FAITH ALONE OR NOT…are you one of those awful Antinomians?

What a big issue!

The Gospel, is it (?) —

Faith + Nothing

Faith + Works

Faith (that Works) + Nothing

The reason this is a big deal is that it (a) Will affect how we explain / offer the gospel to others; and, (b) Undermine our assurance as believers in Jesus Christ.

If you tell folks they must add works to their faith, then please know you do not believe in faith alone.  This has been the mainstay and understanding of Bible believing Christians since the Reformation, however, the debate has has raged since then about what to do with works.  Normally there is an incongruence in operation where it sounds like ‘faith alone’ at time, and like ‘faith + works’ at other times.

I think it is simple, but largely unrecognized:

Works have nothing to do with our salvation, but much to do with our sanctification (spiritual growth). Normally in the discussions those who disagree start throwing out labels such as “antinomianism”.  Antinomianism has been used as throughout history as an inflammatory charge.  The funny thing is that it has been used by Roman Catholics against the Reformers, by the Reformers against Evangelicals, and even Arminians against Evangelicals.

If you don’t know all these groups and terms don’t worry about it.  Antinomianism simply means ‘against law’ and nothing more.  So, any group which is against your group’s ‘law’ is antinomian to you.  I really am fond of A.W. Tozer (who did not believe in the eternal security of Christians), but he misses it here:

“Fundamental Christianity in our times is deeply influenced by that ancient enemy of righteousness, Antinomianism. The creed of the Antinomian is easily stated: We are saved by faith alone; works have no place in salvation; conduct is works, and is therefore of no importance. What we do cannot matter as long as we believe rightly. The divorce between creed and conduct is absolute and final. The question of sin is settled by the Cross; conduct is outside the circle of faith and cannot come between the believer and God. Such in brief, is the teaching of the Antinomian. And so fully has it permeated the Fundamental element in modern Christianity that it is accepted by the religious masses as the very truth of God. Antinomianism is the doctrine of grace carried by uncorrected logic to the point of absurdity. It takes the teaching of justification by faith and twists it into deformity.” (from Paths to Power)

In other words, Tozer offers that it is WRONG to say, ‘We are saved by faith alone; works have no place.”  but that is exactly what Romans 4, Romans 11:6,29,  and Ephesians 2:8&9) says (please read them yourself).  Yet, simply put, if you look at your works rather than Christ, then you will doubt because your works will always be flawed.  Looking at Christ alone (l00k = believe here), will always lead to assurance because of His promise (see John 3:16, 5:24).

So what do we do with being called ‘antinomian’ in the debate?  Well I’ve suggested one solution as promoting our belief in Lordship Sanctification; however, there is another option.  We can simply be against antinomianism, and pass it along as belonging to the the universalists (the ones who believe everyone is accepted by God with out regard to faith or works) where it belongs!

Another option is to explain what we really believe.  I offer a fresh term called Necranomian.  Necranomian means one is ‘dead to the law’ (see Romans 7 and 2 Corinthians 3) not ‘aganst’ the law.

I’ve explained this more completely in an appendix of Back to Faith (go get a copy).

In the meantime, it really is Faith Alone in Christ Alone.  Please don’t drift.  The truth is that our growth relates to works, but our acceptence and forgivenss comes through simple faith in Jesus Christ.


Fred Lybrand

P.S.  Here’s the Appendix on Antinomianism from Back To Faith (c) Fred R. Lybrand :  Is This Antinomianism?

7 thoughts on “FAITH ALONE OR NOT…are you one of those awful Antinomians?”

  1. Great post! I am a little confused as to the lordship sanctification thing though. I understand what you are saying but so many times believers are struggling in the flesh with trying to be more like Christ. Maybe I’m wrong but I would say that sanctification is by faith as well..trusting in the Living Christ to live through us. (Gal. 2:20, Rom. 6… See More) And I’m also not saying at all, that we just sit back and let God zap us into the image of Christ but I think there is a balence. Anway..just some thoughts.

  2. Of course, in the moment it is a trust issue of Christ though us (see Galatians 2:20). However, in our process of growth there comes a place where acknowledging His Lordship becomes a strategic issue (see Romans 6:13; Romans 12:1-2; and, 1 Peter 3:15, etc). We don’t become sanctified by His Lordship, but His Lordship is a clear part of the sanctification (spiritual growth) process.

    Hope that helps,… See More


  3. Yes, that helps. I guess there is just that balance of the growth truths. God doesn’t do it all as we sit back, nor do we do anything out of our own strength. The Holy Spirit lives through us but we still have to walk by the Spirit in obedience. But I would probably say the majority of believers err on the side of doing things in their own strength.

    Anyway, I wasn’t trying to harp on your post at all because it was really good!


  4. Thank you for your biblical & heart felt instruction. One point of clarification: our salvation has everything to do w/ works… just not our works! Salvation is based solely on the perfect & righteous work of Christ. What Adam & Eve destroyed & killed through their disobedience & fall, Jesus restored & brought alive through His perfect obedience in His life, death, resurrection & ascension! And He will come again to take His own home to be w/ Him forever. Being confident of this very thing, that He who began the good work in me, will complete it until the day of Christ Jesus (Phil. 1:6)! To God alone be the glory, dominion, power & strength!! Blessings, Russ

    1. Thanks, Fred! I was first made aware of this truth through the teachings of RC Sproull. It’s been an ongoing encouragement to me & others ever since. I appreciate you & your ministry of sharing the whole truth of God from His living & active Word! Blessings, Russ

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