The Antinomian Diaries: Is It Really Legalism To Distinguish Between Positional Righteousness and Experimental/Manifest Righteousness

The Antinomian Error (Yet again):

Please consider the following actual quote:

Some legalists artificially divide righteousness into “positional righteousness” And “experiential righteousness…if righteousness is tied in some way to our experience (experiential righteousness), then God has not established his righteousness yet, has He, because not all the elect are experiencing His righteousness right now. If experiential righteousness was a real thing, then God would only be in the process of establishing His righteousness rather than already having established it two- thousand years ago.

The Biblical Response:

Consider:

1 Corinthians 15:3Be not deceived: evil communications corrupt good manners. 34 Awake to righteousness, and sin not; for some have not the knowledge of God: I speak [this] to your shame.”

AWAKE, eknēphō, means to rouse or be roused out of a stupor; to return to soberness of mind; to return to one’s self from drunkenness; to become sober. It is saying “Be not deceived [i.e. by these blind anomians or antinomians]: evil communications [which is evil companionship, evil fellowship, evil conversational/associational intercourse, evil communion, and evil discourse] corrupts good manners [which is good ethics, good morals, good modes of behaviour]. 34 Awake [from the drunkenness or stupor of sin, licentiousness, your unrighteous, unholy walk, behaviour, character) unto [manifest, experimental] righteousness…, and sin not; for some have not the knowledge of God: I speak [this] to your shame.”

Those who seriously believe that there is no experimental righteousness, no making manifest of the righteousness that God has already perfectly wrought for us, not only do not understand the Bible but do not understand what the words in the Bible actually mean. I wonder if they even read the Bible or just read the words of men? Such men “have not the knowledge of God” and the Holy Spirit speaks to their shame… period. It is very close in import and intent to the following:

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.

Clearly the above teaches that we should keep the commandments of God so as to obey, that we can keep the commandments of God so as to obey, and that those men are liars, not having the truth in them, if they unrepentantly fail to keep the commandments of God for us today. Consider also,

Romans 6:19 “I speak after the manner of men because of the infirmity of your flesh: for as ye have yielded your members servants to uncleanness and to iniquity unto iniquity; even so now yield your members servants to righteousness unto holiness”

Romans 6:19 isn’t saying “hey, yield your members servants to righteousness unto holiness by using “imputed righteousness” twenty times in your sermon, and saying that we can’t manifest in our experience any righteousness” like the notionalists do.” Instead, it is stating that just as you manifestly yielded your members to sin pre-salvation, strive to yield your members servants to righteousness (to manifest that which the Bible deems holy), in light of your salvation. It isn’t denying that Christ is the Christian’s perfect righteousness and perfect sanctification; nor is it denying that He established that perfect righteousness and sanctification for us judicially at Calvary; but it is saying, “work out your salvation so that these realities are made manifest before men, so that they aren’t just empty words to make memes out of, or mere notion without any practical reality.” Pastor Jesse, Deacon Clough, et. al., have done a masterful job (by God’s grace) touching on these realities — for those who have ears to hear the truth.

Consider also:

2 Corinthians 9:10 “Now he that ministereth seed to the sower both minister bread for [your] food, and multiply your seed sown, and INCREASE THE FRUITS of your righteousness…”

So many seem to think that this means something akin to “multiply how often you talk about imputed righteousness on Facebook, and increase the number of times you click “like” when you see it mentioned, and talk about the importance of it, to the nigh exclusion of true obedience in light of it?”– We need to wake up as the Lord commands, such who say such things as the above set so much of the Bible at nought. They have no desire to walk in righteousness, to walk in love (not in word, not with the tongue only, but in deed and in truth), to walk after Christ, and His commandments. Itching ears say, either implicitly or explicitly, “I do not want to hear right things” but smooth things that make me feel good and do not require any real effort, focus, or work from me. Don’t talk to me of obedience, or cross-bearing, or discipleship, just give me memes, nuggets, and soundbites! and tell me to “look to Jesus” without really defining what that means.” Consider,

Philippians 1:9-11 “And this I pray, that your love may abound yet more and more in knowledge and [in] all judgment; 10 That ye may approve things that are excellent; that ye may be sincere and without offence till the day of Christ; 11 Being FILLED WITH THE FRUITS of righteousness, which are by Jesus Christ, unto the glory and praise of God.”

Again, is being filled with the fruits of righteousness simply affirming, giving mental assent to, and speaking ad nauseum about the importance of “imputed righteousness,” to the exclusion of other key biblical truths? When Paul stated in:

1 Timothy 6:11 “But thou, O man of God, flee these things; and FOLLOW AFTER RIGHTEOUSNESS, godliness, faith, love, patience, meekness…”

….is the “righteousness” here only “the imputed righteousness of Christ” or does it entail a desire to walk uprightly IN LIGHT OF the righteousness that Christ perfectly established for His people, and that HE IS for His people? Does one follow after righteousness only by mentally affirming that “Christ is their righteousness,” or does that manifest somehow in the real world, as real experience, as a real aspect of the Christian’s walk/warfare/cross-bearing?

Consider:

2 Timothy 2:22 “Flee also youthful lusts: but FOLLOW RIGHTEOUSNESS, faith, charity, peace, with them that call on the Lord out of a pure heart.”

Was Paul simply stating “flee youthful lust but follow after [righteousness imputed only] because you cannot actually, experimentally, work out righteousness even though the word of God says that you can, with God Himself working in you both to will and to do of His good pleasure, if you are His?” Does that even remotely make sense? Seriously, the Bible is clear. It’s just a matter of whether you prefer the Anomian/Antinomian echo-chambering that abounds on Facebook, and other social forums, or whether you prefer the whole counsel of God rightly exegeted by men who strive to practice what they preach, out of a sense of deep love, and thanksgiving for Christ and His finished work.

2 Timothy 3:16 “All scripture [is] given by inspiration of God, and [is] profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for INSTRUCTION IN RIGHTEOUSNESS”

In the above passage, is the instruction in righteousness only instruction in imputed righteousness? Is it only instruction in the Christ is our righteousness? Is it only instruction in “we cannot experimentally work out righteousness; any talk of manifesting righteousness is works-mongering, and it is tantamount to trying to establish a righteousness of your own.” Is this really what the above verse teaches, or does the wording clearly indicate that instruction pertaining to walking uprightly in light of the righteousness that Christ both established for His people, and that He is for His people?

Hebrews 11:33 “Who through faith subdued kingdoms, WROUGHT RIGHTEOUSNESS, obtained promises, stopped the mouths of lions….”

Did these holy men of old work out righteousness only by saying “imputed righteousness” dozens of times like the milkmen do? Did they not literally make manifest the righteousness of God? Was their God-wrought righteousness only legal, judicial, and notional? God forbid! They wrought righteousness through their God enabled obedience, though never unto perfection or anywhere near it, but albeit in light of the perfection they had (and eternally have) in Christ Jesus. To them, as to all true saints, righteousness has a manifest aspect in their walk before men — it isn’t something up there only (in Heaven, in Christ alone, only) without any real world bearing in our daily walk. Consider,

Luke 1:5-6 “There was in the days of Herod, the king of Judaea, a certain priest named Zacharias, of the course of Abia: and his wife [was] of the daughters of Aaron, and her name [was] Elisabeth. 6 And they were both righteous before God, walking in all the commandments and ordinances of the Lord blameless.

Surely, they were righteous before God because of the righteousness of Christ imputed to them; no one would deny that. However, was there “walking in all the commandments and ordinances of the Lord blameless” only legal, only judicial, only positional in Christ Jesus, or did they really walk in all of the commandments and ordinances of God not perfectly, but blameless, i.e., in a manner evidencing true, fervent, dedication, zeal, and care? Were they both living how they wanted, neglecting the the commandments, doing want they wanted, when they wanted, but nonetheless walking blameless solely because “Christ kept the law for them, He was their righteousness, He obeyed because they could not, so their walking in the commandments and ordinances of the Lord has nothing to do with their actual, personal walk, obedience, character, conduct, etc.”? Again, does that sound even remotely likely? Clearly God is commending them for their dedication and devotion, albeit God-ordained, and God-wrought.

Finally, what about…

1 John 2:29 “If ye know that he is righteous, ye know that every one that DOETH RIGHTEOUSNESS is born of him”

1 John 3:7 “Little children, let no man deceive you: he that DOETH RIGHTEOUSNESS is righteous, even as he is righteous.”

Is “doing or doeth righteousness” here also just mentioning, assenting to, and/or promoting “imputed righteousness” — without actually making manifest those things that God calls “right” and “just” and “good” in His word? Do we not increase in manifest/experimental righteousness, do we not do (work, walk in) actual righteousness, do we not bear forth more abundant fruits of righteousness, all as God weans us from the sin, temptations, and distractions of this world? Don’t we obey Him as He causes us to walk more and more in alignment with His holy Word (Christ) and his holy word (the Bible), as He transforms our minds, renewing it, via Gospel (and all biblical) truth? Or is it that some are so conformed to this world, and the things therein; that they are content with mere notion, and want nothing to do with true discipleship, true cross bearing, true obedience to the extant commands, to pruning/chastening, etc.

Come now, “Some legalists artificially divide righteousness into “positional righteousness” And “experiential righteousness….” is language that is absolutely, unmitigatedly absurd in light of all that Scripture has to say on the matter. It is embarrassing to even read such dribble. Those antinomians operating under this utter lack of biblical understanding, misrepresent the intent behind the passages at issue, mischaracterise the real doctrinal issues, and midirect/redirect from the right understanding of God’s word. They will revile, slander, and falsely accuse God’s true people who wish to walk uprightly, in accordance with His word (though we fall so miserably short of perfection). Sadly, even true Christians can fall prey to this error for a season, or seasons, at a time. The difference is, at some point, God will grant them repentance, and lead them out of such grievous error. Let us be prayerful, biblically meditative, and diligent in seeking God, seeking His leading/teaching/guiding, and forsake the flesh-pleasing errors of men.

To God be the glory, forever and ever, amen.

mcw3

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