We’re free from the Law!

I’ll be posting some thoughts on the glorious doctrine of Christian freedom in the next few days, but wanted to whet your appetite with this wonderful quote from Andrew Murray. I’ve added one tiny word for clarification in a sentence I had to read 10 times before I understood it – other than that these words have stood the test of time.


Freedom is counted in Scripture as one of the greatest privileges of the child of God. There is nothing in history for which nations have made great sacrifices except freedom. Slavery is the lowest condition into which man can sink, for in it he can no longer dispose of himself. Freedom is the deepest need of his nature.

To be free, then, is the condition in which anything can develop itself according to the law of its nature, that is, according to its disposition. Without freedom nothing can attain its destiny or become what it ought to be. This is true alike of the animal and man, of the corporeal and the spiritual. It was for this cause that God in Israel chose the redemption out of the slavery of Egypt into the glorious liberty of God’s people, as the everlasting type of redemption out of the slavery of sin into the liberty of the children of God. (Ex. 1:14; 4:23; 6:5; 20:2; Deut. 24:8)

On this account, Jesus said on earth: ‘If the Son shall make you free, ye shall be free indeed.’ And the Holy Scriptures teach us to stand fast in the freedom with which Christ made us free. A right insight into this freedom opens up to us one of the greatest glories of the life that the grace of God has prepared for us. (John 8:32,36; Gal. 4:21,31; 5:1)

In the three passages, from the Epistle to the Romans, in which sanctification is dealt with, a threefold freedom is spoken of. There is freedom from sin in the sixth chapter, freedom from the law in the seventh, freedom from the law of sin in the eighth.

There is freedom from sin (Rom. 6:7,18,22).

Sin is represented as a power that rules over man, under which he is brought and taken captive, and that urges him as a slave to evil. (John 8:34; Rom. 7:14,23; 2 Pet. 2:19)

By the death of Christ and in Christ of the believer, who is one with Him, he is made entirely free from the dominion of sin: it has no more power over him. If, then, he still does sin, it is because he, not knowing his freedom by faith, permits sin still to rule over him. But it by faith he fully accepts what the word of God thus confirms, then sin has no power over him: he overcomes it by the faith that he is made free from it. (Rom. 5:21; 6:12,14)

Then there is freedom from the law. This leads us deeper into the life of grace than freedom from sin. According to Scripture, law and sin always go together. ‘The strength of sin is the law:’ The law does nothing but make the offense greater. (Rom. 4:15; 5:13,20; 7:13; 1 Cor. 15:56)

The law is the token of our sinfulness, cannot help us against sin, but with its demand for perfect obedience gives us over hopeless to the power of sin. The Christian who does not discern that he is made free from the law will still always abide under sin. (Rom. 6:15; 7:5)

Christ and the law cannot rule over us together: in every endeavour to fulfil the law as believers, we are taken captive by sin. (Rom. 7:5,23)

The Christian must know that he is entirely free from the law, [free] from the “you must” that stands without us and over us: then for the first time shall he know what it is to be free from sin.

Then there is also freedom from the law of sin, actual liberation from the power of sin in our members. What we have in Christ, freedom from sin and from the law, is inwardly appropriated for us by the Spirit of God. ‘The law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus made me free from the law of sin and of death.’ The Holy Spirit in us takes the place of the law over us. ‘If ye are led of the Spirit, ye are not under the law.’ Freeing from the law is not anything external, but takes place according to the measure the Spirit obtains dominion in us and leads us. ‘Where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty.’ According as the law of the Spirit rules in us, we are made free from the law, from the law of sin. We are then free to do what we, as God’s children, would fain do, free to serve God. (2 Cor. 3:17; Gal. 5:18)

Free expresses a condition in which nothing hinders me from being what I would be and ought to be. In other words, free is to be able to do what I would. The power of sin over us, the power of the law against us, the power of the law of sin in us, hinder us. But he that stands in the freedom of the Holy Spirit, he that is then truly free, nothing can prevent or hinder him from being what he would be and ought to be. As it is the nature of a tree to grow upwards, and it also grows as it is free from all hindrances, so a child of God then grows to what he ought to be and shall be. And according as the Holy Spirit leads him into this freedom, there springs up the joyful consciousness of his strength for the life of faith. He joyfully shouts: ‘I can do all things in Him that strengtheneth me.’ ‘Thanks be unto God which always leadeth us in triumph in Christ.’

Son of God, anointed with the Spirit to announce freedom to the captives, make me also truly free. Let the Spirit of life in Thee, my Lord, make me free from the law of sin and of death. I am Thy ransomed one. O let me live as Thy freed one, who is hindered by nothing from serving Thee. Amen.

  1. The freedom of the Christian extends over his whole life. He is free in relation to the institutions and teachings of men. ‘Ye were bought with a price: become not bond-servants of men.’ ( 1 Cor. 7:23; Col. 2:20). He is free in relation to the world, and in the use of what God gives: he has power to possess it or to dispense with it, to enjoy it or to sacrifice it. (1 Cor. 8:8; 9:4,5)
  2. This freedom is no lawlessness. We are free from sin and the law to serve God in the Spirit. We are not under the law, but give ourselves, with free choice and in love, to Him who loved. us. (Rom. 6:18; Gal. 5:13; 1 Pet. 2:16). Not under the law, also not without law; but in the law; a new, a higher law, ‘The law of the Spirit of life,’ ‘the law of liberty,’ the law written in our hearts, is our rule and measure. (1 Cor. 9:21; Jas. 1:15; 2:12 – In this last passage the translation ought to be: ‘bound by a law to Christ.’)
  3. This freedom has its subsistence from the word and also in it: the more the word abides in me, and the truth lives in me, the freer I become. (John 8:31,32,36)
  4. Freedom manifests itself in love. I am free from the law, and from men, and from institutions, to be able now like Christ to surrender myself for others. (Rom. 14:13,21; Ga. 5:13; 6:1)
  5. This glorious liberty to serve God and our neighbour in love is a spiritual thing. We cannot by any means seize it and draw it to us. It becomes known only by a life in the Holy Spirit. ‘Where the Spirit of the Lord is there liberty.’ ‘If ye are led by the Spirit, ye are not under the law.’ It is the Holy Spirit that makes free. Let us suffer ourselves to be introduced by Him into the effectual glorious liberty of the children of God. ‘The Spirit of life in Christ Jesus freed me from the law of sin and of death.’

Taken from Andrew Murray, The New Life, chapter 49.

Comments

  1. I am all but sure that this debate has existed from the begining of the Christian age.

    Been studying this question for years. I am a former Seventh Day Adventist and have been caught in this no man’s land between the question of Law and Grace.

    In attempting to decide whether to go back to the SDA (or similar faiths) and finding a mainline “orthodox” church I have found myself stuck in this confusion, which way to go?

    I have noted that most mainline churches use a blend of grace and law. Pick and choose and they run right over their initial premises by building up a system of doctrines that contradict the first point; We are saved by Grace, through faith in Christ.

    The Catholics and Protestants both use the 10 commandments as a model, yet, feel that they can overwrite the 4th and insert Sunday as a day of rest, since afterall, they are keeping the “Spirit” of the law. I have read a dozen logic strings to this question of Sabbath vs Sunday . The thinking is all over the map. In general, when you try to establish an axiom or rule of logic in any paticular teaching in scripture, you will find that there are modifiers in other places of scripture that undo or exempt that rule of thought. Thus, everyone starts building a belief system on who ever can make the best sense of it in a presentation and we call that a religion.

    One side makes a case and leaves out huge modifiers, the other side makes their case and they too leave out the other sides points of view or they reinterpret them to mean other things.

    Most of what the Apostle Paul wrote was in essense the foundation of what we call Christianity today. Then why the confusion? Because even St. Paul spoke both pointedly and globally when he expressed his teachings about the law. In one place he leads us away from the law, in another , he takes us full circle back to it. Like a yo yo. You can’t lock on to either position because it is simply not that black and white. This then begs the question, is it perhaps both positions?
    Some say absolutely not. They will cite a paticular definitive verse to prove it.
    Then point counter point ensues and when you are done, you are left so confused , you are not able to convince anyone of anything , much less your own convictions about the law.

    I have tried to read the NT, esp Galatians and Romans in a wholistic way. Contexually minded.
    When read that way, I am inclined to believe that we are no longer proceeding from a law basis, but rather a intuitively Spiritual and moral basis in the key of love. Also, we are not checklisting and doing works of the law for the sake of law, eg: Sabbath observance, rather, we are to live relationally towards God and others in simple Love.

    Jim

    • George Lowry says:

      Hi,All this craziness is unnecessary,and people don’t understand truth because the devil is a lie from the start ,and keeping people blinded,,,the truth that sets you free is Jesus and him crucified,,All is and was finished at the Cross,,so all we need is clear revelation of Jesus and the work of that Cross,,,As far as the sabbath,this is not about a certain day,,at the finished work of the Cross we who believe in Jesus as savior enter a sabbath rest,,,this is not a day,but a 24-7 rest,,,That is how we walk in the Spirit ,in this rest and assurance of our eternal destiny,not being swayed by this world or man,,,,And as far as being free from the law—we are free– and I have yet to hear–after over 10,000 sermons and many years– this clearly explained—the answer is in Romans 7….In Romans 6 we are free from sin,,and in Romans 7 we are free from law,,and how this is done is that we die,,the law doesn’t apply to a dead person !!!!! when Christ died,we died with Him on that cross,,,so we have death of the old Adamic sin nature we where born with , then when we understand we are dead we get baptized to bury the dead person and we are raised IN CHRIST–a new creation,,,we just have to keep our eyes on Jesus and this precious truth Amen !!! And that is why we are to abide in the vie-Christ-daily,,,the minute we try do do anything fron the old flesh we are back under law,,,,Romans 8:2 is the law of liberty that overcomes the law of death,,,This is so powerful and the church in general does not understand or preach this properly,,,Denominations are another trick of the enemy—It’s all about Jesus,and we have nothing apart from His death on the Cross—Jesus is our only rightiousness ,praise His name,,,,I wish this could go around the world for all to see,,,I hope this helps some,,,,be blessed,,,,in Jesus name the name above all names !!!!! George 360-953-2184

    • Hello George I hope this finds you in the freedom that Christ has set us free. 1Cor 14:33 says God is not the author of confusion. How peaceful it would be between the children of God if all walked in the Spirit of Christ and enjoyed the freedom found only in Christ. Grace teaches us to say no to sin and our flesh. We have died with Christ so that He may lives. He has broken down the dividing line when the veil was torn in two and now all who are born again can come before the throne of grace. We can now enjoy being free from the heavy burden of the law. For none can follow the 613 commands found the old Testament. IF there were not confusion about this then everyone would be resting in Christ as their sabbath rest and we would be led and taught by the SPirit of Holiness. ANd there would be peace amongst born again believers. No! men want to drag us under the law mostly for their own profit. And pick a choose the laws we are still bound to. For if man is still under the law they are bound to sabbath and tithing and whatever other law they think would keep the church in business. And normally its those 2. And would still be under the curse of the law. They tie heavy burdens around men and women necks. Oh but most will say you must follow the law you can’t sin against the law. But the law is summed up in 2 commandments Love the Lord God and Love you neighbor as yourself. Walk by the spirit and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh.Galatians 5:22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness, self-control. Against such there is no law. 24 And those [who] [are] the Messiah’s have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. 25 We have died and your life is hidden with Christ in God. Col 3:3. If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit. True Christians will not sin on purpose. There is a new way and its by the spirit not the letter of the law. And Jesus says we cannot do both. We must die to the law and be married to Christ so that we may bring fruit to God in love. We must contend for this pure faith…not one mixed with law. Men love law because the law controls men, but we are truly free in Christ. The law is good if one uses it lawfully…to bring the lawless and condemned to Christ…yes it for the disobedient the, murder and so forth. Christ is end of the law for everyone who believes. Whoever rely’s on the works of the law are under a curse; for it is written, Cursed be everyone who does not abide by all things written in the Book of the Law and do them. You cannot be justified by the law or made righteous through the law you cannot pick and choose which laws to follow for those who want to come again under the law must keep all the law. And yes I believe that Saturday is still the true Sabbath and was a shadow of things to come, that is Christ who is our sabbath rest and this is why Christ is now the Lord of the Sabbath…..the rest is found in now in Him. I understand your struggle and I too have struggled in this way, but God in His kindness as reveled from His word the true freedom we have and how glorious it is. To be totally abandoned to Him worshiping HIm in Spirit and truth. We are conformed to the precious image of His Son Jesus glory to glory throughout faith. Freedom is a precious gift of grace!

  2. Greetings George and Sherry,

    Thank you both for your insights.
    I must confess that I get lost at times from so many facets of scripture and those questions that lead to more questions.

    As a former Seventh Day Adventist , I have not found another church in the past 8 years.
    I have visited several, but fail to make a connection and there is the issue of not being able to fit in or to concur with assorted doctrines. I have learned , there certainly is no such thing as a perfect church. Everyone , without exception is flawed in one way or another doctrine wise.
    Religion is a quandary from the start. You are correct George, it is another wedge Satan uses against us. As a SDA I was taught that other faiths have many errors and that we had it right. Other faiths have similar attitudes. But all this comes across to me as arrogance and over confidence.
    There are two main reasons I left the SDA. Oppression from legalism , (drudgery) , and the churches pro abortion tolerance and even participation of such in their hospitals. I figured , if an unborn precious child was not safe in their congregation, them neither was I. While they majored in defending the Law , they denied it by the very act of the pro abortion tolerance held by their conference. There is no way that Love can be supreme when it is possible to rationalize taking a child’s life. Their position is that it is a personal matter . What kind of leadership is that?
    On one hand they force feed guilt trips on you over every other aspect of life, yet in this area, it is a personal decision.
    That said, I blame the leadership of the church. I believe most SDA are indeed pro life.
    To this end, it would be natural for me to want to return to the SDA if their abortion stance was changed to pro life. Simply for the sake a familiarity if for no other reason.
    In most respects , SDA tend to be pragmatic and wholistic. But they do have this penchant for legalism and that in of itself is still something I struggle with.

    If I ever hope to be able to complete the transition to another fellowship with Christians, I have to settle the legalism questions and then hold fast against the winds of doctrines that buffet me into confusion and despondency.

    There are key examples that create doubts, questions and confusions.

    1 Corinthians 15:56
    New International Version (NIV)
    56 The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law.

    J: What does this mean?

    Romans 7:6
    New International Version (NIV)
    6 But now, by dying to what once bound us, we have been released from the law so that we serve in the new way of the Spirit, and not in the old way of the written code.

    J: This should settle the debate altogether. But…………….

    Galatians 3:10
    New International Version (NIV)
    10 For all who rely on the works of the law are under a curse, as it is written: “Cursed is everyone who does not continue to do everything written in the Book of the Law.”[a]

    J: Legalism ? Do this and that , so God will save us?

    Galatians 3:19
    New International Version (NIV)
    19 Why, then, was the law given at all? It was added because of transgressions until the Seed to whom the promise referred had come. The law was given through angels and entrusted to a mediator.

    J: Until ……………… What does this imply? Can it be conclusively answered?

    24 So the law was our guardian until Christ came that we might be justified by faith. 25 Now that this faith has come, we are no longer under a guardian.

    J: What does it mean , in practical terms, “no longer under”
    Subject to, controlled by, accountable to , or , does it mean no longer condemned by it, under it’s wrath or consequence, and/or , does it mean simply not under the penalty for sins past under the Old Covenant? There is scripture that kind of says that. Thus, in effect keeping us under the law going forward, the only difference is we have an Advocate now, since there was no remedy from the law under the OC. You see how it gets foggy?

    1 John 5:3
    New International Version (NIV)
    3 In fact, this is love for God: to keep his commands. And his commands are not burdensome,

    J: We all want to rest in this passage, thus setting aside other passages. Is that presumption?

    Romans 3:21
    New International Version (NIV)
    Righteousness Through Faith

    21 But now apart from the law the righteousness of God has been made known, to which the Law and the Prophets testify.

    J: and …………

    Romans 4:7
    New International Version (NIV)
    7 “Blessed are those
    whose transgressions are forgiven,
    whose sins are covered.

    J: Past present and future ?
    But what constitutes sin in the NT? NC?
    “I will write My laws upon their hearts”
    What laws, the same 10? or is it something else entirely?
    We speak of the fruits of the Spirit, I get that. But is that the same as the Laws written on our hearts.
    Or does this imply Love is written upon our hearts? I would like to conclude that, but scripture doe snot lock this notion down in the context of expressing the New Covenant. It mainly implies it.
    Other than Paul , thee rest of scripture really does not take a lot of focus on the New Covenant.

    Romans 3:31
    New International Version (NIV)
    31 Do we, then, nullify the law by this faith? Not at all! Rather, we uphold the law.

    J: Whaaa ??
    What law ? Which laws? , Uphold what? he said “LAW”.
    He said faith does not nullify the law. Instead we are to uphold it.
    Now the whole concept becomes either whimsical or legal in nature.
    Round and round I go.

    Revelation 14:12
    New International Version (NIV)
    12 This calls for patient endurance on the part of the people of God who keep his commands and remain faithful to Jesus.

    J: And there you have the conditional state of a Christian in the final days of earth.

    Faith of Jesus and the KEEP God’s commands.

    Thus , we lump all 613 commands, the 10C , and all the rest together, we insert only two and call that the answer to this passage. Love God, Love one another.
    Is it contexually honest to say the two Love commands complete this definition of keeping Gods commands?

    You see, though some may think I am playing a game of cat and mouse here. I assure you I am not.
    I come from decades of Doctrine that hammers home the law as intact and eternal.
    They teach that the new covenant is simply a new means (In Christ, Through Christ, By His Spirit) that we are enabled to keep the commands given on the tablets of stone, a new way to accomplish the same intent.

    Paul said he would not know what sin was except for the law. Thu she admits , the law defines sin.
    But he also refers to examples where there is no law yet love defines the true path.

    2Cor:6 He has made us competent as ministers of a new covenant—not of the letter but of the Spirit; for the letter kills, but the Spirit gives life.

    J: I realize I need to embrace the Spirit of the new covenant, I just do not know how to do that without presumption or beingguilty of ignoring other passages that point back to the law.
    In my human flesh, I do not want to be under any law except love. To be accepted in Christ and covered by His blood and redemption of my soul. But even in that, I cannot give him anything in myself to merit a thing expect more condemnation.
    The Bible speaks of being free from the law of sin. I do not get that. I try, but in practice, I still lust, I still over indulge, I get angry with coworkers , I do all the things that most people do.
    I am still a sinner.
    I try to love God in the only ways I know how, and yet I know it is not nearly good enough.
    Legalism creeps in to even love. I don’t know how to be free.

    Jim

    • I had the same questions trying to wrap my mind around true grace and freedom from the law. As you continue to search and pray the truth will become clear that salvation is by grace through faith and it is not of your self but a gift of God. If we start there then true salvation cannot be earned. In fact I do not know of any other religion that offers us such a complete salvation where we are totally dependent on the grace and forgiveness of another person who is Christ. Everything even our righteousness is found in the finished work of Him who died for us. It is unfathomable to man to comprehend such a gift and therefore end up mixing grace and law as the Galatians did. See it is hard in our humanness to give up the control …they say there is something I must do to be a part of this salvation, but God says no. No other religions on the face of the earth has ever thought of such a radical idea as this…that is why Christian salvation is so unique. But this salvation is not a incomplete salvation because it has to do with salvation of the whole man…body, mind and spirit and supernatural born again into a new creation experience. We have died and our life is now hidden in Christ. Our flesh that cannot follow the law needs to be reckoned dead…there is no way to redeem it, there is no way to make it do what God commands in His law. That is why we die to the law and are married to another Jesus Christ. So if someone recognizes that in his own flesh there is sin and he finds that abhorrent to himself and knowing how it separates himself from God he cries out…what must I do to be saved from this body of death? Does he keep on trying to be good even thought is fails?l Does he do all the religious things? Trying to make things right? No this person who see’s his condemnation and that he lies in the pit of darkness bound for hell….cries out to Jesus who promises to save him. He know he cannot keep the law, he knows he cannot do anything to save himself…he completely comes to the cross of Christ empty of himself, saying I am a but a sinner and Christ I need your forgiveness, your grace, your mercy. God then transfers you from the kingdom of darkness where your bound to sin, bound to the grave and transfers you into the kingdom of light and brings you to the throne of Grace where you completely made white as snow. Totally and completely forgiven. Now you are a child of God, a heir to an inheritance to great to fathom. We are also found to be under a new convent the one found in His blood. It is a covenant of grace where we now follow the law of Christ not the letter of the law. One is written on tablets, One is written on the hearts of believers. One is by works the other is by faith. In the Book of Romans we find a righteousness that comes from faith…if you walk by the spirit (love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, gentleness and self control)(against such here is no law), you will not gratify the desires of the flesh. SO we need a transformation of our minds that say….in CHrist I have been given everything for life and for godliness and so from faith to faith we are walking out in our new nature…in the power of the Holy Spirit. Do we do this perfectly? No but as we continue to say no to our flesh and yes to our new spirit and the law CHrist which says to love God with all your heart, soul Mind and strength and love others as you love yourself we will be progressively made into the image of His Son Jesus. Do we lose our salvation if we make a mistake…no because Christ has become the punishment for our sins. He covers us and is our advocate. Do we stay in our sin…no how could we who died to our flesh live in our sin any longer. No we ask for forgiveness and keep walking toward the prize…eternal life. Christ supplies us with His righteousness…it is a gift as well. Where the Spirit of the Lord is there is freedom.
      I wrote this for a blog of mine..maybe it will help.
      I appeal to you therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship. Romans 12:1
      This verse reminds me that I am not my own. That I have been bought with a price…and the price for me was that Jesus, God’s own Son had to be nailed to a cross and that the total and complete fierce wrath of God had to be placed upon His body to pay the penalty for my sin. The value of this payment is so overwhelmingly costly that nothing else except the blood of Jesus and His death could satisfy this debt. Here I was dead in my sin unable to save myself, not even knowing I needed salvation and was saved by His great mercy and grace. God quickened my spirit to see, feel and understand my sinfulness as I lay in the dark pit of destruction. I was given a precious faith to see, feel, and understand His Salvation, which is found in His resurrected life, as I was brought up from the pit of hell to the throne of grace where my heart cried out Abba Father. I was given every spiritual blessing from heaven…I was made a child of the Most High God. Given an inheritance of so much worth that it cannot be humanly estimated. I was made holy, righteous, and whole in Christ. He set me free from the chains of sin that bound me and freed me to love Him with all my heart, soul, mind, and strength. He gave me what I was not even looking for…unconditional love, acceptance, mercy, grace, forgiveness and a precious Savior that I now call my Friend. He chose me from the foundation of the world to be His forever. How wonderful this mystery of salvation that is available to all who would call on the Precious name of Jesus for their salvation. Is this the salvation you have received ? For only those who realize the value of their salvation will be able to present their bodies as living sacrifices to God. It is only those who know that they were once slaves of sin which lead to death and now as a born again child of God are slaves to obedience which leads to righteousness and life. But now that you have been set free from sin and have become slaves of God, the fruit you get leads to sanctification and its end, eternal life. Romans 6:21 Oh how glorious is the salvation of our God toward sinners. Knowing this, how can we not present our bodies to God as a living sacrifice? What does take? Also knowing that I have been crucified with Christ. Yes, it is no longer I on the throne of my life. Each day I must take up my cross and follow Jesus, dealing with the residual sin that can easily entangle me if I let it have its way. But have comfort dear ones, for Jesus was tempted as we are tempted yet He did not sin…but He does provide for us a way out of our temptations and a way from a lifestyle of sin. We must have our eye on the prize, we must not look to the right or to the left, but always forward even if we fall for a moment. Jesus will be there ready to receive you back to Him. So if you know my precious Jesus in this way I appeal to you my dear brothers and sister in Christ to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship. For those who do not know my precious Jesus in this way and you want to…cry out for His mercy, cry out for His grace, Cry out for His forgiveness, Cry out for His salvation. For everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved. Blessing’s Sherry