The Antinomian Diaries: Are “Looking to Ourselves” [Godly Examination] and “Looking To Christ” [For Salvation] Mutually Exclusive?

Note: Today is the last day of my presence on Facebook – Lord willing, for good (don’t ever want to have a personal presence thereon barring some major national emergency/cataclysm/etc.). I am posting all of these Antinomian Diary posts (with more to come this week) as a record of the kinds of errors, grievous errors, and/or heresies that I have seen on a near daily basis, flowing forth on that forum. It saddens me to see how many Christians embrace this folly. I  say Christians because Antinomianism/Anomianism is a spectrum; some are true believers embracing error for a season. However, many are false prophets, deceivers, who have been derailed from the truth (as those spoken of in Jude, I and II Peter, etc.) and who promise people (carnal) liberty, but are really promoting iniquity/lasciviousness/anomianism.

Understand that a big part of my leaving Facebook is to end this focus on Antinomianism and Legalism and to focus on promoting truth, rather than refuting error, except when truly necessary. My own walk has been exceedingly problematic — I cannot just focus on doctrine; I must focus on walking the walk and not just talking the talk [talking the talk is DEATH walking the walk, by God’s grace and mercy, is true experimental LIFE]. Sadly, Facebook and such, is a major stumblingblock to that walk, for me, and evidently for many, many others. May God give us all wisdom to walk in, and to walk after, Christ, righteousness, love, the word of God, and the Holy Spirit. To God be the glory, amen.

The Antinomian Error

There is a false teaching that states that if we look at ourselves, examine ourselves, look at our works as a means of stirring ourselves up unto good works, etc. then we greatly err because we should only be (remember, as Christians, as those already born again] “looking to Christ” and “not to ourselves.”

Their error often goes something like this:

“If we are looking at our works, focusing on our need for obedience, speaking about our need to keep the commandments, then we are taking our eyes of of Christ, going back into bondage, and denying the fact that Christ is the end of the law for righteousness, that he kept the law perfectly for us (since we cannot keep any aspect of the commands of God), and that he alone was obedient for us (because we have no capacity to obey anything that he commands, either on our own or even with Him “working them our in us, as Christians.” We need to not look at ourselves, or at what we say or do, and just focus on Christ. If we look to Him, we won’t need to worry about our walk.”

As I aim to show… again… this is nonsense, it is serious error, and the Bible refutes it.

The Key Passage

2 John 1:4-8 “I rejoiced greatly that I found of thy children walking in truth, as we have received a commandment from the Father. 5 And now I beseech thee, lady, not as though I wrote a new commandment unto thee, but that which we had from the beginning, that we love one another. 6 And this [literally] is love, that we walk after his commandments. This is the commandment, That, as ye have heard from the beginning, ye should walk in it. 7 For many deceivers are entered into the world, who confess not that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh. This is a deceiver and an antichrist. 8 Look to yourselves, that we lose not those things which we have wrought, but that we receive a full reward.

The Key Wording

Look: βλέπω; G991 blépō, blep’-o; a primary verb; to look at (literally or figuratively):—behold, beware, lie, look (on, to), perceive, regard, see, sight, take heed.

To Yourselves: ἑαυτοῦ, ἑαυτῆς, ἑαυτοῦ, etc. or (contracted) αὑτοῦ, αὑτῆς, αὑτοῦ (see p. 87); plural ἑαυτῶν; dative ἑαυτοῖς, ἑαυταῖς, ἑαυτοῖς, etc.; reflexive pronoun of the 3rd person. It is used of the 3rd person singular and plural, to denote that the agent and the person acted on are the same, etc.” [See and be sure to click show all under Thayer’s Greek Lexicon, to see the full definition].

The Biblical Truth:

To look to ourselves, is to honestly see/perceive ourselves in light of God’s word. It is also to examine ourselves, to try our own spirit, to test all things including our own profession, to prove all things including our own professed walk in/with Christ, and to judge righteous judgment, even as it relates to our own authenticity before the Lord.

To many, the test is simple, it is very quick and easy, and it is completely notional, intellectual, and philosophical. The test such use goes a little something like this:

One: “The Gospel is God’s promises to save His people from their sin, and from the eternal wrath and damnation due their sin, based solely upon the Person, [finished] work, and [imputed] Righteousness of Christ, our character and conduct completely excluded as a grounds/basis for obtaining, maintaining, or improving upon our salvation.”

Two: All who have faith, define as mental assent alone to the truth of Christ and His Gospel are saved.

Three: I, having mental assent alone to the truth of Christ and His Gospel, must therefore be saved.

Four: As a result, by doing this quick syllogistic fact-check, I have thoroughly made my calling and election sure. Anything beyond this is works-religion, will-worship, works-mongering, going back into bondage, turning back to the “Mosaic Law,” trying to establish a righteousness of my own, putting my righteousness on par with Christ’s righteousness, etc.

The above, though commonly stated (though not with the exact wording), is bunk. It is a lie. It is empty notionalism. It is the essence of Dead Calvinism; Milkmenship; being a mere Letterman; etc., and it doesn’t hold up, at all, to biblical scrutiny.

To look to ourselves, to examine ourselves, to make our calling and election sure is to honestly see, perceive, discern, and judge ourselves objectively, and critically, in light of all that God has to say in Scripture, regarding how we are to assure ourselves, and how we are to make our calling and election sure. It is to deeply consider, contemplate, look at, weigh carefully, and even scrutinise our motives, intents, priorities, and so on. It is to honestly request, as did the psalmist(s), et. al.,

Psalm 26:2Examine me, O LORD, and prove me; try my reins and my hear.”

Job 13:23 “How many [are] mine iniquities and sins? Make me to know my transgression and my sin.

Job 31:4-6 “Doth not he [God] see my ways, and count all my steps? 5 If I have walked with vanity, or if my foot hath hasted to deceit; 6 Let me be weighed in an even balance, that God may know mine integrity.

1 Samuel 2:3 “Talk no more so exceeding proudly; let [not] arrogancy come out of your mouth: for the LORD [is] a God of knowledge, and by Him actions are weighed.

Psalm 7:8 “The LORD shall judge the people: judge me, O LORD, according to my righteousness, and according to mine integrity [that is] in me.”

2 Timothy 2:19 “Nevertheless the foundation of God standeth sure, having this seal, The Lord knoweth them that are his. And, Let every one that nameth the name of Christ depart from iniquity.

Psalm 139:23-24 “Search me, O God, and know my heart: try me, and know my thoughts: 24 And see if [there be any] wicked way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting.”

We are commanded in

Colossians 3:16 “(a) Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom; (b) teaching and admonishing one another, (c) in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord.”

If the word of God (Christ, yes, but also His holy word, the whole counsel of God) indwells us richly, then the Holy Spirit will make use of that word, and lead us, guide us, by it. This is what it means to be filled with the Spirit. it means to be utterly immersed in His word. When the word of god, by the Spirit, has a dominating affect in our lives, then the results will be as follows:

Psalm 119:41, 76, 116, 133 “Let thy mercies come also unto me, O LORD, [even] thy salvation, according to thy word. … 76 Let, I pray thee, thy merciful kindness be for my comfort, according to thy word unto thy servant. … 116 Uphold me according unto thy word, that I may live: and let me not be ashamed of my hope. … 133 Order my steps in thy word: and let not any iniquity have dominion over me.

As we examine ourselves, being indwelt by the word of God, being filled with the Spirit, when we read in 2 Corinthians 13:5Examine yourselves, whether ye be in the faith; prove your own selves. Know ye not your own selves, how that Jesus Christ is in you, except ye be reprobates?” — our examination will be wholly guided by the fact that “The Spirit itself [must, and will, at God’s appointed time] beareth witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God” per Romans 8:16. We cannot assure ourselves via empty notionalism, via syllogisms, via brief, logical questions and answers about what we “mentally assent alone” to… We must read the word, be in the word, keep the word, and obey the word, all by God’s grace and mercy, and in due time, the Holy Spirit will indeed witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God.” Anything less than the Holy Spirit witnessing to our conscience, through the word of God, in light of the True Gospel (of free and sovereign grace), and n light of all else that the Bible has to say on the matter, is folly, it is delusion, it is empty notionalism, and it lies at the heart of Anomianism/Antinomianism. There is simply NO GODLY ASSURANCE, and NO GODLY SELF-EXAMINATION apart from the work, and the witness, of the Holy Ghost, through the holy word of God, alone and in its entirety.

Remember also that God often uses means. He works assurance in us, He causes us to make our calling and election sure lawfully, justly, honestly, through the very means and methods He spells out for us. Consider the following passages and please note the CAPS:

1 John 2:3-6 “And HEREBY WE DO KNOW that we know him, IF WE KEEP his commandments. 4 He that saith, I know him, and keepeth not his commandments, IS A LIAR, AND THE TRUTH IS NOT IN HIM. 5 But whoso keepeth his word, in him verily is the love of God perfected: HEREBY KNOW WE that we are in him. 6 He that saith he abideth in him ought himself also so to WALK, EVEN AS HE WALKED.

Many say “we can’t obey, we can’t walk as He walked” but they are LIARS, the truth of God may very well not be in them (if they hold to such without ever receiving God-given repentance). Why? because what they really mean is “we don’t obey. We don’t want to walk as He walked… we don’t want to have to count the cost, bear our cross, die daily, mortify the deeds of the flesh, buffet the body, submit, obey, etc.” They need to be honest about it and then pray to god concerning it.

Also, this passage is not teaching that we must walk 100% perfectly as it relates to our obedience… no, it is stating that we must walk as Christ walked, with an single eye on the glory of God, by the Spirit of God (through the multiple means He gives us), denying self, striving to obey (which He did perfectly, and perfectly for us, if we are in Him, though no such expectation is upon us). It is a growth process, a step by step walk in such things; it is a matter of maturing… but we must desire this growth, use the means given for this growth, and cease to argue against God’s call and command concerning it. Growth is not optional; as Pastor Jesse declared today, we all start off as babes, we all need to grow, but if we never grow, if we never walk in righteousness, or walk in the commandments of God, then we are not babes in Christ, but pseudo-Christians, who are playing church, and are not really serious about closing, being one with, Christ.

1 John 4:12-13 “No man hath seen God at any time. If we love one another, God dwelleth in us, and his love is perfected in us. 13 HEREBY KNOW WE THAT WE DWELL IN HIM, and he in us, because he hath given us of his Spirit.”

Again, the Holy Spirit alone must gives us assurance, give us conviction of our state before God based upon our Gospel belief and upon the hereby and related passages used to strengthen such assurance. The Holy Ghost does so holistically, via all the means and waymarks noted in the Bible, and not through the empty notional means so many put forth today. He has given His true people His Spirit and it is His Spirit that must beareth witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God. Never let mere notionalist try to talk you into, or pressure you into, a false sense of assurance based upon empty rhetoric, scripture-denial, and the proverbial burying of one’s head in the sand.

1 John 3:18-24 “My little children, LET US NOT LOVE IN WORD, NEITHER IN TONGUE; but IN DEED and in truth. 19 And HEREBY WE KNOW [i.e. amongst other things, THIS IS HOW WE KNOW] that we are of the truth, AND SHALL ASSURE OUR HEARTS [i.e. SHALL HAVE ASSURANCE OF SALVATION IN OUR HEARTS] before Him. 20 For if our heart condemn us, God is greater than our heart, and knoweth all things. 21 Beloved, if our heart condemn us not, [then] HAVE WE CONFIDENCE [ASSURANCE/BOLDNESS; parrēsia; G3954] TOWARD GOD. 22 And whatsoever we ask, we receive of him, BECAUSE WE KEEP HIS COMMANDMENTS, AND DO those things that are PLEASING in his sight. 23 And this is his commandment [SINGULAR], That we should believe on the name of his Son Jesus Christ, and love one another, as he gave us commandment [SINGULAR]. 24 And HE THAT KEEPETH HIS COMMANDMENTS [PLURAL] DWELLETH IN HIM, AND HE IN HIM. And HEREBY WE KNOW that he abideth in us, BY THE SPIRIT which he hath given us.

The Necessary Conclusion:

We must all deal with the passages, with the actual God-breathed words of God, honestly and holistically — and not merely with the limited words and notions of men. They can quote hymns, soundbites, memes, etc.; they can say “Yes! the regenerate doesn’t look at his own works for evidence of justification” (as to imply that if the Holy Spirit uses these hereby’s, regarding our obedience, to bolster assurance, we may not *really* be regenerate after all), but this is all deception and folly. It is the very problem that I have been warring against on Facebook to the detriment of other things. I’m done with it today — but I’m going out swinging, not as one hitting the air blindly, but by declaring truth, biblical truth, and not just the words and hymns of men. We must be honest with ourselves, and with God… may His give us the grace, strength, and mercy to be so. Many true believers are caught up in this error, but God will turn them from it. Woe to those pastors and preachers (so-called) however, who promote these errors, and who leave people in their iniquity, preaching only smooth things to them, but not that which is most needful in light of Christ, the Gospel truth, and true spiritual life in light of Him and His truth.

To God be the glory, in Christ Jesus, for ever and ever.




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