What "Law" Are Christians Under, If Not the Law of Moses?
Larry Martinez • November 26, 2020
When it comes to the new covenant the greatest thing you’ll ever experience is freedom! It’s freedom in understanding and believing that Christ has taken away all of your sins, given you new life, and set you free from guilt and condemnation.
These truths are tremendously important to understand when it comes to living under the new covenant. But one other truth that most people forget is this:
Being set free from the law and walking in God’s grace.
The new covenant is not about keeping laws in order to merit righteousness. It’s simply receiving righteousness as a gift and knowing that your salvation is only based on the finished work of the cross.
The apostle Paul spends much of his time in his epistles explaining and helping the new covenant believer understand their relationship to the law of Moses, now that they have found freedom in Christ. Paul list several things that are important to understand when it comes to our relationship to the law:
1. We are dead to the law (Gal. 2:19-21; Rom.7:);
2. We are not under law (Gal. 5:18; Rom. 6:14);
3. We are not supervised by law (Gal. 3:24-25);
4. The law is set aside (Eph. 2:14–15; Heb. 7:18-19a);
5. Christ is end of the law for us (Rom. 10:1-4)
For most people these scriptures can come as a little bit of a shock and may cause a few more questions to arise in your heart. While for others, it may lead to the question that I want to address.
Does this promote lawlessness?
This is also a question that Paul addressed in his letter to the Romans:
Romans 6:1–2 (NLT) — 1 Well then, should we keep on sinning so that God can show us more and more of his wonderful grace? 2 Of course not! Since we have died to sin, how can we continue to live in it?
It does not get any clearer than that! Just because we are under Grace does not mean we should continue to sin.
But this still does not address the overall question of lawlessness.
If the new covenant of grace is freedom from the law that would mean lawlessness is being promoted, correct?
The answer- NO!
One of the false allegations that is promoted against those who preach grace is that we are saying that no law is needed or given to us under the New Covenant.
Yes, it’s true that we are free from the law as I have stated above... but only in relationship to righteousness.
Let me explain.
As you read through the New Testament you will discover that it is filled with scriptures that let us know that no amount of law keeping will grant us right standing with God (Galatians 2:16).
Right standing with God under the new covenant is only granted by faith in Jesus Christ alone. Also, because we are under a new covenant it means that we are also under a new law:
Hebrews 7:12 (NKJV) — 12 For the priesthood being changed, of necessity there is also a change of the law.
As you read the context of Hebrews 7, you will start to understand that Jesus came from a different tribe as a priest. He was from the tribe of Judah, when most priest under the old covenant were from the tribe of Levi.
If Jesus replaced the Levitical priest hood who gave the law, then as a new priesthood under the new covenant, it would mean a new law is enforced (Please read that again and slow).
If Grace does not promote lawlessness, then what law are we under?
1 John 3:23 (NKJV) — 23 And this is His commandment: that we should believe on the name of His Son Jesus Christ and love one another, as He gave us commandment.
You see, the new covenant does not promote lawlessness, but the command NOW is to believe in Jesus Christ and love one another.
Even Jesus said his commandment was to walk in love:
John 15:12 (NKJV) — 12 This is My commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you.
Jesus also said this is how people would know we are his disciples:
John 13:35 (NKJV) — 35 By this all will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another.”
Paul said to walk in love is to fulfill the law:
Romans 13:10 (NKJV) — 10 Love does no harm to a neighbor; therefore love is the fulfillment of the law.
Yes, we are free from the law of Moses and are not basing our standing with God on how well we can keep the rules. But that does not mean we are lawless people. We actually have within our hearts the greatest law, which is love.
When you and I learn to walk in the love of God, sin will have no power over us, and we will not live a lawless life. When you walk in the love of God, you will not want to kill, steal or live in sin, because when you love somebody, you don’t desire to harm them.
One last thing I would like to address is the idea of antinomianism.
Whenever grace and freedom from the law is preached and taught, it usually comes with the idea that people who emphasize grace believe in antinomianism.
What is antinomianism?
It’s the idea that people are against the law of Moses or any law in the bible. (my simple definition. Haha!)
This is absurd and absolutely wrong!
We who preach the new covenant and Grace are not promoting antinomianism. We actually give honor to the law because the Scriptures tell us the law is holy and good.
Romans 7:12 (NKJV) — 12 Therefore the law is holy, and the commandment holy and just and good.
The problem is none of us can live up to the standards of the law in order to gain right standing with God. Paul makes this clear:
Galatians 2:16 (NKJV) — 16 knowing that a man is not justified by the works of the law but by faith in Jesus Christ, even we have believed in Christ Jesus, that we might be justified by faith in Christ and not by the works of the law; for by the works of the law no flesh shall be justified.
So, in summary, we are free from the old covenant law of Moses to live under the new covenant of grace, and the new commandment is to love and believe. This also proves that the grace message does not promote or believe in antinomianism.
You’re not lawless - you are filled with grace and love!