Friday’s section of this week’s Sabbath School lesson asks,
“What do you say to those who claim that because of the grace of Christ, they are free from the law? What do they often really mean by that, and how would you answer them?”
I have heard Christians tell me not to worry about keeping the law because we are no longer under the law. We are under grace. Funny thing is, they only tell me that when it comes to Sabbath keeping. They never tell me I am free to kill or steal. Just free to break the Sabbath. Some people say the ten commandments should be posted in our schools and courthouses, and then the moment you mention the Sabbath, they turn around and tell you the commandments were done away with.
Let’s take a look at that motif in its context.
For sin shall not have dominion over you, for you are not under law but under grace. Romans 6:14 NKJV
The context here, tells us it is sin that we are free from. 1 John 3:4 tells us that …
…sin is the transgression of the law.
So grace frees us from sin so we can keep God’s law. Therefore we are no longer under the condemnation of the law.
Let’s suppose that I am driving 160 KPH down a highway where there is no speed limit. An officer pulls me over and says, “You were going 160 KPH. I was thinking of giving you a ticket but I will just let you go.” Would that be grace? No! There was no speed limit. So what would I need his grace for? If there is no law I don’t need grace. I can’t break a law that is not there. The fact that we need grace tells me there is still a law. My electric company gives me a ten-day grace period to pay my bill after the due date. A grace period would mean nothing without a due date, and God’s grace would mean nothing without a law.
Let’s now suppose I am driving down a highway where there is indeed a speed limit of 80 KPH. I am driving the speed limit. Can an officer pull me over and give me a speeding ticket? No. Why? Because I am in harmony with the law and not under the officer’s condemnation. This is what Paul is talking about when he says we are not under the law but under grace. He makes this clear in the following passage.
What then? Shall we sin because we are not under law but under grace? Certainly not! Do you not know that to whom you present yourselves slaves to obey, you are that one’s slaves whom you obey, whether of sin leading to death, or of obedience leading to righteousness? But God be thanked that though you were slaves of sin, yet you obeyed from the heart that form of doctrine to which you were delivered. And having been set free from sin, you became slaves of righteousness. Romans 6:15-18 NKJV
God’s grace keeps me in harmony with the law, so I don’t fall under its condemnation.