The Wrong Medicine for Legalism
Everyone you will ever meet is by nature a legalist. In this brief clip from his teaching series The Whole Christ, Sinclair Ferguson explains how every antinomian is a legalist trying to escape from their legalism.
Now, this is a very interesting result of this little study of the opening verses of Genesis chapter 3. It teaches us something. It teaches us that every antinomian is a legalist at heart. Every antinomian is a legalist at heart, and legalism is not only a distortion of the law, but it’s a distortion of the Heavenly Father. Antinomianism is always the fruit of legalism. Now that may sound rather surprising you know, plenty of people who may be antinomian of one kind or another—they’ve never been legalists. No, antinomianism is actually what they thought was the medicine for their legalism.
Listen to how Thomas Boston puts it, he says: “The antinomian principle, that it is needless for a man perfectly justified by faith to endeavor to keep the law and do good works, is a glaring evidence that legality is so ingrained in man’s corrupt nature that until a man truly come to Christ by faith, the legal disposition will still be reigning in him. Let him turn himself into what shape or be of what principles he will in religion though he run into antinomianism; he will carry along with him his legal spirit which will always be a slavish and unholy spirit.” Now, this it seems to me was a real insight of these old ministers: That everybody you meet, every Christian you meet is by nature a legalist and every antinomian you meet, and in our days we meet them aplenty in the professing evangelical church, is actually a legalist trying to escape from their legalism and using the wrong medicine.