Issue 1

Difficult Scriptures

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

What is meant by this declaration? Does it mean that Christians are absolved from all the obligations of the law? Doesn’t this scripture tell us we don’t have to obey the commandments because Christ overcame sin?

This scripture does not say we don’t have to obey the law. It does say we are not under the law, but under grace. The term “under the law” does not refer to being under the jurisdiction of the law. It means being under the penalty of the law. This penalty is death. “For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.” (Rom 6:23)

The term grace is commonly misunderstood. The dictionary defines grace as exemption or pardon, as from a penalty. Grace is God’s forgiving us for our sins, pardoning us, taking away the penalty. If grace did away with law, there would be no sin because where there is no law, there is no sin. “Because the law worketh wrath: for where no law is, there is no transgression.” (Rom 4:15) This is obviously true because sin is the transgression of the law. “Whosoever committeth sin transgresseth also the law: for sin is the transgression of the law.” (1 John 3:4) So sinning is breaking God’s law. The law has a claim over our lives. We are then under the law or under its penalty when we sin. The Bible tells us that all men sin. “For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God” (Rom 3:23) So it is the sinner who is under the law.

On the other hand, when we repent (turn and stop breaking God’s laws) and receive God’s grace, which was made possible through the sacrifice of Christ, we are pardoned. At that time, we are no longer under the penalty of death (under the law) for breaking God’s commandments.