LIVING UNDER THE LAW
“For sin shall not have dominion over you, for you are not under law but under grace. What then? Shall we sin because we are not under law but under grace? Certainly not!” (Romans 6:14-15 NKJV)
The Lord Jesus Christ did not come to destroy, abolish, or make void the Law or the Prophets, but to complete or fulfil it.
Jesus said, “Do not think that I came to destroy the Law or the Prophets. I did not come to destroy but to fulfill.” (Matt. 5:17 NKJV).
The law God gave His people through Moses found its complete and perfect fulfillment in Christ. Jesus Christ is the end of the law for righteousness to everyone who believes.
Paul testifies to this truth in his epistle to the believers in Rome.
Romans 10:4 – AMP
4 For Christ is the end of the Law [the limit at which it ceases to be, for the Law leads up to Him Who is the fulfillment of its types, and in Him the purpose which it was designed to accomplish is fulfilled. That is, the purpose of the Law is fulfilled in Him] as the means of righteousness (right relationship to God) for everyone who trusts in and adheres to and relies on Him.
How did Christ fulfill or complete the law?
By His sinless life and sacrificial death on the cross!
First, Jesus Christ was the first and the only man who ever kept the whole of God’s law perfectly and completely fulfilled all its demands without stumbling in one point at any time.
Neither man nor Satan could find any fault in Christ even though they tempted Him many times and examined Him thoroughly.
Matthew 26:59-61 – NKJV
59 Now the chief priests, the elders, and all the council sought false testimony against Jesus to put Him to death,
60 but found none. Even though many false witnesses came forward, they found none. But at last two false witnesses came forward
61 and said, “This fellow said, ‘I am able to destroy the temple of God and to build it in three days.’
Luke 23:1-5 – NKJV
1 Then the whole multitude of them arose and led Him to Pilate.
2 And they began to accuse Him, saying, “We found this fellow perverting the nation, and forbidding to pay taxes to Caesar, saying that He Himself is Christ, a King.”
3 Then Pilate asked Him, saying, “Are You the King of the Jews?” He answered him and said, “It is as you say.”
4 So Pilate said to the chief priests and the crowd, “I find no fault in this Man.”
5 But they were the more fierce, saying, “He stirs up the people, teaching throughout all Judea, beginning from Galilee to this place.”
Second, Jesus Christ fulfilled the law by His substitutionary or sacrificial death on the cross for our sins, thereby satisfying the righteous demand or justice of the law to punish the transgressors of the law.
Christ’s death has completely, perfectly, and eternally paid for man’s violation of God’s law.
Hebrews 9:11-14 – NKJV
11 But Christ came as High Priest of the good things to come, with the greater and more perfect tabernacle not made with hands, that is, not of this creation.
12 Not with the blood of goats and calves, but with His own blood He entered the Most Holy Place once for all, having obtained eternal redemption.
13 For if the blood of bulls and goats and the ashes of a heifer, sprinkling the unclean, sanctifies for the purifying of the flesh,
14 how much more shall the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered Himself without spot to God, cleanse your conscience from dead works to serve the living God?
Hebrews 10:11-14 – NKJV
11 And every priest stands ministering daily and offering repeatedly the same sacrifices, which can never take away sins.
12 But this Man, after He had offered one sacrifice for sins forever, sat down at the right hand of God,
13 from that time waiting till His enemies are made His footstool.
14 For by one offering He has perfected forever those who are being sanctified. (NKJV).
According to Jesus, the least among the believers under the New Covenant cut and sealed by His blood is greater than John the Baptist who was said to be the greatest of all the prophets under the Old Covenant (Matt. 11:11).
It is therefore simply a sheer ignorance for any New Testament believers in Christ to wish or strive to be like or operate like any of the Old Testament saints or prophets.
The dispensation of the law was that of the letter, of condemnation, and of death.
2 Corinthians 3:5-6 – NKJV
5 Not that we are sufficient of ourselves to think of anything as being from ourselves, but our sufficiency is from God,
6 who also made us sufficient as ministers of the new covenant, not of the letter but of the Spirit; for the letter kills, but the Spirit gives life.
On the contrary, the believers in Christ are now under a new and better Covenant or dispensation of grace which is that of the Spirit and not of the letter, that of life and not of death, and that of justification and not of condemnation (2 Cor. 3:6-9). Praise God!
Living under the Mosaic Law (whether moral, ceremonial, dietary, or civil law) implies striving to keep the whole or part of the law God gave the Jews through Moses in order to have a right standing with God or to earn God’s love, acceptance, approval, favour or blessing.
Living under the law simply means seeking to relate with God or to have a loving relationship with God on the basis of your self-righteousness, performance or good works.
Living under the law is seeking to be justified by the works of the law either by keeping the whole or part of the Mosaic Law (Rom. 3:10. 23, Gal. 2:16).
Any believer today who still wants to live under the law by seeking to approach and relate with God based on his own merit, performance, or self-righteousness must be ready to perfectly, completely and constantly keep the whole law and never stumble in any point at any time.
Because if you keep the whole law but fail, stumble or slip in one point at any time you are guilty of all and will come under the curse of the law!
James 2:10-11 – NKJV
10 For whoever shall keep the whole law, and yet stumble in one point, he is guilty of all.
11 For He who said, “Do not commit adultery,” also said, “Do not murder.” Now if you do not commit adultery, but you do murder, you have become a transgressor of the law.”
Galatians 3:10 – NKJV
10 For as many as are of the works of the law are under the curse; for it is written, “Cursed is everyone who does not continue in all things which are written in the book of the law, to do them.”
History has proved that no mortal man can attain this level of moral perfection under the law – keeping the whole law without stumbling in one point at any time.
Although the law demands moral perfection from us, yet it does not supply us the power or ability to meet this demand. Your best performance under the law or your self-righteousness is nothing but a filthy rag in the sight of God (Isa. 64:6).
What are the implications of choosing to live under the law?
First, Living under the law implies living under the dominion or tyranny of sin:
Under the law, sin has power, strength or dominion to exert over man because the Scripture states, “…it is the Law that gives sin its power.” (1 Cor. 15:56 TCNT).
Therefore, anyone living under the law by seeking to attain righteousness through the works of the law can never be free from the yoke, bondage or slavery of sin.
Seeking or striving to keep the law as a means of earning God’s love, acceptance, approval, favour, or blessing confines you under the law where sin reigns as the king or master. It is only under grace that sin cannot exert any power over you.
Romans 4:14 – NKJV
14 For sin shall not have dominion over you, for you are not under law but under grace.
Second, Living under the law implies living under the curse of the law:
When a man violates any of God’s law, he becomes a transgressor of the law and thus guilty of the whole law (Jam. 2:10-11). Consequently, he comes under the curse of the law and faces the penalty of the law which ultimately is death.
The Scripture amply attests to this truth.
Romans 6:23 – NKJV
23 For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.
Ezekiel 18:4 – NKJV
4 “Behold, all souls are Mine; The soul of the father as well as the soul of the son is Mine; The soul who sins shall die.
All of us were born under the curse of the law, “for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.” (Rom. 3:23 NKJV).
But now, “Christ has redeemed us from the curse of the law, having become a curse for us (for it is written, “Cursed is everyone who hangs on a tree”), that the blessing of Abraham might come upon the Gentiles in Christ Jesus, that we might receive the promise of the Spirit through faith.” (Gal. 3:13-14 NKJV).
However, if you still choose to live under the law, you are rejecting and despising what Christ has done for you, thereby choosing to live under the curse of the law.
Like the foolish Galatians in the Bible, many ignorant believers today are also putting themselves again under the curse of the law by not continuing in faith in the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ after the new birth, but rather striving to please God and earn or merit God’s love, acceptance, approval, favour or blessing on the basis of their performance or good works.
Third, Living under the law implies living under the dominion of Satan:
Anyone who rejects the grace of Christ but chooses to strive to please God or earn God’s salvation on the basis of his merit or performance is vulnerable to Satan’s attack. Why?
Because living under the law is living under the dominion of sin and thus under the dominion of Satan! Why?
1 John 3:8 – MKJV
8 He who practices sin is of the Devil, for the Devil sins from the beginning. For this purpose the Son of God was revealed, that He might undo the works of the Devil.
Beloved, you don’t want to live under the law, for that is the territory, domain or realm of the devil where he operates, oppresses, afflicts, steals and kills unhindered.
Why would you choose to live under the law – under the yoke of sin, under the curse of the law, and under the dominion of Satan – when Christ has fully paid for you to live under grace?
You begin to operate and live under grace the moment you put your faith in the person of Jesus Christ and His finished redemptive work, confessing Him as your Saviour and Lord.
After the new birth, you must also see to it that you continue to operate and live under grace by living and walking by faith alone in Jesus Christ and His finished work.
Paul admonishes you, “As you have therefore received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk in Him.” (Col. 2:6 NKJV).
Find out more about living under grace in the next piece!
Prayer: My Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for setting me free from the law of sin, of condemnation, and of death. From now henceforth, I shall begin to walk in the newness of life by faith alone in my Lord Jesus Christ and His finished work, in Jesus’ name. Amen.