Not Under Law but Under Grace Meaning

You often hear the argument that we are not under law but under grace but what does it mean to be under grace and does this mean we no longer have to obey the Ten Commandment law?

First let's define what sin is according to the Bible. 1 John 3:4Whosoever committeth sin transgresseth also the law: for sin is the transgression of the law.” Therefore, if there is no Law then there can be no sin, and for even further clarity Romans 4:15 says, “Because the law worketh wrath: for where no law is, there is no transgression.

And what about God's grace. What is this exactly? Put simply, it is His unmerited and undeserved favour that we receive as the result of our Saviour's redeeming sacrifice. Please allow me explain more fully.Not under law but under grace

Jesus said, If we love Him, then keep His Commandments. (John 14:15) So if we truly love our Lord and Saviour then it will be our heart's desire to obey Him. Thus when we unintentionally sin, repentance (to be sorrowful) will be an automatic response for breaking His law. After repentance comes confessing our sin and asking for forgiveness. 1 John 1:9If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” This is where faith comes in. We believe by faith that the sacrifice of Christ cleanses us from all sin. Then comes the free gift from God. Ephesians 2:8-9For by grace are you saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: 9 Not of works, lest any man should boast.” As a result of our repentance and faith, we receive God's Grace which is His unmerited and undeserved favour that we receive due to Christ interceding on our behalf as a result of His sacrifice. (1 Timothy 2:5) This also shows that if there was no law, there would be no need for God's Grace. If there is Grace then there is His law to be obeyed. There is however no sacrifice that will cover wilful and un-repented sin. (Hebrews 10:26-29) This is not to say that if one comes to genuine repentance later in time that he will not be forgiven as this is not so. Christ will always forgive those who come to true repentance.

Consider the following. Can a murderer sentenced to death work for his freedom? No, because he is under the law and the law demands death. The only way he can be set free is if the Governor gives him a pardon. So waiting for the execution this man would truly be under the law in every sense of the word; under the guilt, under the condemnation and under the sentence of death. Just before the execution date the governor reviews the condemned man's case and decides to pardon him. In the light of extenuating circumstances the governor exercises his prerogative and sends a full pardon to the prisoner. Now the prisoner is no longer under the law but under grace. That is, the law no longer condemns him. He is considered totally justified as far as the charges of the law are concerned and he is free to walk out of the prison and no policeman can stop him. But now that he is under grace and not law, can we say that he is free to break the law? Of course not! In fact he would now be doubly obligated to obey the law because he has found Grace from the governor. In gratitude and love he will be very careful to honour and obey the law of that state which granted him grace.

Now what did Paul say about sin and grace? Romans 6:1-2What shall we say then? Shall we continue in sin, that grace may abound? 2 God forbid. How shall we, that are dead to sin, live any longer therein?I am under grace not lawAnd for further clarity using the main passage to avoid loving obedience to God. Romans 6:14-15For 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 are not under the law, but under grace? God forbid.

The Bible does say that we are not under the law, but does that imply that we are free from the obligation to obey it? How easily we could prevent confusion if we just accepted exactly what the Bible says. After stating that we are not under the law but under grace, Paul gives his own explanation in verse 15. He says, “What then?” This simply means, “How are we to understand this?” Then notice his answer. In anticipation that some would misconstrue his words to mean that you can break the law because you are under grace, he says, “Shall we sin (break the Ten Commandments law) because we are not under the law but under grace? God forbid.” In the strongest possible language, Paul states that being under grace does not give a license to break the Ten Commandments. Yet this is exactly what so many believe today despite Paul's specific warning.

And what about those who lived in Old Testament times? Does the Old Testament encompass a dispensation of works and the New Testament a dispensation of grace? Under this garbled plan, people would be saved by works in the Old Testament and by grace in the New Testament but this is not true. The Bible holds forth only one perfect plan for everyone to be saved, and that is by grace through faith.

While Paul states the obvious in that the old sacrificial law (Mosaic Law) was bondage, Heaven will not be divided into two parts. Those who got there by works and those who got there by faith. Every single redeemed soul will be a sinner saved by grace. Those who entered into salvation in the Old Testament were those who trusted in the blood of Jesus Christ by demonstrating their faith by bringing a lamb and slaying it. Hebrews 10:4For it is not possible that the blood of bulls and of goats should take away sins.” The sacrificial system with its holy feast days, new moon festivals and yearly Sabbath days such as Passover described in Colossians 2:14-16 pointed forward to the work of Jesus on the cross. They looked forward in faith to the atoning death of Jesus. We on the other hand look back in faith to the same death and are saved in exactly the same way. So we can be sure that the entire redeemed host throughout eternity will be singing the same song of deliverance.

Those who seem to have no desire for loving obedience to God typically quote Romans 6:14 alone and never verse 15 which informs us that being under grace is not a license to continue in sin. You will also be unlikely to hear the two verses previous to it, which say, Romans 6:12-13Let not sin therefore reign in your mortal body, that you should obey it in the lusts thereof. 13 Neither yield you 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.

And how about the verse after verse 15 which states that grace is not a license to continue in sin. Romans 6:16Know you not, that to whom you yield yourselves servants to obey, his servants you are to whom you obey; whether of sin unto death, or of obedience unto righteousness?

So what does one choose? To continue in sin unto death? Or to obey the law, that is, obedience unto righteousness? An easy choice for those who truly love God and desire to spend eternity with Him and have access to the tree of life. Revelation 22:14Blessed are they that do his Commandments, that they may have right to the tree of life, and may enter in through the gates into the city.

Paul's words are clear and simple in that being under Grace does not mean we can continue to sin which is transgression of the law. The page on saved by faith alone reveals that we still uphold the law and reading were the Ten Commandments abolished shows that Jesus said he did not come to do destroy the law and that we are not only to obey it but to teach it also. So scripture remains consistent and without contradiction.