Paul's Passing Thoughts

Do you Misrepresent the Pharisees? Well Then, You Just Might Be an Antinomian

Posted in Uncategorized by Andy Young, PPT contributing editor on April 25, 2016

Originally published September 7, 2010

I heard it again yesterday in a Sunday morning message: the Pharisees were really, really good at keeping the Law, but at the end of the day Jesus said that our righteousness must surpass that of the Pharisees.  Alas, proof that we can’t be justified by keeping the Law (which no one would argue with). The pastor, in this message that is one of many in his series on The Sermon on the Mount, even said something like this: “The Pharisees’ efforts at keeping the Law wasn’t the issue, they were good at keeping the Law.” But is that true? And by the way, considering who the audience was at that church (primarily saints gathered for worship and the hearing of the word), and the fact that his topic was the role of the Law in Christian living, why was he even discussing justification in that context? Based on his view of the Pharisees and their supposed efforts to be justified by keeping the Law, one of his statements to *us* was “you don’t keep the Law by trying to keep the Law.” Hmmm, really?

We certainly are not justified by “trying” to keep the Law, but should we try to keep the Law in order to please and obey our Lord? Yes, I think so. Now, I don’t know this pastor very well, but I know him well enough to know that he wouldn’t dream of synthesizing justification and sanctification, but due to the fact that our present church culture is awash in an antinomian doctrine that does just that, are pastors propagating such a synthesis unawares? Yes, I think so. In his sermon notes, the top of the page has statements like ”Things Jesus wants us (“us” would presumably be Christians) to know about the Law.” The top part of the notes are also replete with “we” in regard to the Law, but the bottom part has statements like: “We live in the Age of Grace; salvation is not of works,” but yet, the whole message clearly regards the role of the Law in the life of a Christian. Therefore, whether unawares or otherwise, he clearly extended the relationship of the Law in regard to Justification into the realm of sanctification.

Here is where we must call on our good friend Jeff Foxworthy who developed a program for helping people who may be rednecks but don’t know it. He presents several different questions from different angles of thought, and depending on the answers to the questions, “you just might be a redneck.” Likewise, if you misrepresent the Pharisees, you just might be an antinomian without knowing it.

First of all, we can see from the very same proof text used to demonstrate the idea above that the Pharisees were not guilty of attempting to keep the Law in order to be justified:

[9] “Anyone who breaks one of the least of these commandments and teaches others to do the same will be called least in the kingdom of heaven, but whoever practices and teaches these commands will be called great in the kingdom of heaven. [20] For I tell you that unless your righteousness surpasses that of the Pharisees and the teachers of the law, you will certainly not enter the kingdom of heaven” (Matthew 5:19,20).

So, as the reasoning goes, verse 19 indicates that “we” should revere God’s Law, but since the Pharisees were really, really good at keeping the Law (an assumed interpretive criteria) we shouldn’t “try” to keep the Law because that’s what they tried to do, and our righteousness must surpass theirs because you can’t be saved by keeping the Law (and again, why are we discussing salvation in this context to begin with?). But we can see just from this text alone that this interpretation is not true. In every literal English translation that I could find, the coordinating conjunction “for” links verses 19 and 20. As we know, coordinating conjunctions join two complete ideas together and indicates the connection between the two. In all cases, the translators saw fit to translate the conjunction “for” from the Greek texts. If Jesus was contrasting the two ideas, a different conjunction would have been used like “but,” ie., the Pharisees do verse 19 really well, “but” not perfectly, therefore you need a righteousness that is perfect (this is true, but not what Christ is referring to here). No, the conjunction used is “for” which indicates “reason”(reason why): because the Pharisees were guilty of verse 19, they (the audience) were not going to enter the kingdom of heaven if they where like the Pharisees in regard to habitually breaking the Law of God and teaching others to do so. Also, I think the Lord’s reference to being the least or the greatest “in the kingdom” (verse 19) is in reference to degree and set against the example of the Pharisees who were guilty of doing (breaking the Law and teaching others to do so) habitually which was an indication that their souls were in peril. Therefore, even if the assumption regarding the Pharisees ability to obey the Law outwardly is true, it’s the wrong transition; a better transition would be “but” and would read something like this: “Christians should obey the Law ‘but’ even if you keep the law as good as the Pharisees do, it will not get you into the kingdom, so you need a righteousness that surpasses theirs.”

Granted, depending on how you diagram the sentence, you might be able to make a case either way, but is it true that the Pharisees were experts at keeping the Law outwardly? No. From other Scriptures we know that the Pharisees were guilty of verse nineteen; specifically, they replaced the Law with their own traditions. That’s why Jesus immediately launches into the whole “you have heard that it was said….but I tell you”starting in the following sentence (verse21). Not only that, Jesus says specifically in Matthew 15:1-9 that His contention with the Pharisees (and the teachers of the law as exactly referred to in verse 20) was the fact that they twisted the Scriptures according to their traditions:

[1] Then some Pharisees and teachers of the law came to Jesus from Jerusalem and asked, [2]”Why do your disciples break the tradition of the elders? They don’t wash their hands before they eat!”[3] Jesus replied, “And why do you break the command of God for the sake of your tradition? [4] For God said, ‘Honor your father and mother’ and ‘Anyone who curses his father or mother must be put to death.’ [5] But you say that if a man says to his father or mother, ‘Whatever help you might otherwise have received from me is a gift devoted to God,’ [6] he is not to ‘honor his father’ with it. Thus you nullify the word of God for the sake of your tradition. [7] You hypocrites! Isaiah was right when he prophesied about you: [8] ‘These people honor me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me. [9] They worship me in vain; their teachings are but rules taught by men.'”

The Pharisees were not proficient at keeping God’s law outwardly. In fact, they didn’t do so at all, but rather propagated teachings that were “rules taught by men.” Therefore, the Pharisees were guilty of neglecting the true Law and teaching others to do so (Matthew 5:19). They were not the poster-children for some campaign to demonstrate the futility of Law-keeping, especially in regard to believers. In fact, Christ said their lax attitude toward the Law was indicative of those who will not enter the kingdom. For this reason the Pharisees were not the greatest in heaven as the masses supposed, but the least, if they were even in the kingdom at all. Therefore, when Christ told the crowd that their righteousness must exceed the righteousness of the Pharisees, He wasn’t talking about the imputed righteousness of Christ that the Pharisees were supposedly trying to obtain themselves for salvation (besides, they were not attempting to do that to begin with as I have demonstrated), but rather the true righteous behavior demanded of kingdom citizens. If Christ was talking about an imputed righteousness (for sanctification), why would He have not simply said so? For example: “Your righteousness must not only exceed that of the Pharisees (which wouldn’t have been hard to do anyway, and therefore by no means a profound statement by Christ), but ( a contrast conjunction) must be a righteousness that comes from God alone”…for sanctification.

If you misrepresent the Pharisees as the first century poster-children for “let go and let God theology” because they supposedly tried to keep the Law, you just might be an antinomian. But in part two, we discuss another question that may give credence to the possibility: Do you misrepresent obedience as outward alone? Well then, you just may be an antinomian.

paul

The Life of the Believer is Logical, Reasonable, Practical, and Objective

Posted in Uncategorized by Paul M. Dohse Sr. on July 27, 2015

https://paulspassingthoughts.com/More than anything, Christ reasoned with people. More than anything, Christ challenged people to think and ponder. One of His favorite introductions to challenging people to think was, “What do you think?” followed by a parable or an example from everyday life.

When Christ began to preach the good news of the kingdom, the Jewish culture was mired in spiritual caste and mysticism. The straightforward commonsense practicality of The Sermon on the Mount, a transcript of Christ’s “good news of the kingdom of God” was utter culture shock. Christ spoke directly to their responsibility in understanding kingdom living and cited NO earthly authority whatsoever. It also demonstrates the kingdom’s mode of operation in regard to present ambassadorship: one head instructing common folks for a common goal.

Christ completely bypassed the spiritual hierarchy of that day as he would in our day if He walked among us as He once did. He wouldn’t contact the Pope, he wouldn’t contact Al Mohler, He wouldn’t contact John Piper; He would take His mandate directly to the common people who are organized and energized by individual gifts—NOT authority.

The institutional church in our day is a mirror image of that day’s spiritual caste; whether the Pope or the Neo-Calvinists, they are no less the contemporary Pharisees and Sadducees of our day. Be sure of this: spiritual authority is ALWAYS accompanied by the idea that God has mediated knowledge through preordained human agencies in addition to Christ. And also be sure of this: spiritual authority will ALWAYS result in illiterate kingdom knowledge and living at best, and cultic tyranny at worst. The supposedly meek pastor is no less a tyrant for disarming you with ignorance that doesn’t even have an ability to ask the right questions.

The apostle Paul could not have been clearer on this as he used the human body to illustrate the function of Christ’s assembly; body parts don’t have authority, they have function. The right hand can tell the bladder to behave itself till the cows come home, but if the bladder is not doing its job, the right hand is wasting its breath (1Corinthians 12). The assembly of believers operate as a body, not an institution. Proper function leads to organized productivity, wellbeing, the advancement of the gospel, and the glory of God.

Christ offered His body once so that we may follow Him in the death and resurrection of the new birth. Once we are born again, our “reasonable (logikos: logical) service” is to offer our bodies as a living sacrifice for the kingdom. Paul’s use of words in Romans 12:1 is stunningly practical. In contrast, cultures have traditionally seized on hokey gimmicks of every sort offered by cultic mediators to bring spiritual manifestations down to earth for our experiential enjoyment or escape from the responsibility of real life. In the first century, as today, the misrepresentation of speaking in tongues is certainly no exception.

1 Corinthians 14:1 – Pursue love, and earnestly desire the spiritual gifts, especially that you may prophesy. 2 For one who speaks in a tongue speaks not to men but to God; for no one understands him, but he utters mysteries in the Spirit. 3 On the other hand, the one who prophesies speaks to people for their upbuilding and encouragement and consolation. 4 The one who speaks in a tongue builds up himself, but the one who prophesies builds up the church. 5 Now I want you all to speak in tongues, but even more to prophesy. The one who prophesies is greater than the one who speaks in tongues, unless someone interprets, so that the church may be built up.

6 Now, brothers, if I come to you speaking in tongues, how will I benefit you unless I bring you some revelation or knowledge or prophecy or teaching? 7 If even lifeless instruments, such as the flute or the harp, do not give distinct notes, how will anyone know what is played? 8 And if the bugle gives an indistinct sound, who will get ready for battle? 9 So with yourselves, if with your tongue you utter speech that is not intelligible, how will anyone know what is said? For you will be speaking into the air. 10 There are doubtless many different languages in the world, and none is without meaning, 11 but if I do not know the meaning of the language, I will be a foreigner to the speaker and the speaker a foreigner to me. 12 So with yourselves, since you are eager for manifestations of the Spirit, strive to excel in building up the church.

13 Therefore, one who speaks in a tongue should pray that he may interpret. 14 For if I pray in a tongue, my spirit prays but my mind is unfruitful. 15 What am I to do? I will pray with my spirit, but I will pray with my mind also; I will sing praise with my spirit, but I will sing with my mind also. 16 Otherwise, if you give thanks with your spirit, how can anyone in the position of an outsider say “Amen” to your thanksgiving when he does not know what you are saying? 17 For you may be giving thanks well enough, but the other person is not being built up. 18 I thank God that I speak in tongues more than all of you. 19 Nevertheless, in church I would rather speak five words with my mind in order to instruct others, than ten thousand words in a tongue.

20 Brothers, do not be children in your thinking. Be infants in evil, but in your thinking be mature. 21 In the Law it is written, “By people of strange tongues and by the lips of foreigners will I speak to this people, and even then they will not listen to me, says the Lord.” 22 Thus tongues are a sign not for believers but for unbelievers, while prophecy is a sign not for unbelievers but for believers. 23 If, therefore, the whole church comes together and all speak in tongues, and outsiders or unbelievers enter, will they not say that you are out of your minds? 24 But if all prophesy, and an unbeliever or outsider enters, he is convicted by all, he is called to account by all, 25 the secrets of his heart are disclosed, and so, falling on his face, he will worship God and declare that God is really among you.

The key to spiritual growth and true manifestations (our walking in truth) of the Spirit is MATURE THINKING and edification by which God’s people mature. Experiential endeavors that are not objective do NOT edify. Period.

Susan and I have a wonderful marriage, but we are not exactly on the same page regarding perceived value in listening to Christian radio. She thinks it has some limited value while I think it is utterly devoid of any edification whatsoever. While riding in the car with her yesterday, we listened to a young girl giving her personal testimony on a “Christian” radio station. Susan often beckons me to “give Christian radio another chance.” The girl spoke of her “personal relationship” with Christ as opposed to merely knowing Him. Trust me, few of these people, if any, can define what it is to have a “personal relationship” with Christ. It’s the mindless spewing of a spiritual bumper sticker that posits subjective piety which supposedly knows beyond knowing. Yes, it’s not about what Jesus says in His word, it’s about the “intimate” relationship with Him. After all, “He’s a person, not a precept.” And so goes the incessant gagathon.

The girl concluded her Gnostic diatribe by sharing how she led her sister to the Lord. Apparently. Yes, she is really happy that her sharing of the gospel lacked substance and knowledge because she had been praying for her sister’s salvation. Hence, she can be confident that it was all of God and not her proficiency in sharing according to knowledge. Susan then asked, “Would you like me to turn the radio off?” I would. This is just another example of why the institutional church is a wasteland of destruction and death. Like gangrene, feeble thinking leads to the silent eating away of flesh and a crippled body with an ongoing need for amputation.

Spiritual growth goes hand in glove with the individual believer being responsible for personal understanding, and by the way, for unity sake must be “convinced in his own mind” (Romans 14). Critical and central to the relevance of home fellowships is EDIFICATION. Teaching and learning must be a primary focus. Home fellowships must be rooted and grounded in objective truth.

paul

A Review of Dr. Jay Adams’ Message to the Mid-America Baptist Theological Seminary Student Body

Posted in Uncategorized by Paul M. Dohse Sr. on March 2, 2015

On February 24, Dr. Jay Adams was the presenter for the student chapel service at Mid-America Baptist Theological Seminary. The message was about 25 minutes long and can be observed here: https://vimeo.com/120670699. The get to the point, make the point, and get out of town approach has become sort of a calling card for Adams in recent years, perhaps due to his age (86). On the other hand, he has written articles on the importance of only using the amount of words necessary to make a point.

The practice of reviewing books and sermons is something I gave up about a year ago because this ministry is past evaluating symptoms, and is focused on resolving the problem. For all practical purposes, it can be assumed that all Protestant sermons are going to be driven by progressive justification, Luther and Calvin’s false gospel. The Reformed deny this; apparently, in 3.14 of his Institutes, Calvin didn’t really mean to say that justification is progressive when he said it is progressive.

If we would only read every literary drone Calvin ever wrote we would understand that “progressive” really doesn’t mean “progressive” in the progressive sense. Justification and progressive sanctification are “never separate, but distinct.” Distinct? How? Well, sanctification is “justification in motion,” or as the brilliant Dr. Lou Priolo states it, “justification is always running in the background” like your Windows program is always running in the background. Thanks Lou. As one Reformed pastor told me, “Any idiot should know that the basis of something isn’t necessarily a progression.” And like Voddie Baucham told me personally, “That road out there is done, but we still use it.” In the exchange, something became very apparent to me: Voddie is a very large man, and not well acclimated to being challenged, so I left it there.

In other words, thou ignorant lay person, thou grasper of material shadows, something “running” isn’t really progressing when you see it in Luther’s “gospel context.” It takes a real metaphysical idiot to think a cat that is running is progressing. Just shut up and put your money in the plate, thou artisan.

So, why write a review on Dr. J’s message at Mid-America? Because he is one of the few pastors, if not the only one left in the institutional church, that is different. Apparently, Mid-America is friendly to Dr. J’s counseling construct and respects him enough to invite him to speak to those who are charged with indoctrinating. This means I must see Mid-America as different from all other seminaries: they are at least road kill that is still moving.

Furthermore, I believe Adams fathered the only real revival that the institutional church has ever seen since the Reformation. And excuse me, but a civil war isn’t a revival, and people executed for treason are not martyrs even if executed by a church state. A heretic executed by a heretic doesn’t make a martyr. What about the “Great Awakening”? That was spawned by the ideology of the American Revolution, not European political refugees. Sorry.

Even though Adams’ groundbreaking biblical counseling construct didn’t go far enough, it was predicated on the idea that Christians can actually do something along the lines of learn and do. Even flirting with the idea that Christians are empowered by obedience unleashed life and light in this Protestant Dark Age. In one of the most profound historical ironies of all time, the movement that returned the institutional church to authentic Protestantism began in the same year that Adams’ groundbreaking book Competent to Counsel was published. As both movements grew at breakneck speed, a contention between the two camps was inevitable.

The contention led to the unmerciful disparaging of Adams who has unfortunately given his entire life to the institutional church. All of his accomplishments are prefaced with the “but…second generation counseling’” from narcissistic, Platonist, psychopathic liars dressed up in Bible verses. And that’s not enough words, or the best words to describe them, but are the most tempered ones. Remember, his crime was to suggest that Christians can do something beyond gospel contemplationism.

I witnessed firsthand the results of the rise and fall of “first generation biblical counseling.” I saw the before and after at a NANC counseling center where I was an elder. The difference between first generation biblical counseling and second generation biblical counseling is the difference between a counselee handing the counselor a razor blade that was going to be used for suicide and a counselor drawing a map of the counselee’s life and then saying, “Here is where you are located in the gospel narrative” lest imperatives be used in counseling. I hope the Mid-America kiddies knew what they had sitting in front of them on Tuesday, but I doubt it. I am sure they would think that my description of second generation biblical counseling is the overuse of exaggerated words. That’s unfortunate. If people think there is something they can do about their situation, and even better yet, that God will help them, we call that “hope.”

And that brings me to the actual content of the message. Adams expounded on Ezra 7:6 and 10: “this Ezra went up from Babylonia. He was a scribe skilled in the Law of Moses…For Ezra had set his heart to study the Law of the Lord, and to do it and to teach his statutes and rules in Israel.” The message was pretty straightforward; as elders, they are to be diligent to learn God’s word through independent study, live the word out in their own lives, and teach others the same. This is no different on any wise in comparison to what Jesus said in His introduction to the Sermon on the Mount.

The fact that an 86-year-old man of God is still actively preaching is in and of itself very powerful, and the need for complete follow-through with the word of God powerful as well, but in our day and age, the message, especially in that venue, lacked additional words.

HOW should one in our day study the word of God? Is every verse about justification? And if sanctification is not the “running” part of justification, how then should our Bibles be read and studied? Sure, seminary students should study the word of God for the right motive, viz, life application, but what do we mean by “life application”? According to the leading evangelicals in our day, we are to only expound on the word of God, and…don’t miss this, “the Holy Spirit applies it” which implies that we don’t actually do the word, it’s done for us. “It’s NOT about what you do, it’s about what Jesus has done.” Do we apply the word ourselves with the help of the Spirit, or are we sanctified by contemplative justification?

In addition, these are clarifications that determine how we will teach others to apply the first two.

My conclusion. Anytime Adams is allowed to come out and play in the institutional church, road kill is closer to not being completely dead, and there is a chance that they will learn to look both ways before they cross the road, but more words are needed.

paul

Do you Misrepresent the Pharisees? Well Then, You Just Might Be an Antinomian

Posted in Uncategorized by Paul M. Dohse Sr. on September 7, 2010

I heard it again yesterday in a Sunday morning message: the Pharisees were really,really good at keeping the Law, but at the end of the day Jesus said that our righteousness must surpass that of the Pharisees. Alas, proof that we can’t be justified by keeping the Law (which no one would argue with). The pastor, in this message that is one of many in his series on The Sermon on the Mount, even said something like this: “The Pharisees’ efforts at keeping the Law wasn’t the issue, they were good at keeping the Law.” But is that true? And by the way, considering who the audience was at that church (primarily saints gathered for worship and the hearing of the word), and the fact that his topic was the role of the Law in Christian living, why was he even discussing justification in that context? Based on his view of the Pharisees and their supposed efforts to be justified by keeping the Law, one of his statements to *us* was “you don’t keep the Law by trying to keep the Law.” Hmmm, really?

We certainly are not justified by “trying” to keep the Law, but should we try to keep the Law in order to please and obey our Lord? Yes, I think so. Now, I don’t know this pastor very well, but I know him well enough to know that he wouldn’t dream of synthesizing justification and sanctification, but due to the fact that our present church culture is awash in an antinomian doctrine that does just that, are pastors propagating such a synthesis unawares? Yes, I think so. In his sermon notes, the top of the page has statements like ”Things Jesus wants us (“us” would presumably be Christians) to know about the Law.” The top part of the notes are also replete with “we” in regard to the Law, but the bottom part has statements like: “We live in the Age of Grace; salvation is not of works,” but yet, the whole message clearly regards the role of the Law in the life of a Christian. Therefore, whether unawares or otherwise, he clearly extended the relationship of the Law in regard to Justification into the realm of sanctification.

Here is where we must call on our good friend Jeff Foxworthy who developed a program for helping people who may be rednecks but don’t know it. He presents several different questions from different angles of thought, and depending on the answers to the questions, “you just might be a redneck.” Likewise, if you misrepresent the Pharisees, you just might be an antinomian without knowing it.

First of all, we can see from the very same proof text used to demonstrate the idea above that the Pharisees were not guilty of attempting to keep the Law in order to be justified:

[19] “Anyone who breaks one of the least of these commandments and teaches others to do the same will be called least in the kingdom of heaven, but whoever practices and teaches these commands will be called great in the kingdom of heaven. [20] For I tell you that unless your righteousness surpasses that of the Pharisees and the teachers of the law, you will certainly not enter the kingdom of heaven” (Matthew 5:19,20).

So, as the reasoning goes, verse 19 indicates that “we” should revere God’s Law, but since the Pharisees were really, really good at keeping the Law (an assumed interpretive criteria) we shouldn’t “try” to keep the Law because that’s what they tried to do, and our righteousness must surpass theirs because you can’t be saved by keeping the Law (and again, why are we discussing salvation in this context to begin with?). But we can see just from this text alone that this interpretation is not true. In every literal English translation that I could find, the coordinating conjunction “for” links verses 19 and 20. As we know, coordinating conjunctions join two complete ideas together and indicates the connection between the two. In all cases, the translators saw fit to translate the conjunction “for” from the Greek texts. If Jesus was contrasting the two ideas, a different conjunction would have been used like “but,” ie., the Pharisees do verse 19 really well, “but” not perfectly, therefore you need a righteousness that is perfect (this is true, but not what Christ is referring to here). No, the conjunction used is “for” which indicates “reason”(reason why): because the Pharisees were guilty of verse 19, they (the audience) were not going to enter the kingdom of heaven if they where like the Pharisees in regard to habitually breaking the Law of God and teaching others to do so. Also, I think the Lord’s reference to being the least or the greatest “in the kingdom” (verse 19) is in reference to degree and set against the example of the Pharisees who were guilty of doing (breaking the Law and teaching others to do so) habitually which was an indication that their souls were in peril. Therefore, even if the assumption regarding the Pharisees ability to obey the Law outwardly is true, it’s the wrong transition; a better transition would be “but” and would read something like this: “Christians should obey the Law ‘but’ even if you keep the law as good as the Pharisees do, it will not get you into the kingdom, so you need a righteousness that surpasses theirs.”

Granted, depending on how you diagram the sentence, you might be able to make a case either way, but is it true that the Pharisees were experts at keeping the Law outwardly? No. From other Scriptures we know that the Pharisees were guilty of verse nineteen; specifically, they replaced the Law with their own traditions. That’s why Jesus immediately launches into the whole “you have heard that it was said….but I tell you”starting in the following sentence (verse21). Not only that, Jesus says specifically in Matthew 15:1-9 that His contention with the Pharisees (and the teachers of the law as exactly referred to in verse 20) was the fact that they twisted the Scriptures according to their traditions:

[1] Then some Pharisees and teachers of the law came to Jesus from Jerusalem and asked, [2]”Why do your disciples break the tradition of the elders? They don’t wash their hands before they eat!”[3] Jesus replied, “And why do you break the command of God for the sake of your tradition? [4] For God said, ‘Honor your father and mother’ and ‘Anyone who curses his father or mother must be put to death.’ [5] But you say that if a man says to his father or mother, ‘Whatever help you might otherwise have received from me is a gift devoted to God,’ [6] he is not to ‘honor his father’ with it. Thus you nullify the word of God for the sake of your tradition. [7] You hypocrites! Isaiah was right when he prophesied about you: [8] ‘These people honor me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me. [9] They worship me in vain; their teachings are but rules taught by men.'”

The Pharisees were not proficient at keeping God’s law outwardly. In fact, they didn’t do so at all, but rather propagated teachings that were “rules taught by men.” Therefore, the Pharisees were guilty of neglecting the true Law and teaching others to do so (Matthew 5:19). They were not the poster-children for some campaign to demonstrate the futility of Law-keeping, especially in regard to believers. In fact, Christ said their lax attitude toward the Law was indicative of those who will not enter the kingdom. For this reason the Pharisees were not the greatest in heaven as the masses supposed, but the least, if they were even in the kingdom at all. Therefore, when Christ told the crowd that their righteousness must exceed the righteousness of the Pharisees, He wasn’t talking about the imputed righteousness of Christ that the Pharisees were supposedly trying to obtain themselves for salvation (besides, they were not attempting to do that to begin with as I have demonstrated), but rather the true righteous behavior demanded of kingdom citizens. If Christ was talking about an imputed righteousness (for sanctification), why would He have not simply said so? For example: “Your righteousness must not only exceed that of the Pharisees (which wouldn’t have been hard to do anyway, and therefore by no means a profound statement by Christ), but ( a contrast conjunction) must be a righteousness that comes from God alone”…for sanctification.

If you misrepresent the Pharisees as the first century poster-children for “let go and let God theology” because they supposedly tried to keep the Law, you just might be an antinomian. But in part two, we discuss another question that may give credence to the possibility: Do you misrepresent obedience as outward alone? Well then, you just may be an antinomian.

paul

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