But I am Under Grace

But I am Under Grace

I suppose most everyone is familiar with the phrase “Under Grace”.  I would like to examine this phrase in scriptural context and my prayer is that we would all have a richer understanding of it.

Romans 6:14 For sin shall not have dominion over you: for ye are not under the law, but under grace.

All scripture must be read in context and the above verse is no exception.  Here is a high level view of Romans 1-8.

Chapter 1-3 – Shows that ALL are guilty before a Holy God

Chapter 4 – Abraham is our example to show justification is by faith not works

Chapter 5 – Results of justification

Chapter 6 – Dead to sin / Slaves to righteousness

Chapter 7 – The law of sin exposed

Chapter 8 – Life in the Spirit

Paul spent eight chapters revealing a great mystery and it is all interconnected.  The individual chapters to do not stand on their own.  So with this in mind, lets dive in.

All Guilty Before God

In Romans 1-3 we see that everyone is guilty before a Holy God.  In Romans 3 Paul makes two very important statements.

Romans 3:9 What then? are we better than they? No, in no wise: for we have before proved both Jews and Gentiles, that they are all under sin;
Romans 3:19 Now we know that what things soever the law saith, it saith to them who are under the law: that every mouth may be stopped, and all the world may become guilty before God.

The phrase under the law is connected with the phrase under sin.  Paul is building precept upon precept in Romans and many people erroneously view this as Paul teaching that the law of God is equal to the law of sin.  Paul continues to teach more about this concept in Romans 6-8 and in Romans 7 Paul exposes the law of sin.

Dead Men Don’t Sin

In Romans 6 we see the following profound statement:

Romans 6:7 For he that is dead is freed from sin.

Paul is teaching that we are dead to sin by the body of Christ Jesus and since we are dead, sin no longer has dominion over us.  Think about this for a moment.   Paul did not say that you are freed from the law of God nor did Paul say that you have power over sin.   Now read Romans 6:11-18.

Romans 6:11 Likewise reckon ye also yourselves to be dead indeed unto sin, but alive unto God through Jesus Christ our Lord. 12 Let not sin therefore reign in your mortal body, that ye should obey it in the lusts thereof. 13 Neither yield ye your members as instruments of unrighteousness unto sin: but yield yourselves unto God, as those that are alive from the dead, and your members as instruments of righteousness unto God. 14 For sin shall not have dominion over you: for ye are not under the law, but under grace. 15 What then? shall we sin, because we not under the law, but under grace? God forbid. 16 Know ye not, that to whom ye yield yourselves servants to obey, his servants ye are to whom ye obey; whether of sin unto death, or of obedience unto righteousness? 17 But God be thanked, that ye were the servants of sin, but ye have obeyed from the heart that form of doctrine which as delivered you. 18 Being then made free from sin, ye became the servants of righteousness.

Examine the surrounding verses in Chapter 6 and you see that Paul is teaching that we are made FREE from sin by Grace.  Paul never teaches that we can live in sin and claim Grace, but rather teaches it is the power to deliver us out of bondage to sin.  Think about this a moment.

Question for Thought
Does sin still have dominion over you?

Which Law Paul?

You might ask, what does this have to do with the law of God?  Glad you asked!  But before we continue on to Romans 7, let’s jump back to Chapter 3.

Romans 3:31 Do we then make void the law through faith? God forbid: yea, we establish the law.

Paul makes it clear that faith establishes the law [of God]. In Romans 7, he starts with the following in regard to the law

Romans 7:1-3 Know ye not, brethren, (for I speak to them that know the law,) how that the law hath dominion over a man as long as he liveth? 2 For the woman which hath an husband is bound by the law to her husband so long as he liveth; but if the husband be dead, she is loosed from the law of her husband. 3 So then if, while her husband liveth, she be married to another man, she shall be called an adulteress: but if her husband be dead, she is free from that law; so that she is no adulteress, though she be married to another man.

The above verses show that Paul is talking to those who understand the law of God and explains that the wife is only freed from the law of her husband if the husband dies.  In verse 4 below, it appears that Paul is saying that we are dead to the law [of God] by the body of Christ.  But is that what Paul is stating?

Romans 7:4 Wherefore, my brethren, ye also are become dead to the law by the body of Christ; that ye should be married to another, even to him who is raised from the dead, that we should bring forth fruit unto God.

The next two verses give more insight into what Paul is teaching…

Romans 7:5-6 For when we were in the flesh, the motions of sins, which were by the law, did work in our members to bring forth fruit unto death. 6 But now we are delivered from the law, that being dead wherein we were held; that we should serve in newness of spirit, and not in the oldness of the letter.

There is a law that held us captive and worked in our members to bring forth fruit unto death.  We must die – remember Romans 6:7 above – to be free from this law [of sin] working in us.  Paul exposes the law of sin in this chapter and uses the law of marriage to explain it.  We die in Christ and then are raised in newness of life and are married to Christ.  You must be born again.

Are you born again?
John 3:7 Marvel not that I said unto thee, Ye must be born again.

You must be born again, because Jesus Christ will not be an adulterer.  If you are still married to the law of sin, then you cannot be married to Christ.

Back to Romans 7, Paul explains that this law of sin causes us to transgress the law of God, because the law [of God] is spiritual.

Romans 7:14 For we know that the law [of God] is spiritual: but I am carnal, sold under [law of] sin.

Paul concludes by declaring that there are two laws working in us (if we are born again).

Romans 7:21 I find then a law, that, when I would do good, evil is present with me. 22 For I delight in the law of God after the inward man: 23 But I see another law in my members, warring against the law of my mind, and bringing me into captivity to the law of sin which is in my members.

In the above verses, Paul’s conclusion is that there is another law working in our members warring against the law of our mind – working to bring us into captivity to the law of sin.

Romans 7:25 I thank God through Jesus Christ our Lord. So then with the mind I myself serve the law of God; but with the flesh the law of sin.

The above verse clearly shows that there are two laws and you will serve one or the other.  You cannot serve two masters.

Romans 8:1 There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit.
Most Bible translations do not have the second half of the verse above.

If you walk after the flesh, you are serving the law of sin, under condemnation, and bringing forth fruit unto death.  If you walk in the Spirit, you serve the law of God and bring forth fruit unto God.

You see the law of God while good and righteous, does not bring forth life – remember, you must be born again!  If we walk by the Spirit of God, we will delight in the law of God and the law of sin will be a stench and sin will be exceedingly sinful.

Romans 7:13 Was then that which is good made death unto me? God forbid. But sin, that it might appear sin, working death in me by that which is good; that sin by the commandment might become exceeding sinful.
Romans 8:7 Because the carnal mind is enmity against God: for it is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be.

Jumping over to Galatians 5 we see that Paul is sharing a condensed version of this teaching:

Gal 5:16 This I say then, Walk in the Spirit, and ye shall not fulfil the lust of the flesh. 17 For the flesh lusteth against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh: and these are contrary the one to the other: so that ye cannot do the things that ye would. 18 But if ye be led of the Spirit, ye are not under the law [of sin and death].

Compare verse 18 above with Romans 8:2 below

Romans 8:2 For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus hath made me free from the law of sin and death.

What Did Jesus Come to Destroy?

All believers must have an answer to this question:  What is sin?

1 John 3:3-4 And every man that hath this hope in him purifieth himself, even as he is pure.  4 Whosever committeth sin transgresseth also the law: for sin is the transgression of the law.

If Jesus destroyed the law of God, then ask yourself this:  Why is John writing to believers and instructing them to purify themselves by turning from sin – that is stop transgressing the law of God?

1 John 3:8 He that committeth sin is of the devil; for the devil sinneth from the beginning. For this purpose the Son of God was manifested, that he might destroy the works of the devil.

The Son of God was manifest to destroy the works of the devil!!  The works of the devil is to commit sin.  Compare this to Matthew 5

Matthew 5:17 Think not that I am come to destroy the law, or the prophets: I am not come to destroy, but to fulfil. 18 For verily I say unto you, till heaven and earth pass, one jot or one tittle shall in no wise pass from the law, till all be fulfilled.

Jesus did not come to destroy or abolish the law of God. He came to:

  1. Cause it to abound,
  2. To make complete in every particular,
  3. To render perfect
  4. To fill to the full,
  5. To carry into effect,
  6. Bring to realization.

A few scriptures to show how the word pleroo which is translated as fulfil is used:

Mat 3:15 And Jesus answering said unto him, Suffer it to be so now: for thus it becometh us to fulfil all righteousness. Then he suffered him.

Is Jesus abolishing righteousness?  No.

Luke 4:21 And he began to say unto them, This day is this scripture fulfilled in your ears.

Is Jesus abolishing scripture in their ears?  No.

Luke 21:24 And they shall fall by the edge of the sword, and shall be led away captive into all nations: and Jerusalem shall be trodden down of the Gentiles, until the times of the Gentiles be fulfilled.

Is Jesus saying that the Gentiles will be abolished?  No.

Jesus came to destroy the works of the devil NOT the law of God.

But I am Under Grace!

When anyone talks about the law of God, people tend to say “but we are under grace” as though it is a trump card to negate any demands that God’s law would place upon us and next to follow are legalism or works salvation.  So how do the scriptures connect grace, faith, the law of God, and sin?

To be continued…

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