Returning to Torah — Part 3 — Are We No Longer Under the Law?

For sin shall no longer be your master, because you are not under the law, but under grace. 15What then? Shall we sin because we are not under the law but under grace? By no means!

[Romans 6:14-15]

Laws are just made to be broken … so the saying goes.

But we know that is not true.

Any good parent, for example, will set in place house rules and establish boundaries that are intended to bless and protect the children. The expectation is clear. These rules are for their own good and are to be obeyed without exception. Breaking the rules will only result in pain and punishment and erode trust in the relationship.

Man’s rebellious heart is naturally averse to the law. Our sinful nature wages war against the law — both the laws of God and man. Man is prone to break the rules in search of some false form of freedom, but lawbreakers always seem to end up in the same place — either dead or in prison.

The truth is that a lawless man is never free. He is a slave to his sin — a dead man walking. Lawbreakers are the only ones who are “under the law,” facing the consequences and bearing the full weight of impending judgment.

It is the lawful citizen, however, who is truly free. A man who obeys the law is not “under the law” but rather free to live and enjoy his life without fear of punishment. Once again, it is not the law itself that holds men captive and puts them in bondage. Quite the contrary! A man is only “under the law” once he has broken the law.

God put His law in place for our own good. Obeying the law is not sin. Just the opposite is true. The Biblical definition of sin is transgression of the law.

Everyone who sins breaks the law; in fact, sin is lawlessness.

[1 John 3:4]


Yet entire theological systems have been built upon the flawed notion that Christians are no longer “under the law,” which traditionally has been interpreted to mean that God’s law no longer applies to our life. We have been told by our church leaders that the law has been done away with, rendered obsolete, and abolished at the cross. Christians are no longer under the burden of the law but are under grace, which means that we don’t have to keep those old, burdensome laws anymore but are free to do whatever we want!

But is that true? Is a Christian free to abuse God’s grace as a license to sin? Does God’s law no longer apply to our lives now that we have been saved by grace? Seems like the Apostle Paul said something about this dangerous mentality.

For sin shall no longer be your master, because you are not under the law, but under grace. 15What then? Shall we sin because we are not under the law but under grace? By no means!

[Romans 6:14-15]

Do you see it? Do you see how men have misinterpreted this one idea from the writings of Paul and twisted it to mean the polar opposite of what it really means? When Scripture says that believers are no longer “under the law,” that does not mean the law itself has been done away with or abolished.

It simply means that believers in Christ Jesus are no longer under the PENALTY and CURSE of the law — which is death! Paul reminds us that “Christ redeemed us from the curse of the law by becoming a curse for us—for it is written, ‘Cursed is everyone who is hanged on a tree’” [Galatians 3:13].

Jesus willingly received the death sentence that stood against all lawbreakers (you and me), which means that we are no longer under the curse of the law. We have been set free from the condemnation of the law. This is good news indeed!

But this does not mean that the law itself is now somehow destroyed or that it is no longer applicable to our lives. God forbid! It means now that we have been redeemed from the penalty and the curse of the law, we have been given the grace to go and walk in obedience to His law — keeping His commandments and so fulfill the law of Christ!

We are no longer slaves to sin — as we once were disobedient lawbreakers. We have become slaves to righteousness — keeping God’s law out of love and gratitude for God.

The law has not changed. God’s house rules have never changed. God’s expectation for His children to be obedient to His rules has not changed. But when we sin against God and break His law, we willingly put ourselves back under the law, which breaks God’s heart and breaks fellowship with our Heavenly Father.

Of course we still belong to the family of God, but when we break the law, we are acting once again like slaves to sin. It is only when we obey God’s commandments that we are living in freedom.

 Don’t you know that when you offer yourselves to someone as obedient slaves, you are slaves of the one you obey—whether you are slaves to sin, which leads to death, or to obedience, which leads to righteousness? 17But thanks be to God that, though you used to be slaves to sin, you have come to obey from your heart the pattern of teaching that has now claimed your allegiance. 18You have been set free from sin and have become slaves to righteousness.

[Romans 6:16-18]


But he who looks into the perfect law of liberty and continues in it, and is not a forgetful hearer but a doer of the work, this one will be blessed in what he does.

[James 1:25]

So if breaking the law is sin that leads to bondage, then keeping the law is righteousness that leads to freedom. This what the Bible calls the perfect law of liberty. The law itself is God’s moral standard, His eternal value system. It is the way of life, and all who obey Torah are free! It’s that simple, and yet how many Christians today have a positive view about the law?

In my own personal religious experiences, the law was always cast in a negative light, as if Torah was contrary to grace and bondage for the believer. The law certainly was never taught as life and liberty, so like so many Christians, I developed an antagonistic attitude toward the law, as if Jesus had saved me and set me free from the law.

Now that I am rediscovering Torah, however, I realize just how wrong I was and how far off the path we have drifted.

Jesus did not save me from the law! Messiah saved me from the curse and punishment of the law — which is death. This one adjustment in my perspective has opened my eyes to see the joy and blessing and yes … the FREEDOM of keeping God’s commandments and obeying His laws.


To the Jews who had believed him, Jesus said, “If you hold to my teaching, you are really my disciples32Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free …” Jesus replied, “Very truly I tell you, everyone who sins is a slave to sin. 35Now a slave has no permanent place in the family, but a son belongs to it forever. 36So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed.

[John 8:31-32, 34-36]

Notice Jesus says that His true disciples are those who obey His teaching — aka Torah — and the result of obeying Torah is coming to a knowledge of the truth. Then once we discover the truth of Torah, the truth will set us free! Think about that for a moment. How profound! How many times have we missed this?

  • Jesus died in our place to take the punishment that we deserved for breaking God’s law (sin)
  • Once freed from the law of sin of death, Jesus calls us as His disciples to follow Him and obey His teachings (Torah)
  • As we learn Torah, we come to the knowledge of the truth and as we obey Torah we live out the truth as Jesus did
  • As we walk with Jesus in obedience to His commandments, we experience true freedom from sin and true joy in keeping the perfect law of liberty for God’s glory

Scripture is clear. It is impossible to Biblically defend the notion that followers of Jesus Christ are no longer expected to keep God’s law and obey His commandments. The meaning of the phrase, “under the law,” has been so twisted and perverted in the church that millions of Christians have been led astray and convinced that the Torah has been rendered useless and no longer applies to them.

Nothing could be further from the truth! God’s law has never changed and never will. Why would Jesus die for our sins and set us free from sin only to turn around tell us we are now free to sin? That’s absurd!

Jesus died to set us free from the curse of the law so that we would become beloved sons and daughters who walk in faithful obedience to God’s law. Keeping the law is not bondage. Keeping the law is the very definition of righteousness that leads to freedom! Since we have been set free from sin and death, we should never go back to being slaves to sin.

For freedom Christ has set us free; stand firm therefore, and do not submit again to a yoke of slavery.

[Galatians 5:1]

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