Do born again believers have to keep the Law?

This article was originally posted on MobiliseNow is a UK based ministry dedicated to mobilizing the body of Christ in the power of God. It was founded by John & Heather Alcock.

In the previous blog in New Creation Realities, we saw that God justifies us because He reckons us to have died in Christ Jesus on the cross.  At Calvary the price was paid in full for all the sin and transgressions of the whole world, past present and future.  It was an act that was outside of time!  As people join themselves to Christ by faith in Him, God reckons them to have died in Christ and He raises them to new life.  Eph 2v5-6.

Not only did we die (in our sin) in Him on the cross, but we also died to the Law and the written decrees that condemned us.  We have no further intercourse with the Law.  Rom 7v4 and v6, Gal 2v19 to 21.

The Law showed us the power sin had over us.  Gal 3v19.  The Law held us captive and showed us our need for the new life and covenant we would receive by being joined to Christ.  Gal 3v23-24.

In this new life we now live in Him we are no longer subject to the Law.  We are free of the Law!  Rom 4v15 tells us,  “Where there is no law there is no transgression of it either.”  This is repeated in Rom 5v13 and again in Rom 7v8.

Where there is no law sin is dead!

Can you imagine what would have happened to Adam in the Garden of Eden if he threw a stone at the dog and was nasty to Eve?  Would he have been thrown out of the garden for sinning against God?  What if he had shouted at God?

Nothing would have happened to him if he ever did such things because there was no law against him doing those things.  He broke the only commandment there was.  That was sin!  What if there was no command concerning the fruit in the garden?  Would it have been a sin to eat it?  Of course not!


Where there is no law there is no transgression! Rom 4v15.

I see many Christians who think that the slate was wiped clean, and that all their sin was forgiven up to the time they were born again.  They believe that God has now given them a fresh start to keep His Law and obey Him.  To help them do this God has given them the Holy Spirit.  They now need to live holy lives and be righteous or at worst they will lose their salvation, and at best, they will lose their fellowship with God until they sort themselves out and live righteously.  When they fail in keeping the standard of righteousness they think they should keep, or others expect them to keep, they feel like absolute failures and lose all their joy and often just give up.

They believe and have been taught that they need to confess all their sin to God to be kept cleansed and to maintain their righteousness.

This is ludicrous!  How can we set the standards and terms of righteousness?  What happens if there is something we should be doing that we don’t know about?  What happens if God tells us to do something and we don’t hear or understand it, or we do it wrong?

Horror!  What happens if we sinned and didn’t even know?  Or worse forgot to confess one we did yesterday?  These people try to categorise sin into serious sins and not so serious ones.  If you commit adultery that is disgusting! Meanwhile these same people will excuse their unbelief in the power and love of God.  They will worry and be anxious about many things.  They will dismiss their apathy and lack of faith as God’s will.  Their attitude is, “Whatever’s to be will be! If its God’s will it will happen.”

That is rubbish!

James 2 v10 says that if you break even one tiny part of the law you are guilty of breaking it all.  So maintaining your righteousness by your own efforts is impossible.

Categorising ”sin” is idolatry. There is only one standard of righteousness acceptable to God and that is perfection.  His righteousness.  Here’s the good news, God gives us His perfect righteousness as a free gift through our faith in Jesus Christ!

We received this gift of perfect righteousness by faith and we keep it by faith not by works!

Lets rejoice we are free of the Law and the penalties it carries.  The salvation God has given us is complete and the righteousness we have received is perfect.  We do not need to do add anything to it.

This freedom is very threatening to religious thinking, which is hostile to it.  Right now people reading this will be thinking, “Well if there’s no law and no penalty for wrongdoing why don’t I go out there and just go mad?”  Do all the sin I want to do and rely on God’s grace that everything will be all right.

That is wrong thinking because it does not take into account what has actually happened to us in our death and new birth in Christ Jesus.

God hasn’t given us a robe of righteousness that just covers us outside, but inside we are still this wicked untrustworthy sin permeated and evil natured person with all kinds of sin trying to get out of us, but we continually restrain ourselves by self-discipline and a huge effort to keep it in so it cannot express itself.

This sin nature is what was killed in us. Rom 6v 6 and Colossians 2v11.

Paul addresses this in Romans 6 v1 to 11. “Are we to remain in sin in order that God’s grace may multiply and overflow?”  No!  We are dead to sin!  Our relation to it is broken!  In verse 11 Paul says we must think like this.  Our relationship with sin is broken.  We are alive to God in Christ Jesus.

Start thinking righteousness.  We are the righteousness of God in Christ Jesus.  Meditate on the fact that you are righteous.  Sin is a spent force that you must no longer give power to by exalting and dwelling on.  Forget the past and lay hold of today and what lies ahead for you in God.  I am convinced that where people battle with sin it is because they are ignorant of what God has done in them and who they are in Christ.  They have allowed sin to appear to them as a giant that controls them.

This is because they judge themselves by some standard of right and wrong. They have put a law of righteousness in place in their lives.  Law is Law!  Whatever you call it!  Galatians 5 v4 says if you seek to be justified through the Law (that is any law of righteousness or accepted behaviour) you have been separated from Christ and have fallen from grace.

So be guided by the Holy Spirit and you are not subject to Law. Gal 5v18.

The righteousness that God has given us is a free gift that is imputed to us.  He has given us His very own nature and life.  The born again believer is not a sinner by nature.  False humility says, “I am just a sinner saved by grace.” This is wrong thinking.  We have new life and a new nature in us.  We are totally new creatures (2 Cor 5v17).  We are walking in the Light as He is in the Light.  We are not under the Law.  Where there is no law there is no transgression.  We are dead to the law and we are alive to righteousness.  We are righteous because we received it as a free gift from God by faith.  We did not earn it and we certainly cannot keep it by our behaviour.  This is why Paul is so severe on the Galatians in Chap 3 v1-5.

We don’t do righteous things to be righteous!  We do righteous things because we are righteous!

2 Responses to Do born again believers have to keep the Law?

  1. Trevor Lovegrove says:

    Well put John, this is just what the Church needs to hear and embrace if we are to be the salt and light that the world needs us to be.
    The truth of what you have said brings freedom and liberty and far from causing people to sin more as some have suggested, will cause people to want to sin less as the revelation of what Jesus accomplished on the cross becomes a reality in their hearts.

  2. Jesse says:

    Hey dude, this is good but I’m getting some questions regarding people who claim to be Christians but they spend Monday through Saturday womanizing, boozing, smoking weed and selling drugs and then spends Sunday at church playing in the worship band. So what about these peeps. Can you write an article from that perspective?

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