In the Old West, an outlaw was someone who violated the laws of the land. In the spiritual realm, one who practices lawlessness is NOT someone who –
- is without law. Paul became all things to all men, including “those who are without law, as without law (not being without law toward God, but under law toward Christ), that I might win those who are without law” – 1 Corinthians 9:21.
- has destroyed the law. We speak of “breaking” the law, but actually the law remains intact; the violator is broken by this law at the judgment. “So speak and so do as those who will be judged by the law of liberty” – James 2:12.
- is irreligious. Many lawless people are very religious. “Even so you also outwardly appear righteous to men, but inside you are full of hypocrisy and lawlessness” – Matthew 23:28.
- violates everything the law of God requires. Lawless people may obey various parts of God’s word – the parts they agree with. “Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you cleanse the outside of the cup and dish, but inside they are full of extortion and self-indulgence” (Matthew 23:25).
Lawlessness refuses to submit to the Lord’s authority. One who says, “we do many things without Bible authority” admits to the practice of sin. The man who says, “I would rather be lost for doing too much than too little” speaks nonsense. Perhaps he seeks to show that there is honor among rebels, but it doesn’t do him any good in eternity. “Many will say to Me in that day, ‘Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in Your name, cast out demons in Your name, and done many wonders in Your name?’ And then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness!’” – Matthew 7:22-23.