Church of God, New World Ministries

What Does “Not Under The Law, But Under Grace” Mean?

Does grace do away with the law? If you keep the law, have you “fallen” from grace?

Most people are confused by those who claim to expound the words of Paul. You may hear one group quote one set of scriptures telling of the law, and another group quoting verses mentioning grace. That is the wrong way to study the Bible. All scripture is given by inspiration.

What does “grace” mean? Webster defines it as mercy, favor, unmerited kindness, an exemption or pardon as from a penalty.

It is by grace, the underserved pardon of God, that you are delivered from the penalty of sin - Romans 6:23. Christ paid the penalty in your stead. If you accept the grace of God, who permitted His Son to die in your stead, to free you from sin, then you are under grace. You are under an unmerited pardon, not “under the law.”

“What then? Shall we sin (that is transgress the law - I John 3:4) because we are not under the law, but under grace?” Romans 6:15. That is what Paul asked! Shall we sin - shall we break the law? Remember, sin is the transgression of the law.

What is Paul’s answer? “God forbid.” “How shall we, that are dead to sin (transgression God’s law), live any longer therein?” (Rom. 6:1-2.) If we are under grace, the pardon of God, we are not to live in sin; we are not to break God’s law. If we break God’s law by sinning, then we come under the law. It is over us. It has a claim on our lives. It is only those who keep the law that are not under the law; it has no claim over their lives.

Grace does not do away with the law; it pardons our sin, making it possible for us to keep the law through the Holy Spirit that is given to those that obey God - Acts. 5:32.

Wouldn’t it be ridiculous for a judge to grant a pardon to a criminal and then tell him to commit the same crime again? Yet that is exactly how ridiculous most people make God’s grace. They turn the grace, the pardon of God into lasciviousness, license to do evil.

If grace could abolish the law, then there could be no more sin, because there is no sin where there is no law (Rom. 4:15). And if there were no sin, there would be no need for grace, no pardon of God - to deliver us from the penalty of breaking the law.

Christ died in your stead and mine so that we could obey God unto righteousness and not serve sin. As long as we were under the claim of the law because of transgression, sin had dominion over us, we were its slaves. But now we are free to obey the law unto righteousness (Rom. 6:16).

Everyone has sinned and cut himself off from God. “But your iniquities have separated between you and your God, and your sins have hid his face from you, that he will not hear” (Isa. 59:2).

God hears not sinners (John 9:31). He will have no fellowship with those who sin. He hears only those who do righteousness. But if everyone has sinned, then there must be a way for sinners to come to God, or else we could never become righteous. How can sinners seek God? The prophet Isaiah tells us the way sinners come to God. “Seek ye the Lord while he may be found, call upon him while he is near.” But how do we call on God? How do we seek Him? “Let the wicked forsake his way, and the unrighteous man his thoughts: and let him return unto the Lord, and he will have mercy upon him; and to our God, for He will abundantly pardon” (Isa. 55:6-7).

A person must repent of transgressing God’s Law, and accept Jesus Christ as Saviour from its penalty. Christ is the way. That’s how you can come to God. Forsake the way you have been living, start to obey God. Once you repent of going the wrong way you are no longer a sinner in God’s sight. He will hear you and give His Holy Spirit to you, if you obey Him (Acts. 5:32). You must be willing to forsake your ways and thoughts and go the way of God. Then He will hear you because you “keep the commandments and do these things that are pleasing in His sight” (I John 3:22).

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