What does it mean we are “not under the law”?


By BibleAsk Team

“Not Under the Law”

The apostle Paul wrote to the church in Rome, “For sin shall not have dominion over you: for ye are not under the law, but under grace” (Romans 6:14). Christians are not under the law as a way of salvation, but are under grace. The law cannot save a sinner, nor can it offer forgiveness or victory over sin. The purpose of the law is only to reveal sin (Romans 3:20). The sinner who seeks to be saved under law will find only condemnation and deeper enslavement to sin.

The Christian should not look for salvation legalistically by his own works of obedience (Romans 3:20, 28). He can only acknowledge that he is a breaker of the divine law and by his own power he is incapable of fulfilling its requirements. He must surrender himself through faith in Christ to the grace and mercy of God.

Then, by the grace of God (Romans 3: 24), his sinful past is forgiven and he receives divine power to walk in newness of life. When a man is “under the law,” despite his best efforts, sin continues to have dominion over him, because the law cannot set him free from the power of sin. But if he is under grace, the struggle against sin becomes a victory. To be under grace, makes victory over sin possible through Jesus (John 3:16).

The Jews wanted to be saved by their own works and by their pride of self-righteousness. They were not willing to acknowledge their own helplessness and to surrender themselves completely to the mercy and transforming grace of God.

Paul is saying that as long as a man is under the law, he remains also under the dominion of sin, for the law cannot save one from either the condemnation or the power of sin. But those who are under grace receive not only release from condemnation (Romans 8:1) but also all the power they need to overcome (Romans 6:4). Thus, sin no longer will have dominion over them.

The Good News

The good news of the gospel is that Christ came to condemn sin, not sinners (John 3:17; Romans 8:3). To those who believe and receive the generous gift of the gospel and who in faith yield themselves to lives of loving obedience, Christ offers justification and freedom. There may yet be weaknesses in the believer’s life, but when it is in the heart to obey God, when efforts are put forth to this end, Jesus accepts this state and effort as man’s best service, and He makes up for the deficiency with His own divine merit. For such there is no condemnation (John 3:18).

The Holy Spirit exercises His life-giving power through the union of the believer with Christ through daily study of the Word and prayer. It is in the experience of close fellowship and union with Christ that the believer receives this power to overcome in the battle against sin. “But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ” (1 Corinthians 15:57). For this victory over the power of the enemy the redeemed will give praise and glory to God throughout eternity (Revelation 5:11–13; 15:3, 4; 19:5, 6).

In the light of such great assurances, Christians should not be influenced by the many temptations of the devil, whether to indulge the flesh or, through the lure of worldly philosophy, to turn from the sure truths of the gospel. No person or thing is to be allowed to shake the Christian from the basis of his faith and hope.

In His service,
BibleAsk Team

Categories Law

We'd love your feedback, so leave a comment!

If you feel an answer is not 100% Bible based, then leave a comment, and we'll be sure to review it.
Our aim is to share the Word and be true to it.