Taken from a message preached in August 2015
Today there is a lot of emphasis on a little verse from Romans 6:14b, which says that "...we are not under the law but grace." And the implications that many are deriving from this little verse is that the New Covenant (or Grace) excuses sin.
This verse is being distorted to mean that sin is no longer sin. After all, sin is the transgression of the law, therefore, if we are not under the law, then we can not be charged with sin.
*For example, you can't break the speed limit if there is no speed limit. You could drive 120 mph, but can't be charged with a crime, because there is no law concerning speed limit.
This is the question that we hope to clarify today:
Are we under the law or not?
Let us first understand this: The Gentiles were never under the law. In fact, this is what separated the Jew and Gentile. The Law of Moses partitioned the Jew from the Gentile.
The Jews were under the law with its 613 regulations (which I have never taken the time to count). Do you realize that the more rules and regulations there are, the greater your chances of breaking them. (In Singapore you could be fined for spitting gum on the sidewalk.)
Paul makes that quite clear to the Romans. The Roman church was quite equally divided: half Jew, half Gentile.
This is easy to be seen in Peter, as he is not clear about the Gentile connection... eating with the Gentiles, or struggling with the dietary laws of a religion that was passé - that ceased at the cross.
Paul later compares the death of a spouse to a covenant that was now defunct –
The covenant is now over; you are free to be married to another. In other words, you are freed from the Old Covenant – the Law of Moses... and now you no longer have to feel guilty being joined to another. (The former commitments are severed.) You can now fully embrace the New Covenant of Christ.
Do you see the problem here? The Jews were trying to live under both covenants. And to compound the situation, you have believing Jews who were trying to impose the Law of Moses upon the Gentiles, saying they could not be saved unless they were circumcised: Acts 15:1, 5 - "And certain men which came down from Judaea taught the brethren, and said, Except ye be circumcised after the manner of Moses, ye cannot be saved..."But there rose up certain of the sect of the Pharisees which believed, saying, That it was needful to circumcise them, and to command them to keep the law of Moses."
This certain sect later became know as the Judaizers. These Judaizers almost crippled the church in Galatia, and these were the false apostles that Paul alludes to in 2 Corinthians.
The Jewish believers had a very difficult time trying to separate from the Law of Moses. This is why Paul's emphasis on: "We're not under the Law..." was uniquely directed to Jews who were still attached to the Law of Moses.
Here is another scenario: Paul comes to Jerusalem in Acts 21:19-21: "And when he had saluted them, he declared particularly what things God had wrought among the Gentiles by his ministry. And when they heard it, they glorified the Lord, and said unto him, Thou seest, brother, how many thousands of Jews there are which believe; and they are all zealous of the law: And they are informed of thee, that thou teachest all the Jews which are among the Gentiles to forsake Moses, saying that they ought not to circumcise their children, neither to walk after the customs."
This is exactly what Paul was emphasizing to Christian Jews: "We're not under the law..." – The Law of Moses! And, also to the Gentile believers that were being seduced into believing that they needed to adhere to the Law of Moses to be saved.
Now I want us to notice how Paul differentiates between those who know the law, and those who do not know the law – a few verses:
*Gentiles to be judged by the law of conscience
The whole point of this exercise is to interpret what Paul was really saying when he said: "We're not under the law, but grace..." Paul was showing the Jewish believers and the seduced Gentiles that we are not saved by the Law of Moses with all of its 613 regulations, but we are saved by Grace!
This was Paul's main message to the church in Galatia. The Galatians were being seduced by the Judaizers, who were saying that we must be circumcised and keep the Law of Moses to be saved:
Ok, if you want to live under the Old Covenant Law, then Christ shall not profit you – the New Covenant shall not profit you... The New Covenant that says: I will put my Spirit within you and cause you...
The law minus Christ cannot save you; and if you want to earn your salvation by trying to keep the Law with its 613 regulations, then you will be judged by that law. i.e. Someone touches the unclean – they are unclean...you happen to touch them, you are unclean...
Grace offers forgiveness without works!
Grace enables us to walk in the Spirit and fulfill the righteousness of Christ.
Much of today's message of not being under the law is promoting a message of lawlessness. No, we're not under the Law of Moses; we are espoused to Christ, and if we love Him, we keep His commandments!
This is the disturbing thing; Much of this message of "Not being under the law" is essentially saying that no matter what we do, God loves us and that we have not done anything wrong because sin is the transgression of the law and we're not under the law.
True Grace enables us imitate our Master, and His commandments are not grievous.
*Righteousness is the keeping of the commandments.
Anyone that can discern the secret satan will point out one notable characteristic – the evil-one is an anarchist (anti-law) – a law breaker from the beginning. (The evil-one is the antithesis of Christ – who keeps His Father's commandments.)
Not only was the evil one a lawbreaker from the beginning, but his first appearance in the Garden of Eden as the serpent was to get man to break the one commandment that was given.
And thus are his minions (his ministers) even today: there message is a message of false grace: "We're not under the law, but grace..."
His ministers do not have to:
All the false minister has to do is preach a message that makes people feel comfortable about sin – that tolerates sin... God loves you no matter what...nothing can separate you from the love of God...there is therefore now no condemnation...
Are we getting the picture? The true interpretation to Romans 6:14, was uniquely to the Jewish believers who were still attached to the Old Covenant Law of Moses.