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Sunday, August 30, 2015

Law and Grace: Romans 6:14

Romans 6:14

Romans 6:14 KJV  For sin shall not have dominion over you: for ye are not under the law, but under grace.

What does Paul mean by “sin shall not have dominion over you” and “you are not under the law, but under grace?

Can one justify their sin by saying, “We are no longer under the law, but under grace”?

Does this mean to continue our favorite sins because we are saved by grace, are under grace, and do not abide by the law because it no longer has dominion over us?  To understand the definitions of law and grace, one must understand the legal Biblical meanings of the terms.

Within the laws given to the Hebrews (Israelites) through Moses were laws pertaining to certain criminal activity.  As an example, if a man stole a sheep from another man he was brought before the court and placed under the law to reimburse the stolen sheep with two sheep of the same quality.  If the thief was unable to reimburse the victim then he was sold as a slave until the debt with a value of two sheep had been paid. When the debt had been satisfactorily settled then the thief was free to go about his usual business and was not under parole.

The thievery of the thief put him under the legal aspects of the law i.e. he was “under the law” and his crime demanded a payment be made to the victim.  When his debt had been paid by his own slave labor then he was “under grace” or free from the legal aspects of the thievery law.  If he then decided to steal another sheep, he was no longer under grace but again, under the law and must repay his debt for a second time.

There was another legal aspect called the “near kinsman” corollary (my word, not one from the Bible).  A person of near kin, not a stranger, could pay the debt for the thief to liberate him from the slavery debt of becoming the property of someone not of his family.  However the thief was still required to pay the debt to the near kinsman – no debt could go unpaid.  All individuals, from the beginning of the world, have a sin debt to God which no one is capable of repaying.  To the unsaved, you would now be a slave to the “god of this world” and the slavery never stops.  The Israelites were instructed by Moses to kill an animal, notably a sheep, and pour its blood under the altar onto the ground as a temporary payment for a sin against God.  Regardless of the feelings of the modern day Jews this system of temporary debt payment no longer works as an  interim solution after the death and resurrection of the Messiah.

The world was in need of a near kinsman to pay our sin debt balance that is owed to God due to our sin.  Jesus, the ultimate Lamb of God, poured out His blood onto the ground to pay the sin debt of every person, both past, present, and future, and gave atonement to those willing to acknowledge Him as the King of the Kingdom and the King of their lives.  The blood of the Lamb atones for our sin by grace so that it will not have dominion over us.  The Kingdom subjects are now servants of God, rather than the “god of this world”, and do His bidding (voluntarily with contentment and pleasure) until the end of all ages.  As a servant of God we are now under grace in that our past sins will not require payment.  A true servant of God does not desire to incur a future debt of sin, because that is not the will of the King.  Future sins may require stripes (a maximum of 40) which is symbolic of trials and tribulations in this life or discipline (although some would probably benefit from a beating). 

Hebrews 12:6 NET  "For the Lord disciplines the one he loves and chastises every son he accepts."

Therefore, does grace equal “not obeying the law” or compensate for law breaking?  No.  A person under the law is always convicted by the law.  Although not convicted by the law but obeying the law leads to a more productive and comfortable lifestyle, because not following the law will lead to serious issues at some point – either in this life or in the second resurrection (which will be discussed in a later post).  Grace is not being under the judgment or dominion of old sins.  New sins most likely will occur and they will require repentance to relinquish as grace.

Dominion     Concerning the word “dominion”. 
Word Study Dictionary:  Dominion:  urieúō;, lord, master. To have or exercise rule or authority over, lord over.  Spoken of things as exercising mastery over us

A person attempting to keep the law has to be constantly concerned regarding their actions if they break the law (which they will quickly do).  The law has to become a constant issue and it will have dominion over them.  To a righteous person the law is written on their hearts by the Holy Spirit and that person will be aware if a proposed or past action is not pleasing to God.  The law, therefore, does not have dominion over them because it is a part of their daily living under the guide of the Holy Spirit.  Being under the grace of salvation means we are the servants or slaves of God – God desires that we not break the law and that must be our primary and most important goal.  Salvation of grace also means the “god of this world” will no longer have dominion over you due to a balance sheet of sin debt (or breaking the law).

Psalms 19:13 NET  Moreover, keep me from committing flagrant sins; do not allow such sins to control me. Then I will be blameless, and innocent of blatant rebellion.

Chuck Smith Commentary Quote:  Every man is ruled. No man is supreme; no man is master of his fate or captain of his soul. We are all governed by an outside power. We are governed either by the power of God or by the power of Satan, and it is your choice. You can choose to be governed by God, or you can choose to live after Satan's authority (as a debt slave). You can choose to live like the devil, or you can choose to live like God. But whoever you yield yourselves as servants to obey, his servants you become.

Warren Wiersbe Commentary Quote:  It is because of God’s grace that we yield ourselves to Him. Paul has proved that we are not saved by the Law and that we do not live under the Law. The fact that we are saved by grace does not give us an excuse to sin; but it does give us a reason to obey. Sin and Law go together. “The sting of death is sin; and the strength of sin is the Law” (1Co_15:56). Since we are not under Law, but under grace, sin is robbed of its strength.

Believer’s Bible Commentary Quote:  Those who are afraid of grace insist that it gives license for sinning. Paul meets this error head-on by asking the question, then flatly denying it. We are free from the law but not lawless. Grace means freedom to serve the Lord, not to sin against Him.
In 6:1 the question was, “Shall we continue in sin?” Here the question is, “Shall we sin just a little?” The answer in both cases is a horrified “Certainly not!” God cannot condone any sin at all.

Some things have changed from the Old Covenant to the New Covenant but only in appearance and type.  There is now a blood sacrifice, but only one, through Jesus the true Lamb of God. There is now a New Testament temple – every believer is the temple of God. We continue to have a priesthood – Jesus is our High Priest before God.  Believers are also priests because we can freely come before God to plead our case and repent for forgiveness.  The judgments of the law are corrective and remedial. They are designed to bring about true forgiveness, not a perpetual state of unforgiveness.

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