Dead to Sin; Dead to the Law; Living under Grace.
Another area of common confusion is in regards to the relationship between God and the believer. What is the believer's “position” in relation to God? Also, what was the relationship between God and an Israelite who was under the old covenant?
Now I say, That the heir, as long as he is a child, differeth nothing from a servant, though he be lord of all; 2 But is under tutors and governors until the time appointed of the father. 3Even so we, when we were children, were in bondage under the elements of the world: 4But when the fulness of the time was come, God sent forth his Son, made of a woman, made under the law, 5To redeem them that were under the law, that we might receive the adoption of sons. 6And because ye are sons, God hath sent forth the Spirit of his Son into your hearts, crying, Abba, Father. 7Wherefore thou art no more a servant, but a son; and if a son, then an heir of God through Christ. – Galatians 4:1-7Those redeemed are now sons, whereas the previous condition was that of a servant or slave. It is also a condition of being a child; immature in nature and under bondage to these “elements of the world.” A child's life consists of living by a set of rules given to them by the parents. “Don't touch that!” “Eat your carrots.” “Don't cross the street.” “Come inside before it gets dark.”
Wherefore if ye be dead with Christ from the rudiments of the world, why, as though living in the world, are ye subject to ordinances, 21(Touch not; taste not; handle not; 22Which all are to perish with the using;) after the commandments and doctrines of men? 23Which things have indeed a shew of wisdom in will worship, and humility, and neglecting of the body; not in any honour to the satisfying of the flesh. 1If ye then be risen with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ sitteth on the right hand of God. 2Set your affection on things above, not on things on the earth. 3For ye are dead, and your life is hid with Christ in God. – Colossians 2:20-3:3
Jesus answered them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Whosoever committeth sin is the servant of sin. 35And the servant abideth not in the house for ever: but the Son abideth ever. 36If the Son therefore shall make you free, ye shall be free indeed. – John 8:34-36It is Christ who makes us free from sin, and no longer the servant of sin. It is in this condition we “abide in the house for ever.”
God forbid. How shall we, that are dead to sin, live any longer therein? – Romans 6:2What does it mean to be dead to sin? Likewise:
Wherefore, my brethren, ye also are become dead to the law by the body of Christ; that ye should be married to another, even to him who is raised from the dead, that we should bring forth fruit unto God. – Romans 7:4
For I through the law am dead to the law, that I might live unto God. – Galatians 2:19Being dead to sin, and dead to that law, means that neither has any power over the person any longer. One is freed from the law, and freed from sin.
For he that is dead is freed from sin. – Romans 6:7
Being then made free from sin, ye became the servants of righteousness. 19 I speak after the manner of men because of the infirmity of your flesh: for as ye have yielded your members servants to uncleanness and to iniquity unto iniquity; even so now yield your members servants to righteousness unto holiness. 20 for when ye were the servants of sin, ye were free from righteousness. 21What fruit had ye then in those things whereof ye are now ashamed? for the end of those things is death. 22But now being made free from sin, and become servants to God, ye have your fruit unto holiness, and the end everlasting life. 23For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord. – Romans 6:18-23
For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus hath made me free from the law of sin and death. – Romans 8:2Sin all too often becomes a tool of control, wielded by ministers or a ministry for the sake of controlling their members. They are taught that, in order to avoid sin, they must abide by the instructions of their ministries, who define what sin is for them, and define for them how they are to live in order to avoid sin.
This should not be taken lightly. Historically, societies have been closely controlled, not only through civil governments, but by religious organizations also, often in conjunction with the civil authority. A person's very existence was controlled from birth to the grave, and any behavior, or even belief that strayed from the norm, could be, and often was, dealt with severely.
For the first time in history, people in the western civilizations have been freed from the “peer pressure” of their cultures. If a culture had embraced a false gospel and a false Christianity, and you were a part of that culture, you were forced to conform to that culture and belief system. Truly, the chances of you coming to an understanding of the truth of the gospel, and pure religion would have been remote. When and if a disagreement arose between groups of people in a particular culture, blood was likely to be spilled, and a prevailing belief was rarely based on the truth of Scripture, but rather by who controlled the greater power in that culture.
With the advent of printing came the ability for more people to read the Scriptures, with the resultant differences of interpretations. Differing groups sprung up, all wanting the ability to believe what they wanted without being persecuted by other groups, hence the migration of various religious groups to the Americas, where they set up their own cultures and promptly persecuted any and all within their environs who did not agree with their brand of Christianity.
Fortunately, in time, religious freedoms prevailed in the states and the Federal Constitution of the United States, where one was now free to worship God according to the dictates of one's conscience, as well as the freedom to not worship God according to that same freedom. A person no longer had to conform to the religious “norm” that rarely matched up with Scripture.
If those who desire power and control over others cannot achieve it through one venue, they will seek it in another. Religion is a very powerful venue; a cage people can be put in that has no bars other than the person's own fears and phobias. Jesus declared that the truth sets men free. Conversely, lies, deceptions, and false religions enslave.
Do you wish to be free? If so, then you must be ready to question everything and everyone. Nothing is above examination, and no one is above scrutiny. If a man tells you that to question him is to question God, then run and don't walk away from such a man. No man and no ministry is to come between the individual and Christ. Christ is the vine, and the believer is a branch connected directly to the vine, and not connected via some other man or church.
Jesus stated that you would know true believers based on whether they had love for one another, and by extension, love for all others. Jesus did not say you would know true believers based on their beliefs and doctrines. True doctrines, by the way, do not violate love and faith.
Know ye not, that so many of us as were baptized into Jesus Christ were baptized into his death? 4Therefore we are buried with him by baptism into death: that like as Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life. 5For if we have been planted together in the likeness of his death, we shall be also in the likeness of his resurrection: 6Knowing this, that our old man is crucified with him, that the body of sin might be destroyed, that henceforth we should not serve sin. 7For he that is dead is freed from sin. 8Now if we be dead with Christ, we believe that we shall also live with him: 9Knowing that Christ being raised from the dead dieth no more; death hath no more dominion over him. 10For in that he died, he died unto sin once: but in that he liveth, he liveth unto God. 11Likewise reckon ye also yourselves to be dead indeed unto sin, but alive unto God through Jesus Christ our Lord. 12Let not sin therefore reign in your mortal body, that ye should obey it in the lusts thereof. – Romans 6:3-12The old you died. The new you is a new creation. You are now a son (or daughter) of God whereas before you were a son or daughter of Adam with the inherent nature of Adam; a sinful nature.
Those who would resurrect you back to sin want power and control over you. Those who want to resurrect you back to the law also want to control you. They make a good argument that Christians are not free to sin, and even Paul makes such a declaration, but what kind of sin? Well, what did we just read above? That it is about sins related to lust; about sating carnal desires. Sabbatarians make the accusation that the carnal mind hates the sabbath, yet you can't make the case that one lusts in relation to the sabbath any more than they would circumcision.
The ultimate goal of dragging you back to sin and rules of conduct is to bring you under a false gospel, and the resultant bondage. Those who seek power and control over others cannot stand the thought of anyone being free of their control, which is what the true gospel accomplishes. You therefore must be ready to walk away from those who seek control over you, despite all the subtle and deceitful methods they may employ to have you accept them as an authority figure over you. It may even require some to abandon family.
And Jesus answered and said, Verily I say unto you, There is no man that hath left house, or brethren, or sisters, or father, or mother, or wife, or children, or lands, for my sake, and the gospel's, 30But he shall receive an hundredfold now in this time, houses, and brethren, and sisters, and mothers, and children, and lands, with persecutions; and in the world to come eternal life. – Mark 10:29-30Ministers of Christ are servants, and not masters. If they can dictate to you, and demand of you compliance of things, especially your support of them, then there is something fundamentally wrong. If they can adversely affect your life, there is something dreadfully wrong. If they generate fear in people should they go against what they teach and demand, it is time to seek the nearest exit.
A Christian is not under the law. A Christian is under grace. A legalist will insist that, because we are under grace, we should be keeping that law; that grace is not a license to sin. Part of the problem is in the legalist's interpretation of sin being so much more than following the lusts of the flesh. Conversely, the legalist's interpretation is sin falls short of covering everything found in that same law they espouse as defining sin.
In order to cover the aspect of grace, I will incorporate the methodology of truth in this example.
First, we gather together the examples of Scripture that deals with the type of grace being examined, for the English word “grace” can mean a couple different, although related things. We are looking for examples of grace as the Christian condition in relation to God, where grace is unmerited favor and acceptance. In this context, we need to remember that a Christian's life is hid in Christ; that the Christian takes on Christ's righteousness, and not one's own righteousness. (Colossians 3:3; Matthew 6:33; Philippians 3:9)
John 1:16 And of his fulness have all we received, and grace for grace.
John 1:17 For the law was given by Moses, but grace and truth came by Jesus Christ.
[ If grace and truth came by Jesus Christ, then grace and truth did not come by Moses or the law]
Acts 13:43 Now when the congregation was broken up, many of the Jews and religious proselytes followed Paul and Barnabas: who, speaking to them, persuaded them to continue in the grace of God.
Acts 14:3 Long time therefore abode they speaking boldly in the Lord, which gave testimony unto the word of his grace, and granted signs and wonders to be done by their hands.
Acts 14:26And thence sailed to Antioch, from whence they had been recommended to the grace of God for the work which they fulfilled.
Acts 15:11 But we believe that through the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ we shall be saved, even as they.
Acts 15:40 And Paul chose Silas, and departed, being recommended by the brethren unto the grace of God.
Acts 18:27 And when he was disposed to pass into Achaia, the brethren wrote, exhorting the disciples to receive him: who, when he was come, helped them much which had believed through grace:
Acts 20:24 But none of these things move me, neither count I my life dear unto myself, so that I might finish my course with joy, and the ministry, which I have received of the Lord Jesus, to testify the gospel of the grace of God.
[ The gospel is about grace]
Acts 20:32 And now, brethren, I commend you to God, and to the word of his grace, which is able to build you up, and to give you an inheritance among all them which are sanctified.
Romans 1:5 By whom we have received grace and apostleship, for obedience to the faith among all nations, for his name:
Romans 3:24 Being justified freely by his grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus:
Romans 4:4 Now to him that worketh is the reward not reckoned of grace, but of debt.
Romans 4:16 Therefore it is of faith, that it might be by grace; to the end the promise might be sure to all the seed; not to that only which is of the law, but to that also which is of the faith of Abraham; who is the father of us all,
Romans 5:2 By whom also we have access by faith into this grace wherein we stand, and rejoice in hope of the glory of God.
Romans 5:15 But not as the offence, so also is the free gift. For if through the offence of one many be dead, much more the grace of God, and the gift by grace, which is by one man, Jesus Christ, hath abounded unto many.
Romans 5:17 For if by one man's offence death reigned by one; much more they which receive abundance of grace and of the gift of righteousness shall reign in life by one, Jesus Christ.)
Romans 5:20 Moreover the law entered, that the offence might abound. But where sin abounded, grace did much more abound:
Romans 5:21 That as sin hath reigned unto death, even so might grace reign through righteousness unto eternal life by Jesus Christ our Lord.
Romans 6:1 What shall we say then? Shall we continue in sin, that grace may abound?
Romans 6:14 For sin shall not have dominion over you: for ye are not under the law, but under grace.
[For sin to have dominion, one must be under the law]
Romans 6:15 What then? shall we sin, because we are not under the law, but under grace? God forbid.
Romans 11:5 Even so then at this present time also there is a remnant according to the election of grace.
Romans 11:6 And if by grace, then is it no more of works: otherwise grace is no more grace. But if it be of works, then is it no more grace: otherwise work is no more work.
Romans 12:3 For I say, through the grace given unto me, to every man that is among you, not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think; but to think soberly, according as God hath dealt to every man the measure of faith.
Romans 12:6 Having then gifts differing according to the grace that is given to us, whether prophecy, let us prophesy according to the proportion of faith;
Romans 15:15 Nevertheless, brethren, I have written the more boldly unto you in some sort, as putting you in mind, because of the grace that is given to me of God,
1 Corinthians 1:4 I thank my God always on your behalf, for the grace of God which is given you by Jesus Christ;
1 Corinthians 3:10 According to the grace of God which is given unto me, as a wise masterbuilder, I have laid the foundation, and another buildeth thereon. But let every man take heed how he buildeth thereupon.
1 Corinthians 10:30 For if I by grace be a partaker, why am I evil spoken of for that for which I give thanks?
1 Corinthians 15:10 But by the grace of God I am what I am: and his grace which was bestowed upon me was not in vain; but I laboured more abundantly than they all: yet not I, but the grace of God which was with me.
2 Corinthians 1:12 For our rejoicing is this, the testimony of our conscience, that in simplicity and godly sincerity, not with fleshly wisdom, but by the grace of God, we have had our conversation in the world, and more abundantly to you-ward.
2 Corinthians 4:15 For all things are for your sakes, that the abundant grace might through the thanksgiving of many redound to the glory of God.
2 Corinthians 6:1 We then, as workers together with him, beseech you also that ye receive not the grace of God in vain.
2 Corinthians 8:1 Moreover, brethren, we do you to wit of the grace of God bestowed on the churches of Macedonia;
2 Corinthians 8:6 Insomuch that we desired Titus, that as he had begun, so he would also finish in you the same grace also.
2 Corinthians 8:7 Therefore, as ye abound in every thing, in faith, and utterance, and knowledge, and in all diligence, and in your love to us, see that ye abound in this grace also.
2 Corinthians 8:9 For ye know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that, though he was rich, yet for your sakes he became poor, that ye through his poverty might be rich.
2 Corinthians 8:19 And not that only, but who was also chosen of the churches to travel with us with this grace, which is administered by us to the glory of the same Lord, and declaration of your ready mind:
2 Corinthians 9:8 And God is able to make all grace abound toward you; that ye, always having all sufficiency in all things, may abound to every good work:
2 Corinthians 9:14 And by their prayer for you, which long after you for the exceeding grace of God in you.
2 Corinthians 12:9 And he said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me.
Galatians 1:6 I marvel that ye are so soon removed from him that called you into the grace of Christ unto another gospel:
[Another gospel removes you from grace?]
Galatians 1:15 But when it pleased God, who separated me from my mother's womb, and called me by his grace,
Galatians 2:9 And when James, Cephas, and John, who seemed to be pillars, perceived the grace that was given unto me, they gave to me and Barnabas the right hands of fellowship; that we should go unto the heathen, and they unto the circumcision.
Galatians 2:21 I do not frustrate the grace of God: for if righteousness come by the law, then Christ is dead in vain.
[Grace is related to righteousness and Christ's sacrifice]
Galatians 5:4 Christ is become of no effect unto you, whosoever of you are justified by the law; ye are fallen from grace.
[Scripture shows we cannot be justified by the law, therefore is this a case of trying to be justified by the law? How do we define justified / justification? ]
Ephesians 1:6 To the praise of the glory of his grace, wherein he hath made us accepted in the beloved.
[Our acceptance is related to God's grace ]
Ephesians 1:7 In whom we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of his grace;
Ephesians 2:5 Even when we were dead in sins, hath quickened us together with Christ, (by grace ye are saved;)
Ephesians 2:7 That in the ages to come he might shew the exceeding riches of his grace in his kindness toward us through Christ Jesus.
Ephesians 2:8 For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God:
Ephesians 3:2 If ye have heard of the dispensation of the grace of God which is given me to you-ward:
Ephesians 3:7 Whereof I was made a minister, according to the gift of the grace of God given unto me by the effectual working of his power.
Ephesians 3:8 Unto me, who am less than the least of all saints, is this grace given, that I should preach among the Gentiles the unsearchable riches of Christ;
Ephesians 4:7 But unto every one of us is given grace according to the measure of the gift of Christ.
Ephesians 4:29 Let no corrupt communication proceed out of your mouth, but that which is good to the use of edifying, that it may minister grace unto the hearers.
Philippians 1:7 Even as it is meet for me to think this of you all, because I have you in my heart; inasmuch as both in my bonds, and in the defence and confirmation of the gospel, ye all are partakers of my grace.
Colossians 1:6 Which is come unto you, as it is in all the world; and bringeth forth fruit, as it doth also in you, since the day ye heard of it, and knew the grace of God in truth:
2 Thessalonians 1:12 That the name of our Lord Jesus Christ may be glorified in you, and ye in him, according to the grace of our God and the Lord Jesus Christ.
2 Thessalonians 2:16 Now our Lord Jesus Christ himself, and God, even our Father, which hath loved us, and hath given us everlasting consolation and good hope through grace,
1 Timothy 1:14 And the grace of our Lord was exceeding abundant with faith and love which is in Christ Jesus.
[Grace is associated with faith and love]
2 Timothy 1:9 Who hath saved us, and called us with an holy calling, not according to our works, but according to his own purpose and grace, which was given us in Christ Jesus before the world began,
2 Timothy 2:1 Thou therefore, my son, be strong in the grace that is in Christ Jesus.
Titus 2:11 For the grace of God that bringeth salvation hath appeared to all men,
Titus 3:7 That being justified by his grace, we should be made heirs according to the hope of eternal life.
Hebrews 2:9 But we see Jesus, who was made a little lower than the angels for the suffering of death, crowned with glory and honour; that he by the grace of God should taste death for every man.
Hebrews 4:16 Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need.
Hebrews 10:29 Of how much sorer punishment, suppose ye, shall he be thought worthy, who hath trodden under foot the Son of God, and hath counted the blood of the covenant, wherewith he was sanctified, an unholy thing, and hath done despite unto the Spirit of grace?
[Could this be those who reject the new covenant that was instituted by the spilled blood of Christ; rejecting God's grace for another, earlier covenant?]
Hebrews 12:15 Looking diligently lest any man fail of the grace of God; lest any root of bitterness springing up trouble you, and thereby many be defiled;
Hebrews 12:28 Wherefore we receiving a kingdom which cannot be moved, let us have grace, whereby we may serve God acceptably with reverence and godly fear:
Hebrews 13:9 Be not carried about with divers and strange doctrines. For it is a good thing that the heart be established with grace; not with meats, which have not profited them that have been occupied therein.
James 4:6 But he giveth more grace. Wherefore he saith, God resisteth the proud, but giveth grace unto the humble.
1 Peter 1:10 Of which salvation the prophets have enquired and searched diligently, who prophesied of the grace that should come unto you:
1 Peter 1:13 Wherefore gird up the loins of your mind, be sober, and hope to the end for the grace that is to be brought unto you at the revelation of Jesus Christ;
1 Peter 3:7 Likewise, ye husbands, dwell with them according to knowledge, giving honour unto the wife, as unto the weaker vessel, and as being heirs together of the grace of life; that your prayers be not hindered.
1 Peter 4:10 As every man hath received the gift, even so minister the same one to another, as good stewards of the manifold grace of God.
1 Peter 5:5 Likewise, ye younger, submit yourselves unto the elder. Yea, all of you be subject one to another, and be clothed with humility: for God resisteth the proud, and giveth grace to the humble.
1 Peter 5:10 But the God of all grace, who hath called us unto his eternal glory by Christ Jesus, after that ye have suffered a while, make you perfect, stablish, strengthen, settle you.
1 Peter 5:12 By Silvanus, a faithful brother unto you, as I suppose, I have written briefly, exhorting, and testifying that this is the true grace of God wherein ye stand.
2 Peter 3:18 But grow in grace, and in the knowledge of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. To him be glory both now and for ever. Amen.
Jude 1:4 For there are certain men crept in unawares, who were before of old ordained to this condemnation, ungodly men, turning the grace of our God into lasciviousness, and denying the only Lord God, and our Lord Jesus Christ.
In those Scriptures where grace is the topic of discussion, we need to examine the context so as to avoid treating the text eisegetically.
Romans chapter 4
What shall we say then that Abraham our father, as pertaining to the flesh, hath found? 2For if Abraham were justified by works, he hath whereof to glory; but not before God. 3For what saith the scripture? Abraham believed God, and it was counted unto him for righteousness. 4Now to him that worketh is the reward not reckoned of grace, but of debt. 5But to him that worketh not, but believeth on him that justifieth the ungodly, his faith is counted for righteousness. 6Even as David also describeth the blessedness of the man, unto whom God imputeth righteousness without works, 7Saying, Blessed are they whose iniquities are forgiven, and whose sins are covered. 8Blessed is the man to whom the Lord will not impute sin. 9Cometh this blessedness then upon the circumcision only, or upon the uncircumcision also? for we say that faith was reckoned to Abraham for righteousness. 10How was it then reckoned? when he was in circumcision, or in uncircumcision? Not in circumcision, but in uncircumcision. 11And he received the sign of circumcision, a seal of the righteousness of the faith which he had yet being uncircumcised: that he might be the father of all them that believe, though they be not circumcised; that righteousness might be imputed unto them also: 12And the father of circumcision to them who are not of the circumcision only, but who also walk in the steps of that faith of our father Abraham, which he had being yet uncircumcised. 13For the promise, that he should be the heir of the world, was not to Abraham, or to his seed, through the law, but through the righteousness of faith. 14For if they which are of the law be heirs, faith is made void, and the promise made of none effect: 15Because the law worketh wrath: for where no law is, there is no transgression. 16Therefore it is of faith, that it might be by grace; to the end the promise might be sure to all the seed; not to that only which is of the law, but to that also which is of the faith of Abraham; who is the father of us all, 17(As it is written, I have made thee a father of many nations,) before him whom he believed, even God, who quickeneth the dead, and calleth those things which be not as though they were. 18Who against hope believed in hope, that he might become the father of many nations, according to that which was spoken, So shall thy seed be. 19And being not weak in faith, he considered not his own body now dead, when he was about an hundred years old, neither yet the deadness of Sara's womb: 20He staggered not at the promise of God through unbelief; but was strong in faith, giving glory to God; 21And being fully persuaded that, what he had promised, he was able also to perform. 22And therefore it was imputed to him for righteousness. 23Now it was not written for his sake alone, that it was imputed to him; 24But for us also, to whom it shall be imputed, if we believe on him that raised up Jesus our Lord from the dead; 25Who was delivered for our offences, and was raised again for our justification. – Romans 4:1-25
What shall we say then that Abraham our father, as pertaining to the flesh, hath found? 2For if Abraham were justified by works, he hath whereof to glory; but not before God.What is Paul saying here? That if Abraham's justification (being upright before God) were based on his own efforts, he would have something to glory in, but even so, God would be unimpressed? Is Paul stating that what God wants isn't someone who is perfect when it comes to following orders? Is there something else that God is interested in?
3For what saith the scripture? Abraham believed God, and it was counted unto him for righteousness.Why was Abraham's righteousness before God a result of Abraham's belief / faith? Why did Abraham believe God? What was Abraham's motivation?
4Now to him that worketh is the reward not reckoned of grace, but of debt. 5But to him that worketh not, but believeth on him that justifieth the ungodly, his faith is counted for righteousness.What is this reward? In this context, it is about salvation. If salvation were achievable through “work” then grace would have nothing to do with it. One would receive salvation as payment for the work done according to the terms of the agreement. What agreement? Keeping the commandments perfectly, and this idea has its evidence in what is written in Matthew chapter 19 in regards to the wealthy young man who asked Jesus what he, personally, could do in order to have eternal life. What was established there was the fact that neither this man, or any man, will ever be so justified. It is impossible for a man, given the nature he is born with, to fulfill the requirements of that law that reflects the perfection found in, and required of, God.
When his disciples heard it, they were exceedingly amazed, saying, Who then can be saved? 26But Jesus beheld them, and said unto them, With men this is impossible; but with God all things are possible. – Matthew 19:25-26In this context then, grace is related to justification, not through work or the efforts of the individual, but through faith/belief in God who, as a result of faith, justifies even the “ungodly.” A righteousness is imputed to the believer, which elsewhere is shown to be Christ's righteousness imputed to the believer, whose life becomes hid in Christ.
6Even as David also describeth the blessedness of the man, unto whom God imputeth righteousness without works, 7Saying, Blessed are they whose iniquities are forgiven, and whose sins are covered. 8Blessed is the man to whom the Lord will not impute sin.This then is the condition of one under grace; a condition where God imputes righteousness to us, and forgives our iniquities; covers our sins. There is one more aspect here that we tend to overlook: God will not impute sin to us. How often do you hear preachers/ministers make that declaration? If our lives are hidden in Christ, then wouldn't God have to impute sin to Christ in order to impute sin to us?
31Behold, the days come, saith the LORD, that I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel, and with the house of Judah: 32Not according to the covenant that I made with their fathers in the day that I took them by the hand to bring them out of the land of Egypt; which my covenant they brake, although I was an husband unto them, saith the LORD: 33But this shall be the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel; After those days, saith the LORD, I will put my law in their inward parts, and write it in their hearts; and will be their God, and they shall be my people. 34And they shall teach no more every man his neighbour, and every man his brother, saying, Know the LORD: for they shall all know me, from the least of them unto the greatest of them, saith the LORD: for I will forgive their iniquity, and I will remember their sin no more. – Jeremiah 31:31-34
9Cometh this blessedness then upon the circumcision only, or upon the uncircumcision also? for we say that faith was reckoned to Abraham for righteousness. 10How was it then reckoned? when he was in circumcision, or in uncircumcision? Not in circumcision, but in uncircumcision. 11And he received the sign of circumcision, a seal of the righteousness of the faith which he had yet being uncircumcised: that he might be the father of all them that believe, though they be not circumcised; that righteousness might be imputed unto them also: 12And the father of circumcision to them who are not of the circumcision only, but who also walk in the steps of that faith of our father Abraham, which he had being yet uncircumcised. 13For the promise, that he should be the heir of the world, was not to Abraham, or to his seed, through the law, but through the righteousness of faith. 14For if they which are of the law be heirs, faith is made void, and the promise made of none effect: 15Because the law worketh wrath: for where no law is, there is no transgression.These promises that were given to Abraham are not exclusive to those of the circumcision who later received the law. These promises, and righteousness through faith, predate that law. That law had nothing to do with righteousness through faith and these promises of inheritance. Indeed, if we attempt to claim those who are “of the law” are the sole heirs, faith is voided; vacated, and the promise becomes nothing, seeing as it can no longer be related to a promise. Why? Because the law produces wrath, and not righteousness. If the law were relevant, then these things; the promises; the righteousness by faith, cease to exist, having been supplanted by law where one has to keep the law perfectly in order to attain or acquire righteousness and salvation. Even Christ's sacrifice becomes an empty event. But if there is no law, there can be no sin. If there is no sin, there is no condemnation. If there is no condemnation. . .
O death, where is thy sting? O grave, where is thy victory? 56The sting of death is sin; and the strength of sin is the law. 57But thanks be to God, which giveth us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ. – 1 Corinthians 15:55-57Victory over what? Death, sin, and the law.
16Therefore it is of faith, that it might be by grace; to the end the promise might be sure to all the seed; not to that only which is of the law, but to that also which is of the faith of Abraham; who is the father of us all, 17(As it is written, I have made thee a father of many nations,) before him whom he believed, even God, who quickeneth the dead, and calleth those things which be not as though they were.Note how Paul switches between those of the circumcision and those of the law, showing that he is talking about the same people in this context. In contrast to these are those who are not of the circumcision, and also not of the law. Both categories have Abraham as their father in regards to faith and grace. The promise initially given to Abraham, is secure in this context outside the legalities of the law.
18Who against hope believed in hope, that he might become the father of many nations, according to that which was spoken, So shall thy seed be. 19And being not weak in faith, he considered not his own body now dead, when he was about an hundred years old, neither yet the deadness of Sara's womb: 20He staggered not at the promise of God through unbelief; but was strong in faith, giving glory to God; 21And being fully persuaded that, what he had promised, he was able also to perform. 22And therefore it was imputed to him for righteousness. 23Now it was not written for his sake alone, that it was imputed to him; 24But for us also, to whom it shall be imputed, if we believe on him that raised up Jesus our Lord from the dead; 25Who was delivered for our offences, and was raised again for our justification. – Romans 4:1-25Our faith and belief, results in our righteousness and justification – thereby coming under grace, is in regards to Jesus' sacrifice and His resurrection.
Wherefore, as by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned: 13(For until the law sin was in the world: but sin is not imputed when there is no law. – Romans 5:12-13If there was sin in the world prior to that law (“the” law), and sin is not imputed without law, then there was another law extant from creation that Adam and Eve violated. We can identify the law of faith, seeing as Adam and Eve's sin was about faithlessness, and we also see a “law” of conscience, as brought out by Paul:
For when the Gentiles, which have not the law, do by nature the things contained in the law, these, having not the law, are a law unto themselves: 15Which shew the work of the law written in their hearts, their conscience also bearing witness, and their thoughts the mean while accusing or else excusing one another;) 16In the day when God shall judge the secrets of men by Jesus Christ according to my gospel. – Romans 2:14-1614Nevertheless death reigned from Adam to Moses, even over them that had not sinned after the similitude of Adam's transgression, who is the figure of him that was to come. -- Romans 5:14
This is a time span where the law, given through Moses, did not exist. Yet sin was extant, and death reigned. Sin was not a case of everyone eating of that forbidden fruit. All sin eventually comes back to faithlessness and unbelief. Something happened to the human psyche upon their sin, and it became a part of the human condition. We are the offspring of Adam and Eve with this Adamic nature.
15But not as the offence, so also is the free gift. For if through the offence of one many be dead, much more the grace of God, and the gift by grace, which is by one man, Jesus Christ, hath abounded unto many. 16And not as it was by one that sinned, so is the gift: for the judgment was by one to condemnation, but the free gift is of many offences unto justification. 17For if by one man's offence death reigned by one; much more they which receive abundance of grace and of the gift of righteousness shall reign in life by one, Jesus Christ.) 18Therefore as by the offence of one judgment came upon all men to condemnation; even so by the righteousness of one the free gift came upon all men unto justification of life. 19For as by one man's disobedience many were made sinners, so by the obedience of one shall many be made righteous.Paul contrasts Adam and Christ as being opposites in relation to humanity. Adam began the pattern whereby all came under condemnation. Jesus set the pattern for humanity to come under the gift of grace, resulting in justification. Each one's actions led to a totally opposite result.
20Moreover the law entered, that the offence might abound. But where sin abounded, grace did much more abound: 21That as sin hath reigned unto death, even so might grace reign through righteousness unto eternal life by Jesus Christ our Lord. – Romans 5:12-21All the law did was cause the offenses to abound; to be greater in degree and severity. The law made sin “utterly sinful.” The law did not produce anything other than offenses. The law did not, and could not, produce righteousness. The law is on the opposite side of the justification/offense equation.
What shall we say then? Shall we continue in sin, that grace may abound? 2God forbid. How shall we, that are dead to sin, live any longer therein? 3Know ye not, that so many of us as were baptized into Jesus Christ were baptized into his death? 4Therefore we are buried with him by baptism into death: that like as Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life.Here and elsewhere, Paul addresses the claim made by his adversaries that he was espousing an antinomian position; a claim that Christians would sin with abandonment. It is a case of claiming the only thing preventing Christians from wholesale sin is a written code! What then of the Holy Spirit a Christian possesses? Is the Holy Spirit seen by those who claim Paul was antinomian as being of no effect?
5For if we have been planted together in the likeness of his death, we shall be also in the likeness of his resurrection: 6Knowing this, that our old man is crucified with him, that the body of sin might be destroyed, that henceforth we should not serve sin. 7For he that is dead is freed from sin. 8Now if we be dead with Christ, we believe that we shall also live with him: 9Knowing that Christ being raised from the dead dieth no more; death hath no more dominion over him. 10For in that he died, he died unto sin once: but in that he liveth, he liveth unto God. 11Likewise reckon ye also yourselves to be dead indeed unto sin, but alive unto God through Jesus Christ our Lord. 12Let not sin therefore reign in your mortal body, that ye should obey it in the lusts thereof. 13Neither yield ye 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. 14For sin shall not have dominion over you: for ye are not under the law, but under grace.Our “old man” is crucified with Christ. The Adamic nature is dead and buried; that nature that was subject to sin and law. The believer now lives a new life in Christ. The believer exists in a new state of being; a son of God whose life is tied to Christ's. In regards then to sin and Paul's observation, is sin seen as being a case of breaking a law that was added later, whose purpose was to make offenses abound? No, for there were requirements in that law that had nothing to do with lusts of one's mortal body. The Gentiles did not, through conscience, relate to things like the sabbath.
Also, the believer, having been rendered dead to sin and the law, is not left in some ethereal limbo state. The believer is in a state of grace. As a result of being in this state of grace, sin no longer has dominion. Grace has dominion. Death no longer has dominion; Grace has dominion. The law no longer has dominion; Grace has dominion.
15What then? shall we sin, because we are not under the law, but under grace? God forbid. 16Know ye not, that to whom ye yield yourselves servants to obey, his servants ye are to whom ye obey; whether of sin unto death, or of obedience unto righteousness? 17But God be thanked, that ye were the servants of sin, but ye have obeyed from the heart that form of doctrine which was delivered you. 18Being then made free from sin, ye became the servants of righteousness.The rationalization a legalist resorts to is that, in order to not sin, one must keep the law. Never mind the believer is no longer under sin or the law. But the believer here obeys from the heart. If however one insists on keeping the law in order to not sin, there are two things that negate that thinking: 1. If you are obeying the law, then you become the servant of the law. You are no longer the servant of Christ. 2. You cannot obey the law anyway, perfectly, as required. Being the servant of righteousness is about living by faith, and not law.
19I speak after the manner of men because of the infirmity of your flesh: for as ye have yielded your members servants to uncleanness and to iniquity unto iniquity; even so now yield your members servants to righteousness unto holiness. 20For when ye were the servants of sin, ye were free from righteousness. 21What fruit had ye then in those things whereof ye are now ashamed? for the end of those things is death. 22But now being made free from sin, and become servants to God, ye have your fruit unto holiness, and the end everlasting life. 23For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord. – Romans 6:1-23Legalists attempt to marry grace and law. We have examined all the relevant Scriptures and find no support for that concept. What we have found is the exact opposite. One is either under law, or under grace. One is either under the consequences of a failure to keep law, which is in sin, or one is under grace. One is either under a death penalty as a result of sin, as defined by law, or one is under grace.
One last issue to address: Legalists redefine what it means to be “under the law” in an attempt to claim Christians should be keeping the law. I would remind the reader that redefining words and terms is common method employed in deceptions.
This redefinition of what it means to be under the law is to claim it is in relation to the condemnation that normally results from the law. It is a claim we can and should keep the law, but that we do not, as a result of transgressing that law, come under the condemnation of that law. This is like saying if you are in an automobile wreck, you will walk away from it unscathed.
Do we have any Scriptural support of this claim? No. Is there any evidence to the contrary? Yes:
But when the fulness of the time was come, God sent forth his Son, made of a woman, made under the law, 5To redeem them that were under the law, that we might receive the adoption of sons. – Galatians 4:4-5Jesus was made (born) of a woman, and made (born) under the law. If we define “under the law” to mean under the condemnation of the law, then we have a case of Jesus being born condemned from birth. Sounds more like a doctrine of demons.
When we apply critical thinking to this definition that we are not under the law's condemnation, but still obligated to keep that law, what happens then, according to those proponents of this concept, should be abandon law keeping? What happens to the one who quits keeping the sabbath, for example?
What is their answer? They revert back to the claim that to sin “willfully” is to commit the unpardonable and forfeit salvation. So there is condemnation with breaking that law after all. It is but another example of the double-speak; the cognitive dissonance inherent in false belief systems. What is of importance to us is the effect on our being under grace.
Behold, I Paul say unto you, that if ye be circumcised, Christ shall profit you nothing. 3For I testify again to every man that is circumcised, that he is a debtor to do the whole law. 4Christ is become of no effect unto you, whosoever of you are justified by the law; ye are fallen from grace. – Galatians 5:2-4Circumcision brought one under the law and obligated to live by that law. It was a “covenant” law, therefore every requirement of that law had to be complied with and met. Failure to keep one point resulted in the entirety being violated. Even James attests to this:
For whosoever shall keep the whole law, and yet offend in one point, he is guilty of all. – James 2:10Being under the law means exactly what it says; being under, and therefore subject to that law.
I would attempt to impress on the legalist that the true “test” of your Christian character comes when you are confronted with a situation not covered in your never ending lists of “do this” and “don't do that” structured life. Awhile back it was popular for people to wear an arm bracelet with the initials, “WWJD” which stood for “What would Jesus do?” It was a way of trying to get people to think along the lines of the Spirit of faith and love. The legalist should wear a bracelet that says (WDTLS) instead as their guiding principle: “What does the law say?” Jesus worked on sabbaths, contrary to the letter of the law. You, the legalist, are in denial in this regard. You have been taught, and believed, that Jesus could not possibly have broken that law, for to do so is to sin, and He could not be the Savior of mankind as a result. It has been instilled into you as one of those immovable and immutable beliefs that blinds you to the reality of the True Christ and living by faith, under grace, apart from that law.
Jesus came as the Son of God and He lived a sinless life. How? By keeping that law? No. He lived a sinless life because He is God. It is His Nature to be righteous. It is our nature to be sinful.
I have an interesting analogy in this regard. When I was at Ambassador as a freshman, one of the many rules we had was that the male students were not permitted in the women's dorms without proper supervision. Yet I had a job on campus that required me to go into the women's dorms on a fairly regular basis and work unsupervised. When I mentioned this to my supervisor, he informed me, “we are not worried about you being in a women's dorm. We are concerned about these church kids going into the women's dorms.” After a bit more discussion over the matter, I understood the reasoning behind the rule and why I was “exempt” from it. They considered the church kids to be carnally minded when they show up as freshmen. I however did not come from a church family; I came from the outside and had a different perspective to begin with that was serious in nature. My motivation to be there was to learn what I believed to be God's way of life. These church kids were not necessarily there as a result of such a motivation. They knew from past experience who they could trust and not trust, and the average freshman coming from a church family was seen to have a more “carnal” nature. What is unfortunate in this regard is that they could not take this concept and apply it to their understanding of the law.
Who do you have to tell not to commit murder? Someone whose nature it is to hate another to the point they would murder. Who do you have to tell not to commit adultery? Someone who has a carnal nature that is prone to do so. Who do you have to tell not to worship idols and false gods? Someone who is likely to do so.
Works of the Law
There are those whose religion is all based on show. Jesus addressed this in regards to some Jews who would put on quite a show of their “devotion” through their actions.
Therefore when thou doest thine alms, do not sound a trumpet before thee, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and in the streets, that they may have glory of men. Verily I say unto you, They have their reward. 3But when thou doest alms, let not thy left hand know what thy right hand doeth: 4That thine alms may be in secret: and thy Father which seeth in secret himself shall reward thee openly. 5And when thou prayest, thou shalt not be as the hypocrites are: for they love to pray standing in the synagogues and in the corners of the streets, that they may be seen of men. Verily I say unto you, They have their reward. 6But thou, when thou prayest, enter into thy closet, and when thou hast shut thy door, pray to thy Father which is in secret; and thy Father which seeth in secret shall reward thee openly. – Matthew 6:2-6
All therefore whatsoever they bid you observe, that observe and do; but do not ye after their works: for they say, and do not. 4For they bind heavy burdens and grievous to be borne, and lay them on men's shoulders; but they themselves will not move them with one of their fingers. 5But all their works they do for to be seen of men: they make broad their phylacteries, and enlarge the borders of their garments, 6And love the uppermost rooms at feasts, and the chief seats in the synagogues, 7And greetings in the markets, and to be called of men, Rabbi, Rabbi. 8But be not ye called Rabbi: for one is your Master, even Christ; and all ye are brethren. 9And call no man your father upon the earth: for one is your Father, which is in heaven. 10Neither be ye called masters: for one is your Master, even Christ. – Matthew 23:3-10The sabbath is a point of bragging. It is an attempt to look righteous on the outside by observing the day. To sabbatarians, it is the true Christian distinctive. To them, those who do not keep the sabbath are the deceived and are false Christians (a negative judgment). Some of them go so far as to claim that if a “Christian” observes Sundays as a day of worship, they are worshiping the beast, and receive the mark of the beast as a result.
They point out with self-righteous indignation the practice of some churches that to call their religious leaders “father” violates the command of Christ, yet they too have “masters” over them in their churches who tell them what to do, and how to do it, while exempting themselves from even the sabbath commandment. Their members are put under the burden of tithing, contrary to the same law they claim cannot be altered even down to the strokes of the letters of the law. Such is the power of a deceptive system.
It is important that you understand; Everything on this blog is based on the current understanding of each author. Never take anyone's word for it, always prove it for yourself, it is your responsibility. You cannot ride someone else's coattail into the Kingdom. ; ) Acts 17:11