Are Christians under the Law?

by Matt Slick

No, Christians are not under the Law.  To be under the Law means that a person is under the power and authority of the Law to judge and condemn anyone who breaks the Law.  Take a look at these verses that talk about being under the Law.

  • Rom. 2:12, "For all who have sinned without the Law will also perish without the Law; and all who have sinned under the Law will be judged by the Law," (ἐν νόμῳ, en nomo, literally 'in law').
  • Gal. 3:23, "But before faith came, we were kept in custody under the law, being shut up to the faith which was later to be revealed," (ὑπὸ νόμον, hupo nomon, literally 'under law').
  • Gal. 4:5, "in order that He might redeem those who were under the Law, that we might receive the adoption as sons," (ὑπὸ νόμον, hupo nomon, literally 'under law').

As you can see, to be under the Law means you will be judged by the Law.  In the Old Testament Law found in Deuteronomy 27:26 it says, "‘Cursed is he who does not confirm the words of this law by doing them.’ And all the people shall say, ‘Amen.’"  So, to be under the Law means you have to keep it all.  In Galatians 3:10 Paul said, "For as many as are of the works of the Law are under a curse; for it is written, 'Cursed is everyone who does not abide by all things written in the book of the law, to perform them.'”  That is what it means to be under the Law.

But, as I said above, Christians are not under the Law.  In other words, Christians are not obligated to keep the Law so as to be saved from God's righteous judgment, so they don't go to hell.

  • Rom. 6:14, "For sin shall not be master over you, for you are not under law, but under grace."
  • Gal. 5:18, "But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under the Law."

Christians are freed from having to please God and be saved by keeping the Law of God.  We are not under the Law.  We are not under its authority.  It has no power over us.

Why are Christians not under the Law? 

Christians are not under the Law because they have died to the Law.  They have died with Christ, and those who have died are not bound by the Law.

  • "for the Law brings about wrath, but where there is no law, neither is there violation." (Rom. 4:15).
  • "knowing this, that our old self was crucified with Him, that our body of sin might be done away with, that we should no longer be slaves to sin;" (Rom. 6:6).
  • "Now if we have died with Christ, we believe that we shall also live with Him," (Rom. 6:8).
  • "Therefore, my brethren, you also were made to die to the Law through the body of Christ, that you might be joined to another, to Him who was raised from the dead, that we might bear fruit for God." (Rom. 7:4).
  • "But now we have been released from the Law, having died to that by which we were bound, so that we serve in newness of the Spirit and not in oldness of the letter." (Rom. 7:6).

So, Christians have died with Christ.  They are identified with Christ so closely that it can be said that when Christ died, they died with him.  Since Christians have died with him, they are no longer under the Law because he who has died is freed from the Law (Rom. 7:6).  That is why Christians are not obligated to keep the Law of God in order to be saved from God's righteous judgment.  Christians are saved from that requirement and penalty. 

 

 

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