We are no longer under the LAW but under GRACE!
8 min Read
For sin will have no dominion over you, since you are not under law but under grace. Romans 6:14
The NIV reads:
For sin shall no longer be your master, because you are not under the law, but under grace. Romans 6:14
We are no longer under the law but are now under grace. Crystal clear right?
Of course, Paul is making an accurate statement, but it really is not as clear as we think it is these days. When one reads this verse, especially out of context, they immediately conclude:
"See! We are no longer under the Torah, we are under grace! Paul is clearly stating that we are no longer under the law so we no longer have to keep the law! The Torah is done away with!"
That is not what Paul is actually saying. If he was saying that, he would be talking out of two sides of his mouth:
Do we then nullify the law by this faith? By no means! Rather, we uphold the law. Romans 3:31
Paul would be contradicting himself if he at one point in the letter instructed believers to uphold and keep the law, and in another part of the letter would insinuate that believers no longer need to keep the law. So what are you saying Paul??
We would of course encourage everyone to read Romans in its entirety in order to get the full context and the complete message. It is a letter after all and would have been read in full. When we proof text, or take specific verses out of context, it is easy to derive false conclusions, especially when we recognize that we all approach scripture with certain presuppositions (many being false understandings fed to us by other preachers, teachers, other believers, and traditions of men). That's why we always encourage new believers to read the Bible from beginning to end, front to back, Genesis to Revelation.
We must know the front of the book in order to have an accurate understanding of the back of the book.
This is not a complete study of Romans by any means, so we will focus on this particular verse. Thankfully, there is some important context right in this very verse.
For sin shall no longer be your master, because you are not under the law, but under grace. Romans 6:14
The referent to Paul's explanation of no longer being under the law but under grace, is actually in the first part of the sentence. For sin shall no longer be your master. Sin is the Master. And Sin shall no longer be a believer's master because they are no longer under the law. Let's clear up some confusion:
Is the Torah (Law), sin? By no means! Torah is the opposite of sin. Sin is the breaking of the Torah. The Law cannot be and is not sin. Paul even gives a good explanation in the very next chapter, as if he knew he would be misunderstood.
What then shall we say? That the law is sin? By no means! I would not have known what sin was had it not been for the law. For I would not have known what it is to covet if the law had not said, "You shall not covet." Romans 7:7
Remember, scripture tells us that the Torah is the path to life and that it is the revelation of our Creator's perfect nature (Deuteronomy 30, Deuteronomy 8:6). Just as Paul says, by no means can the Torah (Law) be sin.
So, what does it mean to be under the law? Being under the law is not what we initially conclude. We have been taught over and over and over: "The Law (Torah) is so difficult that man could not keep it! Look at Israel, they failed every time! Judah, the Jews, failed. Nobody could keep the Torah, which is why Jesus came and kept it for us. He was perfect because we could not be perfect. The Law was too difficult so Jesus stood in our place."
That sounds good on the surface, but that perspective is actually blasphemous. Many do not realize this, but this understanding literally calls our Creator a liar! Scripture records our Heavenly Father telling His people that the Torah (Law) is not too difficult and it is not far from you that you are able to keep it. It is even echoed in John that the commands of Yehovah are not too difficult or burdensome. Believers today must repent and walk away from the idea that the Torah is too difficult to keep, otherwise they are adhering to something that opposes scripture and the very clear words of our Heavenly Father.
For this commandment that I command you today is not too hard for you, neither is it far off. Deuteronomy 30:11
For this is the love of God, that we keep his commandments. And his commandments are not burdensome. 1 John 5:3
Believers must stay true to scripture. Logically, wouldn't it be cruel if our Creator gave us instructions that he knew we could not keep? And then punish us—even with death—when we could not keep them? Only to send his son hundreds of years later to keep them for us because he knew we could not keep them in the first place? Now, we do not have to keep them because Jesus did, so no punishment for us? Doesn't that seem cruel to those of God's children before Messiah? Why would our Creator give commands that we could not keep and then be so furious when we did not keep them? It doesn't make sense.
Just as Yehovah told us himself, the instructions on how we should live our lives—his Torah—are not too difficult for us. Unfortunately, many just choose to disobey him and many choose to follow either their own rules or other man-made doctrines. In the church today, many choose to keep some of the Torah—don't murder, love your neighbor as yourself, don't steal—yet throw out other vital commands such as keeping the Sabbath, eating only what Yehovah has deemed food, celebrating the Feast days, etc. Unfortunately, when one does not strive to keep all the Torah, they are not truly following the Most High. Instead, they are following the doctrines of men. They have decided that there are only some relevant commands in the "New Covenant", concluding that many of the instructions in the Torah do not apply or that they can only be applied as principles instead of specific commands. Sadly, there is not one piece of scripture that clearly declares a detailed "New Covenant" list of commands. In other words, there is not one section in the New Testament that clearly defines the new commands to keep. This understanding is instead based on inferences of some of the Torah commands that are only mentioned in the Brit Hadasha ("New Testament"). That is man-made doctrine and it opposes what our perfect Messiah lived and taught as well as what scripture clearly details. I'm sorry, I digress. But this is vital to understand and we care too much not to proclaim it.
Being under the law is referring to the punishment of breaking the law. Yehovah laid it before us, if we break the law we will incur consequences and curses. One becomes under the law when they break the law. Here is an example: If one speeds over the speed limit, they are now under the law of breaking speed limits. They are then subject at least to a fine, which is one of the consequences of speeding. The penalty of the law is over them and their "sin" is their master—they are subject to what the law details as a consequence. One is then required to pay the due penalty or face higher repercussions. It is the same for breaking the Torah. If one violates the Torah, such as stealing from someone, they are now under the penalty of the law. They must pay the fine and penalty of what the law details.
This is where grace comes into play!
Just as someone can step in for you and pay your speeding fine, it is justified that Yeshua can step in for you and pay your penalty for theft! This is the beauty of the grace through our Messiah. Since he was perfect and never sinned, he can step in and pay every single penalty for every single sin. If he had sinned once, he would be under the law just as we are! He would not be able to step in and pay our fine because he would have been subject to his own penalties for his own sin. That is the magnitude of his grace—his sinless life allowed him to be put to death for no due reason (the punishment for sin is death) which could then be counted as atonement for any and all sins; as long as the sinner accepts his payment. In other words, since Yeshua took the punishment of death when he was not subject to it, he paid our penalty for us! All we must do is accept his free gift—believe in him and that he paid it—and we are released from the penalty of our sins—our sins are washed away. That is amazing grace!
But here is where many run astray with grace. Since our sins are paid in full by Yeshua's death on the cross, many believe followers no longer have to keep the Law. Said differently, many mistake grace for a trump card to keep on sinning. They forget the very words of Paul in the beginning of this chapter:
What shall we say then? Are we to continue in sin that grace may abound? By no means! How can we who died to sin still live in it? Do you not know that all of us who have been baptized into Messiah Yeshua were baptized into his death? We were buried therefore with him by baptism into death, in order that, just as Messiah was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, we too might walk in newness of life. Romans 6:1-4
Are we to keep on sinning because our sins were nailed to the cross? By no means! We should be doing every single thing we can not to sin! We are called to walk in newness of life! So, if we are not to continue in sin, what should we do? The only way we cannot sin is if we keep the law! Remember, sin is lawlessness. Breaking the Torah is SIN. This is why we are called to walk in the same newness of life we saw Messiah walk in: He kept the Torah perfectly, which made him sinless. We are called to walk in his exact footsteps. We are called to repent from sin and walk in the newness of life under the freedom of grace. Meaning, when we stumble we do not beat ourselves up (penance), but remember that we have an advocate with the Father: Yeshua Messiah the righteousness. The freedom in Messiah, being under grace, allows us to strive to keep all of the commands, but recognizes we will stumble along the way. However, a believer that recognizes the power and comfort of grace, does not trample grace by living a life of sin. They sincerely strive to keep all of the Torah according to scripture. Keeping Torah, living sinless, is the fruit of our salvation. It shows we love our Heavenly Father and Messiah and our works prove it to be true—the book of James makes this crystal clear (which we highly encourage you to read).
My little children, I am writing these things to you so that you may not sin. But if anyone does sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Yeshua Messiah the righteous. He is the propitiation for our sins, and not for ours only but also for the sins of the whole world. And by this we know that we have come to know him, if we keep his commandments. Whoever says "I know him" but does not keep his commandments is a liar, and the truth is not in him, but whoever keeps his word, in him truly the love of God is perfected. By this we may know that we are in him: whoever says he abides in him ought to walk in the same way which he walked. 1 John 2:1-6
Romans is a powerful, insightful, and accurate piece of scripture. It does not contradict the Tanakh ("Old Testament") but gives us insight on how to keep the Torah in honor of our Messiah under the clear freedom of grace. Romans also teaches believers not to trample the gift of grace by continuing in sin, by continuing to break the Torah.
We are no longer under the penalty of the Law, but under the grace and love of our Heavenly Father and Messiah. Which means we strive to keep the whole Torah and live a sinless and blameless life as we anticipate Yeshua's return and the new heavens and new earth!
The Lord is not slow to fulfill his promise as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing that any should perish, but that all should reach repentance. But the day of the Lord will come like a thief, and then the heavens will pass away with a roar, and the heavenly bodies will be burned up and dissolved, and the earth and the works that are done on it will be exposed.
Since all these things are thus to be dissolved, what sort of people ought you to be in lives of holiness and godliness, waiting for and hastening the coming of the day of God, because of which the heavens will be set on fire and dissolved, and the heavenly bodies will melt as they burn! But according to his promise we are waiting for new heavens and a new earth in which righteousness dwells.
Therefore, beloved, since you are waiting for these, be diligent to be found by him without spot or blemish, and at peace. 2 Peter 3:9-14
We hope this short message has blessed you. In the next post, we will continue in 2 Peter 3 to see why Peter said that Paul is so hard to understand! Thank you for joining us as we all strive to be obedient children of the Most High. May we all have eyes to see and ears to hear. Until next time!
Sean is a former Atheist who was finally awoken to the reality of our Creator—which lead him to the one place he thought he would never step foot: “Bible College.” During his studies, our Heavenly Father flipped his Christian worldview upside down in order to reveal the Whole truth of His perfect Word. As a follower of Messiah Yeshua (Christ Jesus), Sean encourages believers to deepen their faith, seek the truth, test everything, and be willing to walk in the true image they were created: the image of the Most High and his flawless son.