I have some great news for you. The New Covenant says you died on the cross with Christ to all religious rule-keeping including the law. God removed from you all obligation to obey the law in the Old Covenant and exchanged it for a love relationship with Jesus Christ through his New Covenant. Romans 7:4 says, “My brothers and sisters, you also died to the law through the body of Christ, that you might belong to another, to him who was raised from the dead, in order that we might bear fruit for God.”
Some believe our death to the law and our freedom from it applies only to our justification but not our sanctification. That is a huge stretch. If we died to the law, we died permanently to the law. Similarly, if we were released from the law as Romans 7:6 says, then we were released from the law permanently.
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.
Galatians 3:25–26 shows us this same truth:
Now that this faith has come, we are no longer under a guardian. So in Christ Jesus you are all children of God through faith.
Could this be any clearer? Once we come to faith in Jesus Christ, we don’t need the guardian any longer, meaning we don’t need the law. Do you know why? It’s because we have something much better. First, God has written the law on our hearts. Let me be clear. God did not write the Ten Commandments on our hearts. Since the Ten Commandments are based on the character of God, it means he placed his character in our hearts. This is our identity in Christ. It’s what 2 Peter 1:4 means when it says, “Through these he has given us his very great and precious promises, so that through them you may participate in the divine nature, having escaped the corruption in the world caused by evil desires.”
Second, we have the Holy Spirit in us to fill us with the life of Christ so he can live through us. The law says try harder. Grace says trust more. If you don’t believe this, you will burn out on the Christian life over and over. If you do believe this, you will learn to rest in Christ as he does the work through you more and more.
Did you know that if you go back to the Ten Commandments as a Christian, you are committing spiritual adultery? That is exactly what Romans 7:4 tells us: So, my brothers and sisters, you also died to the law through the body of Christ, that you might belong to another, to him who was raised from the dead, in order that we might bear fruit for God. Our spiritual adultery of trying to keep the law also keeps us in bondage by making Christianity a heavy, exhausting burden instead of the joyful, abundant life it is living under grace.
Have you had enough of trying to live by the Ten Commandments and religious rules? If so, it’s time to start living by the dynamic life-giving power of God’s grace, which will lead you into freedom. Here is something you can do to apply this to your life today. Do it as you are driving to or from work. Or if you are home waiting for your family to arrive. Rehearse why you have something so much better than the law to live from. Confess this out loud:
I have something amazingly better than the law or religious rules to live from today. I have my new identity in Christ. I have Jesus Christ in me to love me and to live the Christian life through me. I am going to live by grace through faith today because of these New Covenant truths.
I think you will experience a new freedom in Christ the more the Holy Spirit makes this clear to you. You will also live a holier life but it will not be a legalistic one. It will be a “graceistic” one.