Not under law but grace

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

Why is it the fact that being under grace instead of law has the effect that sin no longer has dominion over us?

Because, as Paul makes so clear in chapter 1 of Romans, sin is the consequence of our rebellion against God and our refusal to worship Him as God. We are “given over” to sin as a consequence. So far from being able to work our way out from under the covenant of law, the very sins we commit, part of the consequence for Adam’s rejection of that covenant, continue to condemn us under the terms of that covenant, resulting in more punishment, which includes more sin. So it’s hopeless.

We recognize then that grace, forgiveness in the blood of Jesus Christ, is the only way to get out from under that. And part of the result then of accepting the grace of Jesus Christ is that we will be released from the penalty of the covenant of Law, which means that sin will have no more dominion over us.

The believer continues to struggle with sin all of his life, as he realizes and lays hold of the effects of this salvation. The Holy Spirit applies the results of this salvation to us and the result is sanctification. Sin no longer has dominion over us.

And this shows the great foolishness of any that would say that the doctrine of justification by faith alone results in more sin; that statement demonstrates a complete failure to understand what sin is. On the contrary, any attempt to accomplish righteousness by works will result in more sin, since trying to accomplish righteousness by works is to operate according to the covenant of works, which requires perfection. And the failure to keep the covenant of works results in the penalty of that covenant being applied, part of which is being given over to vile affections.

Paul goes on to make this point in Romans 6. We are the servants of whom we obey, either of righteousness unto life, or of sin unto death. Being bought out of the covenant relationship of law, we are freed from obedience to that cruel taskmaster, which because of our failure would have destroyed us in sin and death. We are now bought into the relationship of grace, enabling us to begin to live righteously as we move toward eternal life in that covenant, which is characterized by perfect righteousness. Obeying our new master, grace and forgiveness, results in righteousness and life.

3 thoughts on “Not under law but grace

  1. Matt,

    Amen. Justification by faith alone is a profoundly wonderful doctrine, freeing us from bondage to guilt. Yet sanctification is the intended result, for we have been translated from the Kingdom of Darkness into the Kingdom of His well beloved Son, that we might bring forth His praises and do the works that were prepared beforehand by our gracious, sovereign Lord. We were justified in order that we might be conformed to the image of Christ. To miss that is to miss everything. To miss that is to see salvation as simply fire insurance. To escape the eternal flames is good, of course, but that is just the beginning.

    Peace to you,


  2. Matt,

    I have 2 questions. Do you know if those christians that don’t believe in covenental theology believe that God’s grace existed prior to Jesus dying on the cross? Now I understand that God has always shown grace to his people, but for some reason, I think the armenian pulpit i listened to growing up denied God’s grace until after the resurrection.

    Next question. While I believe in a triune God because the bible says it, I’m not sure I’ve ever been able to get a real good handle on it with my mind. I’ve heard the egg analogy and the apple analogy, but it all falls apart when you analyze the analogies closely. The bible said that man was made in God’s image. Can we reverse engineer man to understand the trinity? Is there a model of the trinity within man?

    Thanks for any help.

  3. Jason,
    Sorry for the delay on this. I meant to answer and then I forgot about it.

    First, there are a great many different positions on that so it’s difficult to generalize. Many, however, who deny covenant theology will profess that God was certainly gracious to His people before Christ’s coming, but that His grace was very limited, not extending to actually forgiving their sins and granting them salvation. They would see it more as just forbearance, that God “puts up” with them to some limited degree until Christ comes. They often have the OT saints then perhaps in hell or perhaps in some kind of “limbo” or holding area until Christ comes and rescues them.

    Secondly, I don’t believe there is a model of the trinity in creation at all. Man is in the image of God but I don’t see any respect in which this extends to the Trinity. The Trinity is an utterly unique reality without any real analogue in the created reality at all. And so we have to simply limit ourselves to what the Scriptures tell us about the Trinity in order to be accurate about it- there is clearly only one God, yet there are three different persons who are all called God. Things are said about each of these three that could only be said about God. Yet each one is aware that they are not the other, and they talk to each other. This is the foundation of the Trinitarian doctrine.

    Hope this helps,


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