Occasionally, someone challenges me when I teach that under the New Covenant, Christians are not obligated to keep the 10 Commandments. I appreciate their honesty and prefer that response, rather than automatically dismissing what Grace Life International and I teach. It provides an opportunity for dialogue so we can reason together with Scripture. Here are a few of the challenges I have received and my responses using Scripture.
- Christians need the Law to show us our sins.
- The Law helps Christians sin less.
- The Law can’t save us, but we need the Law to sanctify us.
We Died to the Law
The moment you die you will no longer have to pay taxes because your death frees you from the tax law. In the same way, when your old nature died with Christ on the cross, you were freed from the Old Covenant Law so that your new nature could be united to Christ instead. “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.” Romans 7:4 (NIV) Having Jesus is so much better than having the Law!
The Law Was a Shadow
When I come home late at night from speaking, sometimes my wife sees my shadow first. If she gets on the floor to hug my shadow, I am calling 911! The shadow tells her I am coming in. The Law was a shadow according to Hebrews 10:1, telling us that Jesus was coming. “The law is only a shadow of the good things that are coming…” (NIV) Don’t hug the shadow. Hug Jesus!
The Law Is Not For Righteous People
The only righteous people in the world are those in Christ. (2 Corinthians 5:21) As a consequence, we don’t need the Law. “We also know that the law is made not for the righteous…” (1 Timothy 1:9)
The Law’s Purpose
- To Show Unbelievers their Sins “Therefore no one will be declared righteous in God’s sight by the works of the law; rather, through the law we become conscious of our sin.” (Romans 5:20 NIV)
- To Prepare Unbelievers for Salvation “Therefore the Law has become our tutor to lead us to Christ, so that we may be justified by faith. But now that faith has come, we are no longer under a tutor.”(Galatians 3:24-25 NASB)
The Law Cannot Sanctify Us
To sanctify means to grow spiritually. For those who say the Law is not needed to justify us, but it is needed to sanctify us, meditate on this verse written for believers. “For sin shall no longer be your master, because you are not under the law, but under grace.” (Romans 6:14 NIV) To deepen its meaning, let’s read it backward. “For sin shall be your master, because you are not under grace but under law”. Spiritual growth is a result of living under grace, not law!
The Law Provides No Power to Live a Righteous Life
Many don’t realize Paul was writing about how he came to the end of himself by using the law to try to live a righteous life in Romans 7:15-25. That is why he said in verse fifteen, “I don’t really understand myself, for I want to do what is right, but I don’t do it. Instead, I do what I hate.” What we see in our counseling at GLI is that victory over sin for Christians increases dramatically when they live by grace instead of the Law!
Our identity in Christ, empowered by the Holy Spirit has replaced the Law. (Hebrews 10:16, Romans 7:6) All of the New Covenant in Scripture exhorts us to understand this and to live in a way consistent with it. This is how we live an “inside out life” by faith, which pleases God.
Live Free in Christ!
Mark Maulding, President and Founder