Romans 6:14: What does not under law but under grace mean?

In this post, let us understand what Romans 6:14 mean when it says we are not under law but under grace. Discover whether this verse says we are not required to keep the law of God or not.

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Romans 6:14 tells us that we are no longer under the law, but we are under grace. Sadly, a lot of Christians today would use Romans 6:14 as a way to prove their doctrine that we are no longer required to keep the law of God.

Well, is this true? Is it right for us to think that we are free from keeping the law because of grace? In this post, let us take a deep look at Romans 6:14 and see what it really means to be under grace and not under the law.

A quick review of Paul’s beliefs

Before we go to Romans 6:14, we must also remember that in the same verse, Paul wrote these verses:

  • Romans 2:13 – For not the hearers of the law are just in the sight of God, but the doers of the law will be justified.
  • Romans 3:31 – Do we then make void the law through faith? Certainly not! On the contrary, we establish the law
  • Romans 7:12 – Therefore the law is holy, and the commandment holy and just and good

From these verses alone, we can have a good understanding of Paul’s attitude toward the Law of God.

Here’s another point to consider: 

Did you know that Paul referred to the Old Testament more than 250 times throughout his writings? He quoted and referred to the Old Testament a LOT of times to prove most of his points and to support his teachings.

Now, do you think that Paul would be quoting and referencing the Old Testament that often if he knew for himself that the Old Testament was no longer useful?

Of course not!

So, we need to keep this in mind when examining Romans 6:14. 

Romans 6:14: What does not under law but under grace mean?

What Romans 6:14 is NOT saying

In studying the Bible, it is crucial to avoid adding our own interpretation. We must let the Bible interpret itself.

The most common understanding of Christians is that Romans 6:14 abolished God’s law and thus, we, Christians, are no longer bound to keep it.

Now, there’s a BIG problem with this way of thinking. First of all, if there’s no law, there’s no law to transgress anymore. If there’s no law to violate, then there would be no sin anymore. However, just a quick look at this world, we could see sin everywhere! Not only that, but we can also see sin in our own lives!

Now, don’t tell me you don’t sin anymore, because if you do, you are calling God a liar (I John 1:10). As long as we are still flesh and blood, we are capable of sinning and we will still sin.

So, if there’s no law, there’s no sin anymore. But why would Paul talk about sin just in the following verse if the law has been done away with already?

“What then? Shall we sin because we are not under law but under grace? Certainly not” (Romans 6:15)!

Obviously, for sin to exist, there should be a law and this shows us that God’s laws are still binding even for Christians who are under the New Covenant.

What does Romans 6:14 really mean?

Now, let’s go to the core of our discussion.

If Paul wasn’t abolishing God’s law in Romans 8:14, what was he trying to say?

Let’s read Romans 6:14 once again:

“For sin shall not have dominion over you, for you are not under law but under grace.”

Notice, Paul’s main point is that sin will not have dominion over you. Why? Because we are under grace and NOT under law.

The next question we must answer is, “What is grace?”

Grace is God’s unmerited favor. It is something that we don’t earn. We didn’t do anything to gain God’s grace. It is through God’s immeasurable and unimaginable love toward us that He showed us grace. Because of this grace, God gave His only begotten Son to pave the way to establishing the New Covenant.

Why did Christ need to die for us? It is to pay for our sins. In the same chapter of Romans, Paul explained:

For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord” (Romans 6:23).

All of us have sinned and thus, we must pay the price of sinning which is death. 

For God to redeem us from sin’s penalty, someone must die. Someone must pay the death penalty for sin. 

This is where Yahshua (Jesus Christ) comes in.

Yahshua died in our place. Instead, us, paying for the penalty of sin, Yahshua did it for us!

Why did Christ die for us? Because of grace!

The blood of Yahshua washed us of our sins and thus, we are also freed from the penalty of death, which is produced by the violation of the law.

That’s why, when we repent of our sins, accept the sacrifice of Christ, get baptized, and receive the Holy Spirit, we are NO longer under the law — that is, we are no longer under the penalty of the law!

In short, we are under grace — God’s unmerited favor.

Understanding the powerful message of Romans 6:14

Because people have misunderstood Romans 6:14, they completely missed the core message of the Apostle Paul.

To get a better context of this verse, we need to start reading Romans 6:1:

“What shall we say then? Shall we continue in sin that grace may abound? Certainly not!”

Here’s the issue Paul was trying to address in Romans 6:1:

There are those Christians who have received the grace of God, but they use the grace of God as a license to sin!

In verses 2-4, Paul explained that since we die with Christ in our baptism, we must stop sinning anymore, which is breaking God’s laws. Rather, we must “walk in the newness of life.”

In verses 5-11, Paul continued expounding what the death of Christ meant for all of us. The death of Christ freed us from sin and we must not be slaves of sin anymore. Since we died in Christ, we must then live for God (verse 10).

In verses 15-19, we read that whom we obey, we become slaves of it. Paul was saying you can be a slave to sin that leads to death or slave to obedience that leads to righteousness.

In short, Paul was telling us that once we have been forgiven of our sin, we must do our best to avoid sinning again. When we deliberately continue in sin, we are actually insulting the sacrifice of Christ and the grace of God!

That’s the main point of Paul when he said we are not to live under the law anymore, that is to live under its penalty, but we must live under the grace of God, that is to live a new life in righteousness and holiness.

Romans 6:14 does not abolish God’s law

The law of God and grace work hand in hand to help us learn God’s way of life. The law of God teaches us how to love one another and how to live a righteous life. 

On the other hand, the grace of God gives us the opportunity to repent of our sins, be forgiven, and eventually, receive eternal life.

Instead of canceling each other, the law and grace of God complement each other. This is a great truth that a lot of Christians missed out on.

You don’t have to be one of them. After reading this, you can understand better what the grace of God means and how it can help us continue in our Christian walk.

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