(Article for publication week of September 12, AD 2013)
“For sin shall not have dominion over you: for ye are not under the law, but under grace” (Roman 6:14).
For several weeks we have been exposing false profession from Matthew 7:21-23. One of the indictments our Lord will bring against false professors at the Day of Judgment will be that they are, in spite of their profession, “lawless” (workers of iniquity). Lost men, whether professors of Christ or not, are, after all “lawless;” they have no regard for the law of God.
Sadly, we see this attitude toward the law of God prevalent amongst professed believers all around us. How often do we hear church members, and even preachers parrot, “we are not under the law; we are under grace.” I had a preacher parrot this to me just recently. This is a blatant example of the lawlessness our Lord describes in Matthew 7:21-23. It is an example of men wresting the scriptures to their own destruction.
So what does the inspired word mean when it says in Romans 6:14 “ye are not under the law, but under grace.” Does this text say that a believer in Christ is free to ignore the law of God since he is saved by grace? A million times “NO”! This text in no way even suggests, nor implies, much less commands that a believer reject the law of God as his rule of life. The context in which it is given, and the whole of scripture will not allow such an interpretation as the antinomians try to give for this verse.
First of all, this statement is made in the context of Paul’s defense of free grace from charges of antinomianism. In Romans 3:21- 5:21, Paul proves wonderfully that salvation is by grace alone, through faith alone, in Christ Alone, concluding with the glorious declaration that “where sin abounded, grace did much more abound.” Then Chapter 6 opens with “shall we continue in sin that grace may abound?” The answer is,”God forbid”! Paul’s whole point in chapter 6 is that being saved by grace frees a man from the “dominion of sin.” He is not under the dominion of sin because he is freely justified by imputed righteousness, and he is being sanctified by the Holy Spirit indwelling him. A believer is not under the law for his justification, so he is not under the condemnation of the law. The happy result of this is that he is no longer under the dominion of sin. A believer is “not under law” in these two senses: 1) he is not under the law as a covenant of works to be saved by it; and 2) he is not under the condemnation of the law, because Christ has answered all the just claims of the law for the believer.
Our Lord Himself has forever answered every lawless one in Matthew 5:17 when He said, ‘think not that I am come to destroy the law, or the prophets: I am not come to destroy, but to fulfill.” The Apostle Paul dealt a deathblow to antinomianism in Romans 3:31, when he was inspired to write, “Do we then make void the law through faith? God forbid: yea, we establish the law.”
I call upon all my readers, both professors of religion, and non- professors to repent of all your lawlessness in action and attitude and flee to Christ, the Only Saviour of the lawless. May the Lord spare you before it is too late.