“Are we under the Law as Christians?” Yes, of course!

Whenever someone asks me if we, as followers of Christ, are still under the Law, I know what they’re asking. Most people who ask these kinds of questions are looking to push back when the message of God’s scandalous grace is taught. I heard Bill Vanderbush‘s answer to this and I think it’s the best way to respond. I simply answer: “Yes, of course! We’re still under the law.” 

This usually gets an affirming response from them, but then I add:

“Which Law are you talking about?”

Then I explain…”For I was set free from the Law of Sin and Death at the cross so I’m now under “the law of the Spirit who gives life through Christ Jesus.” (Which usually gets a puzzled response!)

After this, I might quote the passage….

Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus, because through Christ Jesus the law of the Spirit who gives life has set you free from the law of sin and death. (Rom.8:1-2 NIV*)

As Paul said earlier in Romans, the Law of Sin and Death was revealed in me (and you) through the commandments…

What shall we say, then? Is the law sinful? Certainly not! Nevertheless, I would not have known what sin was had it not been for the law. For I would not have known what coveting really was if the law had not said, “You shall not covet.”But sin, seizing the opportunity afforded by the commandment, produced in me every kind of coveting. For apart from the law, sin was dead. Once I was alive apart from the law; but when the commandment came, sin sprang to life and I died. 10 I found that the very commandment that was intended to bring life actually brought death. (Rom.7:7-10 NIV*)

Although completely powerless to bring life, the Law of Sin and Death did its job by causing me to lose all hope in it so that I would find refuge in Christ’s life in the Spirit:

For what the law was powerless to do because it was weakened by the flesh, God did by sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh to be a sin offering. And so he condemned sin in the flesh, in order that the righteous requirement of the law might be fully met in us, who do not live according to the flesh but according to the Spirit. (Rom.8:3-4 NIV*)

So I’m not saying I’m free to sin, I’m saying that I’m free to be freed from sin.

And this is the fruit of being under the Law of the Spirit of life in Christ:

22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law. (Gal.5:22-23 NIV)

So, the next time someone asks you if we’re still under the Law, tell them, “Yes, absolutely!” Just make sure they (and you) understand which law we’re talking about.

* All emphasis added.
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About Mel Wild

God's favorite (and so are you), a son and a father, happily married to the same beautiful woman for 38 years. We have three incredible adult children. My passion is pursuing the Father's heart in Christ and giving it away to others. My favorite pastime is being iconoclastic and trailblazing the depths of God's grace. I'm also senior pastor of Cornerstone Church in Wisconsin.
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7 Responses to “Are we under the Law as Christians?” Yes, of course!

  1. hawk2017 says:

    Very good lesson.TY

  2. Amen, Mel! Well said. This is a tricky thing to communicate and convey to people. Bill Johnson once said something about how, “our heart can go places our head can’t fit.” That makes me laugh, reminds me of cows who get their head stuck in fences. We people can be just like that when trying to figure out “grace versus the law” as if they are opposing forces or something.

    True story, when I was a teen I looked at the Ten Commandments (and much of Christian culture) and just said forget it, that’s too many rules. The Lord quite clearly said, “you only have to follow one!” I sometimes joke about what a moron I was, a complete fool, because rules are easy, love is not! Love is like rocket science or brain surgery. It is way harder then the law, it is way more demanding, and it is far more painful. It is like being the rich young ruler who is asked to now go extend himself above and beyond the rules.

    • Mel Wild says:

      You are exactly right. Rules are a lot easier than love! We can think we’re all that by ourselves, living for our self, doing our own thing. But love puts us in relationship. Now, we have to think about someone else, actually love them as we love ourselves. They might see the real us, underneath the image we project to the world. Love locates us, like a GPS tracking signal, where our heart really is, our motives. But it’s at this juncture where Jesus can speak to us and heal us.

  3. To be honest, I struggle to see much contradiction between the Mosaic Law and what Jesus taught- which was essentially the spirit rather than the letter of the Mosaic Law that the religious leaders taught. Love God and love others- as Jesus does. Thanks for the post 🙂

    • Mel Wild says:

      Thanks for your comments, Robert. I would totally agree with you that there is no contradiction in what the Law teaches and what Jesus taught. I’ve said in other posts that, from Genesis to Revelation, all God wanted was actually one thing: other-centered, self-giving love, which looks like loving Him as He loves us, and loving others as we love ourselves. So, in that sense, it’s always been one consistent message.

      The difference is in exactly what you said. We follow Christ and His indwelling Spirit empowers us to love God and love others the way He loves us (and the way we learn to love ourselves). The outcome is the fruit of the Spirit, which is the intent of the Law. The problem comes when Christians try to follow the Law instead of Christ, they put the proverbial cart before the horse and become legalistic.

  4. Anonymous says:

    what was paul trying to say in romans 7?

    • Mel Wild says:

      You cannot understand what Paul is saying in Romans 7 apart from Romans 6 and 8. I believe he was talking about his (and our) struggle living under the law of sin and death (in which he was referencing the Ten Commandments here, talking about coveting). This is the “law” we are under, according to our old sinful nature.

      25 Thanks be to God, who delivers me through Jesus Christ our Lord!
      So then, I myself in my mind am a slave to God’s law, but in my sinful nature a slave to the law of sin. (Rom.7:25 NIV)

      Not that the Law itself was bad. It was perfect. It just produced death and not life when we put ourselves under it. Romans 7 should lead us to his statement in Romans 8…”because through Christ Jesus the law of the Spirit who gives life has set you free from the law of sin and death.” (Rom.8:2)

      As I said in the post, living under “the law of the Spirit” empowers me to actually fulfill the original intent of the Ten Commandments, which is all about other-centered, self-giving love. Loving God and loving others. But we can only actually do this empowered by the Spirit.

      Hope that answers your question. Blessings.

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