It has been shown, or will be shown, that
1. Hardshells have historically been characterized as antinomian.
2. Hardshells admit to being in some sense antinomian.
3. Hardshells are antinomian in denying that it is the duty of all to believe the word of God.
4. Hardshells are antinomian as a result of their Pelagianism.
5. Hardshells are antinomian as a result of their Hyper-Calvinism.
6. Hardshells are antinomian for denying that men are responsible for their soul's destiny.
7. Hardshells are antinomian for denying that all disciples are under obligation to fulfill the Great Commission.
9. Hardshells are antinomian in avowing "non-lordship salvation."
10. Hardshells are antinomian in denying that perseverance and spiritual growth (or progressive sanctification) are necessary works of God, and what certainly follows a genuine new birth.
11. Hardshells are antinomian for denying that all men are duty bound to repent and seek God.
12. Hardshells are antinomian in practice, being known as "anti-effort" or "do-nothings."
Questions For Hardshells
1. Is every believer under obligation to tell others the good news? If it is, and you tell believers that they are not under such a duty, then are you not antinomian?
2. Is it the duty of all men to "repent" and "seek God"? If it is, and you tell others that there is no such duty binding on them, then are you not antinomian?
3. If professing Christians are commanded to persevere in order to be finally saved, and you tell them they are not under any such obligation, then are you not antinomian?
4. Is it the duty of all men to honor the Son of God?
5. Is it sin to not fear God, or seek God, or love God, or believe and obey God?
Hardshell Antinomianism Excuses Sin
How? In denying that men are under a moral duty to fear, seek, love, believe, or obey God, they cannot condemn unregenerate men for not doing so. Thus, such things are not sins for the unregenerate. That is the conclusion that they must face. The only way for them to free themselves of such an absurd falsehood is to repent of their error and quit denying "duty faith and repentance" as they do today.
Is It The Duty Of All To Honor The Son?
"The Father hath committed all judgment unto the Son, that all men should honour the Son, even as they honour the Father. He that honoureth not the Son honoureth not the Father which hath sent him." (John 5:23)
Notice "all men" are duty bound to "honor the Son." But, how can one honor Christ in rejecting him? Is not rejecting Christ and his word a dishonoring of him? I perceive that this is but another instance where the average Hardshell will not be willing to face the music. In teaching that all men are not under duty to honor the Son, by believing on him, they are antinomian.
All men are commanded to:
1. Love God with the heart
2. Worship God (includes praise and prayer)
3. Seek God
4. Please God
5. Serve and obey God
6. Fear God
7. Believe God
8. Turn to God in repentance
If we did not have any Scriptures that plainly commanded all men to repent, believe, and confess, there would still be support for the fact because it is a necessary deduction from the fact that all are commanded to love God, fear God, honor God, etc. Does not the command to love God necessarily involve believing God?
Is It Sin? - Are They Responsible?
"What then? are we better than they? No, in no wise: for we have before proved both Jews and Gentiles, that they are all under sin; As it is written, There is none righteous, no, not one: There is none that understandeth, there is none that seeketh after God. They are all gone out of the way, they are together become unprofitable; there is none that doeth good, no, not one...There is no fear of God before their eyes." (Rom. 3: 9-12, 18)
This is a well known and oft cited passage of the Hardshells. They use it to prove "total depravity," and once they prove this, they then use this to argue that since men cannot believe, repent, or do any spiritually good thing, therefore such cannot be necessary for regeneration or final salvation. They argue that such things as being righteous, understanding, seeking God, doing good, and fearing God, cannot possibly be requirements for salvation since men cannot do them in their lost condition. I have responded to this argumentation in my series on "Hardshell Proof Texts." For instance, see this chapter HERE. But, my point here is to argue that this passage destroys their antinomianism. Here's how.
Notice that Paul's language makes it clear that he views being unrighteous as sin, and if it is sin (see I John 5: 17 - "all unrighteousness is sin"), then men must be under duty to be righteous. Further, if not understanding is sin, then it is obligatory on men to understand, and their inability is no excuse nor proves that they are not under obligation to understand. The same could be said about seeking God, fearing God, and doing good. Yes, men are not morally able to do this apart from God's grace, but they are still under obligation to do so, and their not doing so is a violation of moral law.
Notice how Paul seeks to prove that all men are "under sin," or "under law," that is, under obligation and duty, to be righteous, to love, fear, and seek God, and to believe all he has revealed, and to turn to him. In verse 19, Paul gives this summation:
"Now we know that what things soever the law saith, it saith to them who are under the law: that every mouth may be stopped, and all the world may become guilty before God."
Does not being "under law" mean that the law directs them to love God, fear God, trust God, obey God, etc.? And the fact that none do these things (apart from God's grace and power) renders "all the world" to be "guilty." And, what are they guilty of if it does not include the sins specifically mentioned, such as not being righteous, not doing good, not seeking and fearing God, etc.? But, once a Hardshell admits that such things are sins, then he must admit that men are obligated to such things. It is a very difficult dilemma for them.
Is Unbelief Sin?
Paul, in describing his lost condition, prior to being regenerated and converted on the Damascus road, said that he sinned through "ignorance and unbelief" (I Tim. 1: 13) Was his ignorance and unbelief sin? If so, then why say that Paul was under no moral duty to be wise and believing while unregenerate? Is unbelief not sin? Is sin not the "transgression of the law"? (I John 3: 4)
Here is more proof that unbelief, by "the world," is sin.
"And when he (the Comforter) is come, he will reprove the world of sin, and of righteousness, and of judgment: Of sin, because they believe not on me" (John 16: 9)
Notice that the Holy Spirit will "reprove," that is, "convict" or "convince," men, yea, "the world," "of sin." And this sin specifically involves the fact that "they believe not on me." Is it sin for the world, or for any man, to "believe not"? If Hardshells say yes, then they cannot consistently affirm that men are not morally obligated to believe. If they say no, then they are antinomian and cannot condemn men for their unbelief.
Consider also these words of the Apostle John:
"...he that believeth not God hath made him a liar; because he believeth not the record that God gave of his Son." (I John 5: 10)
Is this a warning to only professing Christians? To only those who are born again? Is it not rather a warning to all men, including the unregenerate? If a Christian believes not, it is sin and involves making God a liar. But, if an unregenerate man believes not, it is not sin, according to those who deny duty faith. Consider also these verses:
"He that believeth on him is not condemned: but he that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God." (John 3: 18)
"...but he that believeth not shall be damned." (Mark 16: 16)
"That they all might be damned who believed not the truth, but had pleasure in unrighteousness." (II Thess. 2: 12)
These verse teach that men are now, and will be in the future, "condemned" for their unbelief. Granted, this is not the sole reason for their condemnation, that is, is not their only sin. But, it does show that unbelief is sin, and is condemned, and this being so, it must be because men are duty bound and responsible for their failure to believe.
Universal Evangelical Responsibility
These verses are integral to a debate over the question of whether unregenerate men are responsible to repent, believe the Gospel, and seek God and salvation.
"And hath made of one blood all nations of men for to dwell on all the face of the earth, and hath determined the times before appointed, and the bounds of their habitation; That they should seek the Lord, if haply they might feel after him, and find him, though he be not far from every one of us: For in him we live, and move, and have our being; as certain also of your own poets have said, For we are also his offspring. Forasmuch then as we are the offspring of God, we ought not to think that the Godhead is like unto gold, or silver, or stone, graven by art and man's device. And the times of this ignorance God winked at; but now commandeth all men every where to repent: Because he hath appointed a day, in the which he will judge the world in righteousness by that man whom he hath ordained; whereof he hath given assurance unto all men, in that he hath raised him from the dead." (Acts 17: 26-31
From these verses it is obvious that Paul, in proclaiming the Gospel, informed all who heard him that God "commands" them to "repent" and to "seek the Lord." Further, such repentance necessarily involves belief. It is also obvious that such a command is given with a view to being judged on God's appointed day to judge all the world.
There is no way to limit the stated evangelical commands to merely the regenerate, for it is clear that all men are intended. Further, men are not only commanded to seek God, but to "feel after him" and to actually "find" him. What these verses teach are precisely what is denied by today's Hardshell antinomians.
Hardshells are often denying that the Gospel is to be preached "to" all men with a view to their salvation. All that God has done, and is doing in sending out Gospel messengers, is all for the purpose of bringing men to "find" God, and what is this but a description of salvation? Notice also these words:
"And I saw another angel fly in the midst of heaven, having the everlasting gospel to preach unto them that dwell on the earth, and to every nation, and kindred, and tongue, and people, Saying with a loud voice, Fear God, and give glory to him; for the hour of his judgment is come: and worship him that made heaven, and earth, and the sea, and the fountains of waters." (Rev. 14: 6-7)
To whom is the "everlasting gospel" to be preached? And, for what purpose? What does the text say? It is to be preached "unto them that dwell on the earth." How can this be limited to the elect? It is be preached to "every nation, and kindred, and tongue, and people." This is exactly what we saw was affirmed in Acts 17. But, Hardshells deny that the Gospel is intended to be preached to all men and this makes them antinomian.
(as a side note: notice that the Gospel is to be preached to "every nation, and kindred, and tongue, and people." In Rev. 5: 9 it is said that the "redeemed" are "out of every kindred, and tongue, and people, and nation." Hardshells argue that this group cannot possibly be limited to those who hear the Gospel, and yet the same group does hear the Gospel in Rev. 14)
Does the preached Gospel give forth any commands to all? Is the command not to "Fear God"? Is it not to "give glory to him"? But, how can this be obeyed by disbelief of what God reveals? Further, men are told, in the preaching, that this is all said with a view to coming judgment, just as in Paul's sermon to the Athenian pagans. All men are commanded to "fear" God, but not to believe God?
Man's Moral Responsibility
"Let us hear the conclusion of the whole matter: Fear God, and keep his commandments: for this is the whole duty of man." (Ecc. 12: 13)
"The whole duty of man" does not exclude his unbelief, or impenitence, or failure to save himself.