The Greek word anomos, therefore, means â€œwithout lawâ€ or lawless.â€ Sometimes this word appears in the New Testament in its noun form á¼€Î½Î¿Î¼á½·Î±[Î½] (anomia[n], â€œlawlessnessâ€). You may recognize this as the source of our English word anomian or, in its more common form, antinomian. An antinomian is, according to Websterâ€™s, â€œone who holds that under the gospel dispensation of grace the moral law is of no use or obligation because faith alone is necessary to salvation.â€
Websterâ€™s description of an antinomian reminds me of some preachers Iâ€™ve heard.Â I donâ€™t think Iâ€™d want to be an antinomian, considering what the New Testament says about anomians and anomianism. Letâ€™s look at a few places where the Bible talks about this.
Yeshua said, â€œNot everyone that saith unto Me, â€˜Lord, Lordâ€™ shall enter the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of My Father which is in heaven. Many will say to Me on that day, â€˜Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in Thy name? And in Thy name have cast out devils? And in Thy name done many wonderful works?â€™ And then will I profess unto them, â€˜I never knew you: depart from Me, ye that work iniquity [anomian].â€ (Mt. 7:21-23).
Here the Son of God describes a multitude of people (â€œmany,â€ He said, not just a small handful of cult members) who find themselves excluded from the Kingdom. Who are these people? It is certainly not atheists, Hindus, or Buddhists who are being talked about here. The people being talked about here are people who call Jesus â€œLordâ€ and even do good works in His name. These are church people involved in church activities. They expect to inherit eternal life, but are stunned to find themselves excluded from the Kingdom. The Jesus they thought they knew was obviously a counterfeit Christ. And what is the proof that they never really knew Him? They were anomiansâ€”â€œworkers of lawlessnessâ€ as Sternâ€™s Jewish New Testament words it; people who â€œpractice lawlessnessâ€ according to the New American Standard Bible.
Yeshua spoke about anomians again in the parable of the wheat and tares. The tares (â€œthe children of the wicked oneâ€) grow together with the wheat (â€œthe children of the kingdomâ€) until harvest time, when the angels are sent forth to â€œgather out of His kingdom all things that offend, and them which do iniquity [anomian, â€˜lawlessnessâ€™]â€ (Mt. 13:41). Throughout the history of Christianity, the wheat and tares have been side by side, and it has often been difficult to tell which is which. But as harvest time draws near, it will become more apparent which people are wheat and which people are tares. The anomians are the tares, Yeshua said. They have been in His Kingdom for a long time, and now He is sending forth His â€œangelsâ€ (the word simply means â€œmessengers,â€ either human of heavenly or both) to rid His Kingdom of antinomianism.
Paul wrote about a â€œfalling awayâ€ (apostasia, â€œdeparture from truthâ€) that was to come. This falling away was not just referring to some event in the distant future. Paul described the falling away as â€œthy mystery of iniquity (anomies, â€˜lawlessnessâ€™),â€ and said that this â€œsecret power of lawlessnessâ€ (NIV) was â€œalready at work,â€ and that the â€œWickedâ€ (anomos) would be revealed (2 Thes. 2:7f). Since anomos is an adjective, many translators provide a noun and render this as â€œthe Wicked Oneâ€ or â€œthe Lawless One,â€ having in mind an end-time Anti-Christ figure. While it is possible that there may be some reference here to the Anti-Christ, the word anomos may simply be referring to the lawless theology (i.e., antinomianism) which caused the Church to depart from the Torah and go into apostasy. The error of antinomianism, the â€œsecret power of lawlessness,â€ is being exposed in our generation. Many Christians are waking up and returning to Torah. The secret power of lawlessness is no longer a secret to these people. When the secret is out, lawlessness loses its power and its grip over these people.
The root of the Churchâ€™s apostasy has been her rejection of the Torah. Perhaps it would be fairer and more accurate to say that the Church rejected those elements of the Torah that seemed â€œtoo Jewishâ€ for her. The transgression of any of the Law is wrong, though, because â€œsin is the transgression of the lawâ€ (1 John 3:4). When we violate Godâ€™s Torah, we sin.
Is there any hope for people who are a part of a Church that has been apostate for most of her history? Deliverance from the spirit of lawlessness comes by the grace of God, but it is a grace that teaches us to honor Godâ€™s Torah, not a grace that teaches us to be antinomians:
â€œFor the grace of God that bringeth salvation hath appeared to all men, teaching us that denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly in this present world: Looking for that blessed hope, and the glorious appearing of the great God and our Savior Jesus Christ, who gave Himself for us, that He might redeem us from all iniquity (anomias, â€˜lawlessnessâ€™). And purify unto Himself a peculiar people, zealous of good worksâ€ (Titus 2:11-14).
A grace which does not teach us to honor Godâ€™s Torah is not the grace of God, and a savior who does not redeem us from antinomianism is not the true Savior, but a counterfeit Christ who cannot save.