What does it mean to be not under the law (Romans 6:14)?

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Not under the law but under grace

Paul wrote, “For sin shall not have dominion over you: for ye are not under the law, but under grace.” (Romans 6:14). Some Christians quote the above verse as a permission to indulge themselves in sin once in a while. And they claim that they are not under law but under grace.

But the apostle Paul answers them in the following verses saying, “What then? Shall we sin because we are not under law but under grace? Certainly not!“ And he adds, “Do you not know that to whom you present yourselves slaves to obey, you are that one’s slaves whom you obey, whether of sin leading to death, or of obedience leading to righteousness?“ (v. 15, 16). Paul’s answer is that any indulgence in sin is actually a going back to the bondage to sin from which grace has released the sinner.

Freedom in Christ is not a license to sin

To think that being under grace means that the Christian is now at freedom to disobey the moral law of God (Exodus 20:3-17) is to misunderstand fully God’s whole purpose in the plan of salvation. The truth is that it was man’s breaking of God’s law in the first place that caused God in His mercy to offer grace through Christ’s sacrifice to the sinner. “For by grace are ye saved through faith” (Ephesians 2:8). Christ had to die to redeem mankind from their guilt.

How then can any believer believe it is OK to put himself intentionally back in the old slavery? To disobey God’s law is to become once again the servant of sin, for the breaking of God’s law is sin (1 John 3:4), and whoever goes on sinning is the servant of sin. “Jesus answered them, “Most assuredly, I say to you, whoever commits sin is a slave of sin” (John 8:34).

To continue in sin after accepting the forgiveness of God and His transforming grace is to reject the very purpose of that grace. Whoever refuses to allow the grace of God to bring him into more perfect obedience to God’s law is declining grace itself and thus turning his back on liberty and salvation. “He that says, I know him, and keeps not his commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him” (1 John 2:4).

Justification leads to Sanctification

While justification by faith is an instant experience where the believer receives forgiveness for all past sins, sanctification is a life-long process of transformation (Ephesians 4:12–15). It is the steady daily growth of the physical, mental, and spiritual powers, until the character of God, in which we were originally created, is reflected in God’s people (2 Peter 1:5–10). The Lord’s purpose in the plan of salvation is not only our forgiveness, or justification, but our transformation or sanctification (Galatians 2:20; 2 Thessalonians 2:13). It is God’s plan in the new earth to have new transformed people (Ephesians 5:27).

In His service,
BibleAsk Team

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