Wednesday, January 30, 2008

The Right Error to be Wrongly Charged With

After expounding in glorious detail the gospel of justification by faith through the imputation to sinners of an alien righteousness, Paul the apostle begins the sixth chapter of Romans with the question, "What then? Shall we continue in sin that grace may abound?"

It seems to me that one of the key ways whereby we can determine whether we've understood one of Paul's arguments is by whether or not we are tempted to ask the question that he anticipates his readers asking.

So if, after reading the first five chapters of Romans, your first thought is that you can sin as much as you like since God's grace is so abundant, you're on the right track.

I know, I know... Paul's answer to the question is "no," but that doesn't change the fact that it's precisely the right question to ask.

The case can be made, therefore, that if Paul was constantly charged with preaching antinomianism (cf. Rom. 2:8), then this same charge will be made against those who preach a Pauline gospel today.

The question arises, then, concerning those in our circles who are sympathetic to the theology of the Federal Vision: In your zeal to remedy antinomianism, are you in fact undermining justification by faith alone? And if not, why do your critics all seem to think you are?

And what's more, Does it concern you that you are being charged with the exact opposite error with which Paul was charged?