Does Being Under The Covenant Of Grace Mean Christians Are To Live Without Any Form Of Law?

(All Bible quotations, except otherwise stated, are from the New Heart English Bible).

There are many Christians who despise any form of regulations in their walk with God and in their relationships with others, because they claim they’re under the covenant of grace and not that of the law. Any attempt to subject such people to rules of Christian living is strenuously resisted, being seen as an attempt to undermine their liberty in Christ and to bring them back under the bondage of the law. These apostles of ‘extravagant grace’ view the liberty in Christ as absolute freedom from any form of control. Does being in Christ mean Christians are not under any form of law? Is grace a license for impunity and lawlessness? We shall examine the Scriptures to answer these questions.

To start with, let’s reiterate some important facts about Christianity here. First, Christians are saved by grace, through faith in Christ Jesus, and not by observance of any works of the law. Second, Christians are not under the law of Moses, having been delivered from the curse of that law and translated into the glorious liberty of grace in Christ Jesus. In Christ, we’re dead to the law of Moses. God’s people were once married to the law of Moses, which held them captive for as long as they were under it. With the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ, those who place their faith in him as Lord and Saviour become dead to the law and thus get liberated from their obligation to that marriage covenant, since death of a partner legally terminates a marriage contract. Thus, believers in Christ have died to the Mosaic law/covenant and have been liberated from all obligations to it.

Ephesians 2:4 But God, being rich in mercy, for his great love with which he loved us,

Ephesians 2:5 even when we were dead through our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved),

Ephesians 2:6 and raised us up with him, and made us to sit with him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus,

Ephesians 2:7 that in the ages to come he might show the exceeding riches of his grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus;

Ephesians 2:8 for by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God,

Ephesians 2:9 not of works, that no one would boast.

Romans 6:14 For sin will not have dominion over you. For you are not under law, but under grace.

Galatians 5:18 But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under the law.

Romans 7:1 Or do you not know, brothers (for I speak to men who know the law), that the law has dominion over a man for as long as he lives?

Romans 7:2 For the woman that has a husband is bound by law to the husband while he lives, but if the husband dies, she is discharged from the law of the husband.

Romans 7:3 So then if, while the husband lives, she is joined to another man, she would be called an adulteress. But if the husband dies, she is free from the law, so that she is no adulteress, though she is joined to another man.

Romans 7:4 Therefore, my brothers, you also were made dead to the law through the body of Christ, that you would be joined to another, to him who was raised from the dead, that we might bring forth fruit to God.

So, now that Christians are dead to the law of Moses and are not under its jurisdiction, are our activities not under any form of regulations whatsoever? Are we lawless, to do as each pleases, in our walk with God? Is the liberty of grace absolute freedom to live anyhow? Well, it doesn’t appear to be so. Being under grace doesn’t translate to being in a state of lawlessness. The original apostles of the Lord taught that, though we’re not under the law of Moses, Christians are under a new obligation in Christ. The believer in Christ has been delivered from the Mosaic covenant to become married to the Lord Jesus Christ. We died to the law of Moses so we would become married to Christ, who is now our head and husband. The moment we become born again, we receive the Spirit of Christ and become subject to the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus. The Spirit of Christ in us now leads and regulates our lives. So, while we’re not under the law of Moses any longer, as believers in Christ, we become subject to the law of Christ instead!

Romans 7:4 Therefore, my brothers, you also were made dead to the law through the body of Christ, that you would be joined to another, to him who was raised from the dead, that we might bring forth fruit to God.

2 Corinthians 11:1 I wish that you would bear with me in a little foolishness, but indeed you do bear with me.

2 Corinthians 11:2 For I am jealous over you with a godly jealousy. For I married you to one husband, that I might present you as a pure virgin to Christ.

Ephesians 5:23 For the husband is the head of the wife, and Christ also is the head of the church, being himself the savior of the body.

Ephesians 5:24 But as the church is subject to Christ, so let the wives also be to their own husbands in everything.

Romans 8:1 There is therefore now no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus.

Romans 8:2 For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus made you free from the law of sin and of death.

Romans 8:3 For what the law could not do, in that it was weak through the flesh, God did, sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh and for sin, he condemned sin in the flesh;

Romans 8:4 that the ordinance of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit.

Romans 8:5 For those who live according to the flesh set their minds on the things of the flesh, but those who live according to the Spirit, the things of the Spirit.

Romans 8:6 For the mind of the flesh is death, but the mind of the Spirit is life and peace;

Romans 8:7 because the mind of the flesh is hostile towards God; for it is not subject to God’s law, neither indeed can it be.

Romans 8:8 Those who are in the flesh cannot please God.

Romans 8:9 But you are not in the flesh but in the Spirit, if it is so that the Spirit of God dwells in you. But if any man does not have the Spirit of Christ, he is not his.

Romans 8:10 If Christ is in you, the body is dead because of sin, but the spirit is alive because of righteousness.

Romans 8:11 But if the Spirit of him who raised up Jesus from the dead dwells in you, he who raised up Christ Jesus from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through his Spirit who dwells in you.

Romans 8:12 So then, brothers, we are debtors, not to the flesh, to live after the flesh.

Romans 8:13 For if you live after the flesh, you must die; but if by the Spirit you put to death the deeds of the body, you will live.

Romans 8:14 For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, these are children of God.

Galatians 6:2 Bear you one another’s burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ.

Thus, Christians are not left to live without regulations, on becoming born again. There are new rules guiding the conduct of Christians in the new covenant. In the Acts of the Apostles and the Apostolic epistles, we find the new code of conduct for believers in Christ. Our conduct, order and doctrines are bound by these Apostolic regulations, which are Spirit-inspired. We’re to live godly, sober and righteous lives as Christians, and the principles of the new covenant guide this new life in Christ. Christianity is not a lawless religion of absolute liberty wherein there are no regulations to guide individual conduct or lifestyle. Only chaos and confusion would result from absolute freedom without corresponding responsibility. The apostle Paul made it perfectly clear that though he wasn’t under the law of Moses, he was under law toward Christ, and so is every believer! Though we’re not saved by works, we are however saved by grace to do good works, which God before ordained that we should walk in them. Having been saved by grace, we’re to work out our salvation with fear and trembling, as we submit to the Holy Spirit working within us, in order to bring forth fruits of righteousness worthy of salvation.

Titus 2:11 For the grace of God that brings salvation has appeared to all men,

Titus 2:12 teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly in the present age,

Titus 2:13 looking for the blessed hope and glorious appearing of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ,

Titus 2:14 who gave Himself for us, that He might redeem us from every lawless deed and purify for Himself His own special people, zealous for good works.

Titus 2:15 Speak these things, exhort, and rebuke with all authority. Let no one despise you (NKJV).

Galatians 5:13 For you, brothers, were called for freedom. Only do not use your freedom for gain to the flesh, but through love be servants to one another.

Galatians 5:14 For the whole law is fulfilled in one word, in this: “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.”

Galatians 5:15 But if you bite and devour one another, be careful that you do not consume one another.

Galatians 5:16 But I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not carry out the desires of the flesh.

Galatians 5:17 For the flesh lusts against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh; and these are contrary to one another, that you may not do the things that you desire.

Galatians 5:18 But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under the law.

Galatians 5:19 Now the works of the flesh are obvious, which are: sexual immorality, uncleanness, lustfulness,

Galatians 5:20 idolatry, sorcery, hatred, strife, jealousies, outbursts of anger, rivalries, divisions, heresies,

Galatians 5:21 envyings, drunkenness, orgies, and things like these; of which I forewarn you, even as I also forewarned you, that those who practice such things will not inherit the Kingdom of God.

Galatians 5:22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faith,

Galatians 5:23 gentleness, and self-control. Against such things there is no law.

Galatians 5:24 Those who belong to Christ have crucified the flesh with its passions and lusts.

Galatians 5:25 If we live by the Spirit, let us also walk by the Spirit.

Galatians 5:26 Let us not become conceited, provoking one another, and envying one another.

1 Corinthians 9:19 For though I was free from all, I brought myself under bondage to all, that I might gain the more.

1 Corinthians 9:20 To the Jews I became as a Jew, that I might gain Jews; to those who are under the law, as under the law, not being myself under the law, that I might gain those who are under the law;

1 Corinthians 9:21 to those who are without law, as without law (not being without law toward God, but under law toward Christ), that I might win those who are without law.

1 Corinthians 9:22 To the weak I became as weak, that I might gain the weak. I have become all things to all men, that I may by all means save some.

Ephesians 2:8 for by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God,

Ephesians 2:9 not of works, that no one would boast.

Ephesians 2:10 For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared before that we would walk in them.

Philippians 2:12 So then, my beloved, even as you have always obeyed, not only in my presence, but now much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling.

Philippians 2:13 For it is God who works in you both to will and to work, for his good pleasure.

Philippians 2:14 Do all things without murmurings and disputes,

Philippians 2:15 that you may become blameless and harmless, children of God without blemish in the midst of a crooked and perverse generation, among whom you are seen as lights in the world,

Philippians 2:16 holding up the word of life; that I may have something to boast in the day of Christ, that I did not run in vain nor labor in vain.

John 13:34 A new commandment I give to you, That you love one another; as I have loved you, that you also love one another.

John 13:35 By this shall all men know that you are my disciples, if you have love one to another.

Because Christians are under the law of Christ, we cannot just live anyhow. Some behaviours and lifestyles are considered unchristian and ungodly, and are forbidden and to be sanctioned appropriately among believers. Deviation from the apostolic faith is considered heresy, and those who persist in such willful disobedience and rebellion are to be excommunicated from Christian fellowship. Ministers are to rebuke and exhort believers with all long-suffering and sound doctrines. The ultimate goal of being in Christ is to be progressively transformed into the image and likeness of Christ, in speech, conduct and doctrine. Thus, the liberty of the Spirit in Christ is not a license for impunity, but just signifies deliverance from the bondage and curse of the Mosaic law. It simply means we’re free from the law of Moses. It doesn’t mean we cease to be under any form of regulations. Being in Christ means being under a new set of rules of living, inspired and guided by the Holy Spirit dwelling within us. Jesus himself told us to obey his commandments, if we claim to love him, and his commandments are not burdensome. Thus, there are commandments for Christians to keep and observe in Christ, even though we are no longer subject to the law of Moses.

Ephesians 5:1 Be therefore imitators of God, as beloved children.

Ephesians 5:2 Walk in love, even as Christ also loved you, and gave himself up for us, an offering and a sacrifice to God for a sweet-smelling fragrance.

Ephesians 5:3 But sexual immorality, and all uncleanness, or covetousness, let it not even be mentioned among you, as becomes saints;

Ephesians 5:4 nor filthiness, nor foolish talking, nor jesting, which are not appropriate; but rather giving of thanks.

Ephesians 5:5 Know this for sure, that no sexually immoral person, nor unclean person, nor covetous man, who is an idolater, has any inheritance in the Kingdom of Christ and God.

Ephesians 5:6 Let no one deceive you with empty words. For because of these things, the wrath of God comes on the children of disobedience.

Ephesians 5:7 Therefore do not be partakers with them.

Ephesians 5:8 For you were once darkness, but are now light in the Lord. Walk as children of light,

Ephesians 5:9 for the fruit of the light is in all goodness and righteousness and truth,

Ephesians 5:10 proving what is well pleasing to the Lord.

Ephesians 5:11 Have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather even reprove them.

Ephesians 5:12 For the things which are done by them in secret, it is a shame even to speak of.

Ephesians 5:13 But all things, when they are reproved, are revealed by the light, for everything that reveals is light.

Ephesians 5:14 Therefore he says, “Awake, you who sleep, and arise from the dead, and Christ will shine on you.”

Ephesians 5:15 Therefore watch carefully how you walk, not as unwise, but as wise;

Ephesians 5:16 redeeming the time, because the days are evil.

Ephesians 5:17 Therefore do not be foolish, but understand what the will of the Lord is.

Ephesians 5:18 Do not be drunken with wine, in which is dissipation, but be filled with the Spirit,

Ephesians 5:19 speaking to one another in psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs; singing, and singing praises in your heart to the Lord;

Ephesians 5:20 giving thanks always concerning all things in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ to God the Father;

Ephesians 5:21 subjecting yourselves one to another in the fear of Christ.

1 Corinthians 5:1 It is actually reported that there is sexual immorality among you, and such sexual immorality as is not even among the Gentiles, that one has his father’s wife.

1 Corinthians 5:2 You are puffed up, and did not rather mourn, that he who had done this deed might be removed from among you.

1 Corinthians 5:3 For I most certainly, as being absent in body but present in spirit, have already, as though I were present, judged him who has done this thing.

1 Corinthians 5:4 In the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, you being gathered together, and my spirit, with the power of our Lord Jesus Christ,

1 Corinthians 5:5 are to deliver such a one to Satan for the destruction of the flesh, that the spirit may be saved in the day of the Lord Jesus.

1 Corinthians 5:6 Your boasting is not good. Do you not know that a little yeast leavens the whole lump?

1 Corinthians 5:7 Purge out the old yeast, that you may be a new lump, even as you are unleavened. For indeed Christ, our Passover, has been sacrificed.

1 Corinthians 5:8 Therefore let us keep the feast, not with old yeast, neither with the yeast of malice and wickedness, but with the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth.

1 Corinthians 5:9 I wrote to you in my letter to have no company with sexual sinners;

1 Corinthians 5:10 yet not at all meaning with the sexual sinners of this world, or with the covetous and extortioners, or with idolaters; for then you would have to leave the world.

1 Corinthians 5:11 But as it is, I wrote to you not to associate with anyone who is called a brother who is a sexual sinner, or covetous, or an idolater, or a slanderer, or a drunkard, or an extortioner. Do not even eat with such a person.

1 Corinthians 5:12 For what have I to do with also judging those who are outside? Do you not judge those who are within?

1 Corinthians 5:13 But those who are outside, God judges. “Put away the wicked man from among yourselves.”

Titus 3:9 But avoid foolish disputes, genealogies, contentions, and strivings about the law; for they are unprofitable and useless.

Titus 3:10 Reject a divisive man after the first and second admonition,

Titus 3:11 knowing that such a person is warped and sinning, being self-condemned (NKJV).

Romans 16:17 Now I urge you, brethren, note those who cause divisions and offenses, contrary to the doctrine which you learned, and avoid them (NKJV).

2 Timothy 4:1 I charge you therefore before God, and the Lord Jesus Christ, who shall judge the quick and the dead at his appearing and his kingdom;

2 Timothy 4:2 Preach the word; be instant in season, out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort with all long-suffering and doctrine.

2 Timothy 4:3 For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears;

2 Timothy 4:4 And they shall turn away their ears from the truth, and shall be turned to fables.

2 Timothy 4:5 But watch you in all things, endure afflictions, do the work of an evangelist, make full proof of your ministry (AKJV).

1 John 5:2 By this we know that we love the children of God, when we love God and do his commandments.

1 John 5:3 For this is the love of God, that we keep his commandments. His commandments are not grievous.

John 14:15 If you love me, keep my commandments (AKJV).

In conclusion, even though Christians have been delivered from the law of Moses and now enjoy God’s abundant grace in Christ Jesus, the new testament believer is not lawless. Though we’re no longer under the old covenant of law, the new covenant of grace in Christ also contains regulations and code of conduct for Christian living. We’re now governed by the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus. Christians are under law towards Christ. Thus, the liberty in Christ is not a license to live a lawless life of impunity. Grace is not a mandate for riotous living. Rather, the grace of God in Christ is to teach us to deny ungodliness and unrighteousness, and to live soberly and godly, in this present world. There is discipline in the body of Christ, with Christians expected to conform to Christ’s commandments in order to abide in him. Reckless living and subversion of the Christian faith, order and doctrine are sufficient reasons to warrant excommunication and disfellowshipping of Christians from Christian assemblies. The new testament contains rules and regulations too, which believers are subject to, and are expected to abide by, in order to walk in an orderly manner in our relationship with God, the brethren and even unbelievers. Christians are saved by grace through faith in Christ, and not by observance of laws, but our lives and conduct, as saved people, are regulated by the laws and commandments of Christ.

Hebrews 13:17 Obey them that have the rule over you, and submit yourselves: for they watch for your souls, as they that must give account, that they may do it with joy, and not with grief: for that is unprofitable for you (AKJV).

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Published by Dr. Ndubuisi E. Ojo

Dr Ojo is a disciple of the Lord Jesus Christ, and a student of the Word of God, who believes firmly in the original apostolic faith as the only authentic version of Christianity, and the only legitimate basis for Christian conduct, order and doctrine.

2 thoughts on “Does Being Under The Covenant Of Grace Mean Christians Are To Live Without Any Form Of Law?

  1. I absolutely love this. We are not saved BY our works… but saved SO THAT Christ may grow the fruit of good works in our lives.

    I love this line: ” Thus, the liberty of the Spirit in Christ is not a license for impunity, but just signifies deliverance from the bondage and curse of the Mosaic law. ” This is such a powerful truth that is so well stated.

    Thank you for ministering to us in this truth. Many loving blessings my Friend!

    Liked by 1 person

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