereas legalism seeks salvation through law, in one form or another, lawlessness seeks to escape the law in one way or another.

Avoiding Lawlessness

Let’s look at a few examples to help us identify lawlessness in our lives.

1) Minimizing sin’s danger to ourselves because it will be “covered by grace” (Romans 6:1-4).

While we might never make this excuse or argument to ourselves theologically (because we know the Bible explicitly answers it), we often do so practically—in fact, every time we willfully sin!

We presume upon grace every time we do not fight as hard against sin as we ought to.

Any time that we minimize sin in our minds because “we know we are saved by grace,” we forget what grace cost God: the life of His own Son Jesus Christ. We are practicing lawlessness in that we are pretending that the law did not have to be satisfied by the cross of Christ for us to go free.

Yes, grace is free to us, but it is the most costly freedom that has ever been purchased.

2) Offering ourselves or others false assurance while walking in unrepentant sin (1 John 3:1-7).

The Bible’s only word to those who are walking in known, unrepentant sin is “Repent or perish.” There is a sort of “easy believism” within Christian circles that says if you have ever walked down an aisle, or signed a card, or prayed a prayer then you are in Christ, no matter what you may live like afterward. But the Apostle John says, “No one who abides in him keeps on sinning; no one who keeps on sinning has either seen him or known him. Little children, let no one deceive you. Whoever practices righteousness is righteous, as he is righteous” (1 John 3:6-7).

The good news of the Gospel is not that God saves us in our sin, but that God saves us from our sin.

Walking in known sin is a display of lawlessness because it says that—no matter what we say we believe about God—we don’t really believe that disobedience has consequences, or that the law applies to us and our sin. Of course, to those who are blessed with repentance—no matter who they are, or what they’ve done—the Gospel promises they will always be received and forgiven for Christ’s sake.

3) Focusing only on the commands we think we are keeping, rather than those we struggle with or are being disobedient to (Matthew 7:3-5).

It is so easy to avoid God’s Word to us, His commands that are relevant to our situation, by focusing our critical gaze on someone else! That is what Jesus is describing in His story concerning the speck and the beam: we criticize someone else’s sin to avoid conviction, correction, and cleansing of our own sin. This is practical lawlessness! We are ignoring the law in the very points that it applies to our hearts and lives. So even though we may say we believe in the Bible, and in sin, if we do not allow the Bible to point out our sin then we are avoiding the law; we are practicing lawlessness in our lives while affirming the law with our mouths.

Applying the Gospel

The Gospel is the cure for every form of lawlessness that threatens to creep into our hearts. Peter says that Christ bore our sins in his own body so that we might die to sin and live to righteousness (1 Peter 2:24). Paul tells us to “walk in love” in the same way that Christ has loved us: by giving “himself up for us, a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God (Ephesians 5:2).

What smells good about me, to God? Jesus. And when I keep that truth in mind it frees me from the legalism that seeks salvation through the law, and the lawlessness that minimizes the seriousness of law-breaking.

Related Posts

The Importance of Small Groups

The Importance of Small Groups

On today’s Warriors of Grace show, Dave considers why Christians should participate in small groups, Hebrews 10:19-25 and the Christian life, the importance of biblical context, and sermon review in small groups. What You'll Hear On This Episode Why Participate in a...

Warming Ourselves at the Fire: Biblical Meditation

Warming Ourselves at the Fire: Biblical Meditation

Warming Ourselves at the Fire: Biblical Meditation An open fire is a wonderful luxury in a cooler climate. There is little as enjoyable as a brisk walk in a fresh, crisp frost followed by lingering near an open fire to warm up. This is the image that the Puritan...

The Inspiration of Scripture in a Post-Truth World

The Inspiration of Scripture in a Post-Truth World

On today’s Equipping You in Grace show, Dave considers the meaning of verbal plenary inspiration, how Christians should respond to a post-truth culture with Scripture, and the ministry of the Holy Spirit in the life of the Christian, and our witness. What you'll hear...

Informed Intercession: Praying the Bible

Informed Intercession: Praying the Bible

The best piece of advice I ever received concerning prayer was: ‘Pray the Bible.’ I can’t remember who gave it to me, I don’t know in what context it was said, and I don’t even know how long ago I was given it. None of that matters, though, because even though my...

Weekly Roundup 8/8/2022-8/13/2022

Weekly Roundup 8/8/2022-8/13/2022

This is our weekly roundup of posts for 8/8/2022-8/13/2022. If you have any feedback on how we can serve you our readers better, I would appreciate it. Thank you for reading and allowing us to minister to you throughout this past week through these posts. Monday...



  1. Weekly Roundup 10/2/2017-10/7/2017 - Servants of Grace - […] How the Gospel Frees From Lawlessness by Justin Huffman […]

Submit a Comment

Your email address will not be published.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.