No Longer Under Law

Romans 6:14 “For sin shall no longer be your master, because you are not under the law, but under grace.”

There is a lot of confusion in churches over whether the believer is under the law and to what degree. Many people say there must be a balance of law and grace. They argue the when the apostles talked about being free from the law, they only meant the ceremonial law. And even people who do realize we are under the Spirit may suppose he convicts us of sin just like the law does. I hope to explain the new covenant’s perspective on this issue and encourage you to trust in the Spirit instead of your flesh (under the law). When I say we are not under the law, I am not saying we should use our freedom to sin, only that our lives are free from it’s condemnation, guilt, and grip and are free to walk in the Spirit (Galatians 5:13, Romans 6:15).

No longer under law

The Law

The ministry of death and condemnation

The new testament is very clear on the fact that a believer is no longer under the law. Hebrews and Galatians are devoted to this subject. In Romans this is also an integral part. We see a chapter devoted to it in Colossians 2. What are some of the key verses from these books?

Galatians 3:10-11 “But those who depend on the law to make them right with God are under his curse, for the Scriptures say, “Cursed is everyone who does not observe and obey all the commands that are written in God’s Book of the Law.”So it is clear that no one can be made right with God by trying to keep the law. For the Scriptures say, “It is through faith that a righteous person has life.” This way of faith is very different from the way of law, which says, “It is through obeying the law that a person has life.”

Galatians 5:1, 4 “So Christ has truly set us free. Now make sure that you stay free, and don’t get tied up again in slavery to the law… For if you are trying to make yourselves right with God by keeping the law, you have been cut off from Christ! You have fallen away from God’s grace.”

Romans 6:14 “Sin is no longer your master, for you no longer live under the requirements of the law. Instead, you live under the freedom of God’s grace.”

Romans 3:20Galatians 3:24Romans 4:13-15, Romans 7Hebrews 7:18-19, Hebrews 8:13, 1 Corinthians 15:56, 2 Corinthians 3:6, 2 Corinthians 3:14-17

These books make it abundantly clear we are no longer under law and should not try to be.

But they only mean the ceremonial laws, right?

There is a popular argument that when the apostles talk about not being under the law they only mean the ceremonial laws, not the 10 commandments. The problem with this interpretation is it involves breaking up the law into parts. But the law says cursed is everyone who does not keep ‘everything’ written in this law. James 2 says the same.

The law comes as a whole package. If this is not clear other verses specifically mention the 10 commandments.

2 Corinthians 3:7, 11 “The old way, with laws etched in stone (the ceremonial laws were never etched in stone, only the 10 commandments were), led to death, though it began with such glory that the people of Israel could not bear to look at Moses’ face…  So if the old way, which has been replaced, was glorious, how much more glorious is the new, which remains forever!”

Romans 7:7 “I would never have known that coveting is wrong if the law had not said, “You must not covet.”

Only the 10 commandments say do not covet. Are we to think that Paul suddenly means the whole law in this verse but in every other only means the ceremonial law?

Galatians 5:13 also warns us to use our freedom to serve others in love, not to satisfy our sinful nature. Why would he give this warning if they only understood this freedom only to be from ceremonial laws?

What was the purpose of the law then?

Romans, Galatians, and Hebrews all explain the purpose of the law.

Romans 3:19-20 “for its purpose is to keep people from having excuses, and to show that the entire world is guilty before GodFor no one can ever be made right with God by doing what the law commands. The law simply shows us how sinful we are.”

Galatians 3:19 “Why, then, was the law given? It was given alongside the promise to show people their sins. But the law was designed to last only until the coming of the child who was promised.”

Galatians 3:24 “So the law was our guardian until Christ came that we might be justified by faith.”

Hebrews 10:1

So we see, the purpose was to show us how sinful we were and humble us before God so that when Christ came to save us, we would be ready to accept him.

Didn’t the law make us better people?

The purpose of the law was not to make us better people but to show us how much we needed Jesus. It was put in place to squash our pride in our abilities. In fact, the law could not have been used to make us better people, for it actually made the problem of sin worse. Not because of any fault of it’s own, but because sin was able to use it for it’s own purposes.

1 Corinthians 15:56 “the law gives sin its power.”

Romans 5:20 “The law was brought in so that the trespass might increase.”

Romans 7:5-6When we were controlled by our old nature, sinful desires were at work within us, and the law aroused these evil desires that produced a harvest of sinful deeds, resulting in death.

Romans 7:8, 11-12 “But sin used this command to arouse all kinds of covetous desires within me! If there were no law, sin would not have that power… Sin took advantage of those commands and deceived me; it used the commands to kill me. But still, the law itself is holy, and its commands are holy and right and good.”

The very commands that were supposed to make us better people, when combined with human nature, actually made us worse off. In the end we find that the law did not fix us and make us better people, it unintentionally brought more sin. Though the law remains good and holy, it cannot make us good and holy.

Well how do you live without the law?

By faith.

Faith in Jesus, faith in God’s grace, and faith in the Holy Spirit.

Faith that Jesus did a good job in completely paying for and removing our sins from God’s sight.

John 19:30 “When Jesus had tasted it, he said, “It is finished!” Then he bowed his head and released his spirit.”

Faith that no matter how bad we mess up God will forgive and cover our sins.

Romans 4:4-8 “When people work, their wages are not a gift, but something they have earned. But people are counted as righteous, not because of their work, but because of their faith in God who forgives sinners. David also spoke of this when he described the happiness of those who are declared righteous without working for it:

“Oh, what joy for those
    whose disobedience is forgiven,
    whose sins are put out of sight.
Yes, what joy for those
    whose record the Lord has cleared of sin.””

1 John 4:18 “Such love has no fear, because perfect love expels all fear. If we are afraid, it is for fear of punishment, and this shows that we have not fully experienced his perfect love.”

And faith in the Holy Spirit. Faith that he is at the core of the new nature God has given us and is working in our hearts to do the things that please God. So instead of throwing more willpower into changing ourselves, we trust in him.

Romans 8:5, 9 “but those who are controlled by the Holy Spirit think about things that please the Spirit… You are controlled by the Spirit if you have the Spirit of God living in you.

Galatians 5:16 “So I say, let the Holy Spirit guide your lives. Then you won’t be doing what your sinful nature craves.”

Philippians 2:13 “For God is working in you, giving you the desire and the power to do what pleases him.”

Hebrews 13:21Hebrews 8:10Galatians 5:22-23

God’s Spirit lives in us, working in our hearts and minds what is pleasing to him.

How do I follow the Spirit?

The Spirit does not guide us into fear, but into God’s grace, reminding us that we are righteous and loved by God (gifts freely given to us).

2 Corinthians 2:12 “And we have received God’s Spirit (not the world’s spirit), so we can know the wonderful things God has freely given us.”

Romans 8:15 “So you have not received a spirit that makes you fearful slaves. Instead, you received God’s Spirit when he adopted you as his own children. Now we call him, “Abba, Father.”

The Holy Spirit is not your conscience! He does not go around nagging you into being a better person. That is a law based mentality and it’s what Satan does.

Romans 12:10 “for the accuser of our brethren is cast down, who accused them before our God day and night.”

2 Corinthians 11:3, 14-15 “But I fear that somehow your pure and undivided devotion to Christ will be corrupted, just as Eve was deceived by the cunning ways of the serpent… But I am not surprised! Even Satan disguises himself as an angel of light. So it is no wonder that his servants also disguise themselves as servants of righteousness.”

Remember what Satan did in the garden? He gave them something that was supposedly good, the knowledge of good and evil. The awareness of their sins.

Genesis 3:6-7 “The woman was convinced. She saw that the tree was beautiful and its fruit looked delicious, and she wanted the wisdom it would give her. So she took some of the fruit and ate it. Then she gave some to her husband, who was with her, and he ate it, too. At that moment their eyes were opened, and they suddenly felt shame at their nakedness. So they sewed fig leaves together to cover themselves.”

The enemy was serving “righteousness.” But righteousness according the knowledge of good and evil. Righteousness according to the law. It brought the awareness of sin and shame. Not specifically because they disobeyed God, but because they realized it was wrong to be naked. The enemy wants to make you aware of your sins and use the law as his weapon. So if you hear a nagging voice pointing out your faults, it is not God’s Spirit, but an evil conscience.

Hebrews 10:22 “let us draw near to God with a sincere heart and with the full assurance that faith brings, having our hearts sprinkled to cleanse us from a guilty conscience and having our bodies washed with pure water.”

1 John 3:20 “Even if we feel guilty, God is greater than our feelings, and he knows everything.”

If your conscience is not being washed of guilt, then it is not God you are approaching. The Spirit guides though love, peace, joy, kindness, and gentleness. He will speak to your heart and motivate you to do good things, but will always keep you in remembrance of God’s grace. He does not motivate through guilt, fear, and manipulation. Reject such leadings.

I hope these verses have given you something think about. It is a huge shift in life to move from under the law to under grace and I hope the prospect doesn’t scare you. May God bless and help us to see his grace in full measure and may he fully set us free from the law in our thinking!

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4 thoughts on “No Longer Under Law

  1. being under the law is not what God would have of us, nor what Jesus came to show us.The law was given to enable His people to achieve the first covenant which they were unable to keep: it was not the covenant that failed but the people who failed to keep it.
    Moses’ law shows what is right to do and what is wrong to do: the principles on which God has made His word and how we can be in His favour and presence.How to keep the covenant.The teaching in the Old testamernt is the same teaching thast is in the new testament.There is no replacement; ther cannot be because God’s word stands eternal. He does not change.To do so would be for Him to be a lesser being than God – not possible.
    Paul re-iterates this all through his letters: his teaching about lawlessness is proof of this. Paul was the messenger. His experience seated in his ancestry. He taught from The Law throughout his life. He did not waiver.
    Furthermore, Jesus would not have made His example on earth as the One who follows God’s laws to then at the end of His work say the Law no longer matters – that is simply to negate His works.It is not what He meant when He proclaimed ‘it is finished’
    Freedom under the law:
    Rom3.20 being conscious of sin because of knowing the Law.Being free of legalism as the pharisees had put the people under is not to be likened with being under The Law.
    Jesus saved us and showed us what is right and how to live that way.He showed us that disobeying the Law was sin and seperates us from God. So knowing what i sin, if we then continue to do it, we are not righteous, not in communion with Him, not in anything with Him because we have ignored what He has taught us…there is a further journey for us after being saved. It is obedience. Who to? God.How do we know we are being obedient? By following His Law. [the parables of the sower and of the 10 virgins tells us what happens to those who do not hear and who are not ready].
    Matt 7 21-23

    Rom 8 3-4
    Heb 8 10-12
    Rom 10 4 – the greek word when translated correctly renders this verse ‘Christ is the goal of the Law ‘

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  2. You made a lot of points, more than I should cover fully in one comment.

    Now you say God’s word cannot die because it is eternal. Did you know God had made a covenant before he made the covenant of the law? He made a covenant with Abraham on the basis of faith by which he was declared righteous. Since God’s word cannot die, then his covenant of faith cannot be replaced (Galatians 3:15-25). Paul however does tell us that a covenant is only binding on a person as long as he lives. When we spiritually died in Christ we were released from under the covenant of the law to serve the Spirit (the law written on our hearts) (Romans 7:1-6).

    1 Timothy 1:8-10 shows us that the law is useful if used properly. It is not made for the righteous but for sinners to show them their need for Christ. This again is what is meant by the verse you quoted Romans 10:4 and Romans 8:3-4. The law was supposed to make us right with God. When it says Christ is the fulfillment of the law and when it says that the just requirements of the law might be fully met in us it means that it required us to be right with God and we have been made right with God through faith alone

    Jesus had to keep the law so that he would be declared righteous in God’s sight. You see in the old covenant God required an unblemished lamb to act as a sacrifice. If Jesus had a blemish he would not be worthy of being our sacrifice. God validated his perfection by raising him from the dead. In Christ’s death, we were released from the old covenant and established in a new because God found fault in the old (Hebrews 8:6-13). The law was given to humble us before God and show us Jesus so that we might relate to him on the basis of faith. The law is not based on faith (Galatians 3:12), but on works, which is contrasted in Romans 4.

    Hebrews 10:19-22 shows us that our sins no more separate us from God and we may boldly enter the most holy of holies having are hearts sprinkled clean of a guilty conscience.

    You mentioned in another post that you were confused about how we were grafted into the vine by which we all come under law (Romans 11). This grafting is not into the law but into Abraham’s family and covenant, which predates the law as the context reveals.

    Understand I am not trying to dogmatically pin you, but when I started learning this stuff I argued against it myself and I’m glad God explained those confusing scriptures to me. I hope to do the same favor for you.

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    • i think you will find that God’s covenants are forever, and following them in our earthly bodies is relevant to what happens to our soirits afterwards.

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    • You are incorrect when you say that the Law was given to humble us before God: God gave us His Law to show how to be obedient to Him and to stay in grace with Him. There is a major issue with the use of ‘law’ when ‘teaching’ is the better trsanslation. not from the greek but from the hebrew. The actual mechanics of language are a science of their own almost: but we follow a hebrew God who chose Israel and grafted us in.It’s become as if us westerners think that God is ‘ours’ in terms of how we read His Word. We have never been taught that, we just assume it via our various churches etc. However when we start to realize that our hebrew heritage is spiritually important because of linguistic meaning then His Word becomes even more relevant. Which one of the 10 commandments do you think is no longer meant for today, or is it all of them?

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