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. This blog helps me think. I love Andrew Murray but I am curious what your thoughts are on his Keswickian background?

    In the school of Christ,
    scott

  2. Romans 8:1-2 (KJV) There is therefore now no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus, who do not walk according to the flesh, but according to the Spirit. 2 For the Law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has set me free from the law of sin and death.

    True, we are free in Christ, but the new (per)versions of the Bible omit the last part of Romans 8:1 (who do not walk according to the flesh, but according to the Spirit.). This has made many Christians think that once they are saved, that they have cart blanche to do whatever they want. All I can say is be very careful. Read a version of the bible that is based on the Texus Receptus and Masoric texts. There is a lot to read on this topic online. I would suggest prayerful searching for God’s true Word. This (http://av1611.com/kjbp/charts.html) is a good place to start.

    Garth

  3. Garth, thanks for your comments. This is not the place to get into a debate on the relative merits of the Textus Receptus vs an eclectic text. Suffice it to say that the bible (even the eclectic texts) teach clearly that (if I may be allowed to paraphrase you), “once we are saved, we have the freedom to do whatever Christ wants”. That’s what being free from the law of sin and death actually means.

    I’m not sure the TR insertion into Romans 8:1 is that helpful. Once saved, always saved, therefore there is no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus, regardless of how they are walking. Of course, verse 2 makes it clear that those who are in Christ Jesus will be walking in his way. Those who are not walking in his way are demonstrating that they are not free from the law of sin and death, that they are therefore not in Christ Jesus, and that therefore they are still under condemnation.

  4. Debra Davis says:

    Thank you so much for your “That’s My King” video. My church used a version of it.

    I have one question for now. In viewing your “hats,” why are you non-charismatic?

    Thanks for answering-

    Debra Davis

  5. Debra,

    I’m a “non-charismatic” in that I don’t you can separate out some of God’s gifts to us and call the “spiritual gifts” as if other gifts of God are not spiritual. I do believe that God give gifts directly to his church (Ephesians 4:11-13), and to individuals that they might support the church (1 Corinthians 12-14). But I don’t believe spiritual gifts are more important than (for example) spiritual fruit (see Ephesians 5), and spiritual character (1 Corinthians 13).

    I also think that most charismatics have mis-understood many of the spiritual gifts, particularly the gift of tongues. I prefer to describe myself not as a charismatic, nor as a cessationist, but as a continuationist. Spiritual gifts are still given today, but they are not the most important thing. I know many charismatics would agree with that, so I’m not trying to pick a fight!

  6. After reading Isaiah 65 I have a hard time nullifying the word of the father. I believe we’re free from the penalty of sin (Romans 3:24) but we will be judged by the law (Romans 2:12). Yahshua said ” Do not think I came to abolish the law or the prophets but to fulfill them. I tell you the truth not the smallest letter, not the least stroke of the pen, will by any means disappear from the law until everthing is accomplished.” Matthew 5:17-18 He did fulfill prophecy and the portion of the law that spoke of him but the law has to finish being completed.
    Again look at the rich man Mark 10:17-21 The rich man said “Good teacher. What must I do to inherit eternal life?” Yahshua replied ” Why do you call me good? No one is good except YHWH alone. YOU KNOW THE COMMANDMENTS,……..” The man replied “Teacher. All these I have kept since I was a boy” Yahshua looked at him and LOVED HIM! Yahshua said ” One thing you lack. Go, sell everything you have and give to the poor, and you’ll have treasure in heaven. Then come follow me.” So why did Yahshua love him? It was because the man kept YHWH’s commands but to be perfect to also follow him. Another thing to think about is 2 Peter 3:15 where Peter is warning against men who distort Pauls teachings to be lawless. Now I’m not a highly educated man and I don’t want to teach you things to lead anyone astray so judge for yourself. Paul even said “I’m not free from YHWH’s law but under Christ’s law”. I have alot more on this and if anyone is willing to teach me something “from scripture” or wish to talk about scripture,please email at [email protected]

  7. Dunnowhat2use says:

    So you are trying to tell me we are free from something that is

    1.
    The Law blesses (obey) and curses (disobey).
    (Deut 11:26-27)(Ps 112:1)(Ps 119:1-2)(Ps 128:1)(Prov 8:32)(Is 56:2)(Mat 5:6)(Mat 5:10)(Luke11:28)(Jam 1:25)(1 Pe 3:14)(Rev 22:14)

    2.
    The Law defines sin.
    (Jer 44:23)(Ez 18:21)(Dan 9:11)(Ro 3:20)(Ro 7:7)(1 Jo 3:4)

    3.
    The Law is perfect.
    (Ps 19:7)(Jam 1:25)

    4.
    The Law is liberty.
    (Ps 119:45)(Jam 1:25, 2:12)

    5.
    The Law is the way.
    (Ex 18:20)(Deut 10:12)(Josh 22:5)(1 King 2:3)(Ps 119:1)(Prov 6:23)(Is 2:3)(Mal 2:8)(Mark 12:14)(Ac24:14)

    6.
    The Law is the truth.
    (Ps 119:142)(Mal 2:6)(Ro 2:20)(Gal 5:7)(Ps 43:2-4)(Jo 8:31-32)

    7.
    The Law is life.(Job 33:30)(Ps 36:9)(Prov 6:23)(Rev 22:14)
    8.
    The Law is light.(Job 24:13)(Job 29:3)(Ps 36:9)(Ps 43:2-4)(Ps 119:105)(Prov 6:23)(Is 2:5) (Is 8:20)(Is 51:4)(2 Cor 6:14)(1John 1:7)
    9.
    The Law is Jesus, the Word made flesh.(PERFECT-LIBERTY-WAY-TRUTH-LIFE-LIGHT).
    (Ps 27:1)(Jo 1:1-14)(Jo 14:5-11)(1 Jo 1:7)

    10.
    The Law is also for the Gentiles (foreigner/alien) who are grafted in.
    (Ex 12:19) (Ex 12:38) (Ex 12:49) (Lev 19:34) (Lev 24:22) (Num 9:14) (Num 15:15-16) (Num 15:29) (ie:Ruth) (Is 42:6) (Is 60:3) (Mat 5:14) (Eph 2:10-13) (Ac 13:47) (Ro 11:16-27) (Jer31:31-34) (Ez 37) (1 Jo2:10) (1 Jo 1:7)

    11.
    The Law is God’s instructions on how to love God, how to love others, and how to not love yourself.
    (Ex 20:6)(Deut 5:10)(Deut 7:10)(Deut 11:13)(Deut 11:22)(Deut 30:16)(Deut 6:5)(Lev 19:18)(Neh1:5)(Dan 9:4)(Mat 22:35-37)(Matthew 10:39)(Mat 16:25)(Jo 14:15)(Jo 14:21)(Ro 13:9)(1 Jo 5:2-3)(2 Jo1:6)

    Remember:

    ALL
    (not some) scripture is given by inspiration of God.
    ALL
    (not some) scripture is profitable for doctrine.
    ALL
    (not some) scripture is for rebuking and correction
    ALL
    (not some) scripture is for INSTRUCTION IN RIGHTEOUSNESS
    2Ti 3:16
    All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof,for correction, forinstruction in righteousness:
    2Ti 3:17
    That the man of God may be perfect, throughly furnished unto all good works. And…
    John 1:1
    In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God
    Mal 3:6
    For I am the LORD, I change not Thus the Word can not change unless God changes.
    Pro 28:9
    “He who turns away his ear from hearing the Law, Even his prayer is an abomination.” We can not say that Paul taught against God’s law either, unless we are comfortable making the “error of the lawless” in interpreting Paul’s letters (2 Peter 3:14-17)

    I’m thinking you should read those verses in context.

    Whoever has my commands and keeps them is the one who loves me, and the one who loves me will be loved by my Father, and I will love him and reveal myself to him.” 22 Y’hudah (not the one from K’riot) said to him, “What has happened, Lord, that you are about to reveal yourself to us and not to the world?” 23 Yeshua answered him, “If someone loves me, he will keep my word; and my Father will love him, and we will come to him and make our home with him. 24 Someone who doesn’t love me doesn’t keep my words — and the word you are hearing is not my own but that of the Father who sent me.
    John 14:21-24

    I think I will choose to study in context and continue to try and follow God’s “perfect” commandments.

  8. Sherry zonker says:

    I agree and am hungry for more teachings like this!

  9. To the guy who wrote out a lot. We are free from the Law. As timothy says, the Law is not for the righteous, but for the unrighteous. To say that we need to follow the Law takes absolutely everything away from the cross. The Law is religion. The cross was an end to religion. The Law shows the unrighteous that they are sinners, however, as believers we are deemed righteous NOT BECAUSE WHAT WE DO, but we because of what Christ has done for us. We follow the Spirit. Following the Spirit does not promote sin, everyone thinks that if you say you are free from the law that you are just using that as an excuse to sin…and no that’s not what anyone is saying. We are free from the Law. The Law will, and always has, break you down. It will break you down and show you that you’re in need of savior. The Law is Holy, but the you are born a sinner. It does not take any acts to become a sinner and it does not take any acts, except grace, to become a saint. Stop Trying and Start Trusting.

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