Not Under the Law

When we say that we follow Christ, there are several ways in which we mean it. The first way that most people would think of is to follow him in the way that he lived his life. We want to have the mind and heart of Chrst. We want to do the things that he did and speak in the way that he spoke. We can probably never live up to the perfection that Christ showed us as an example, but we look to him as our ideal, the example that we want to emulate.

But more than trying to live a life or pursue holiness in the way of Christ, we also think about eternity. Not just an eternity that starts when we die, but an eternity that starts today. And the only way that we can see into that eternity is in Christ.

In Christ, we can enter into eternity, an eternity with God. But God is holy and can only be with those who are holy, and to be holy, we must be rid of our old selves, and this is another way in which we follow Christ. As Paul told the Romans, we are baptized into Christ’s death. As we are baptized and place our faith in Christ, our old person dies. The spiritual person who was under the law dies a spiritual death. The old person is gone and a new person rises from the water into life.

This is a third way that we can follow Christ. We follow him into life, an eternal life that we have placed our faith and hope in. We trust Christ that we will not be destroyed. We trust him that what he says is true. We trust him that we will live forever with him and we will know the Father through Christ. This is what we mean when we say that we place our faith in Christ. We trust him that he will do what he says he will do. We trust that our hope for salvation from God’s wrath will not be in vain.

From a human perspective, this is probably the most important way that we follow Christ, trusting that we will be saved through him. But this is not necessarily, from God’s perspective, the most important way that we follow him. We also follow him in glorifying both him, Christ, as well as the Father. We give our entire lives for him to use. We give ourselves, just as Christ did, so that we can be both his children as well as his instruments in the world, that more people would hear and would know, and more people would glorify the Father, just as Christ did. Jesus gave himself completely so that the Father would be glorified, and as followers of Christ, we must do the same.

I want to make an important point here, though, that we are no longer under the law. As followers of Christ, the law no longer applies to us. Christ fulfilled the law and we are found within him, so we are no longer subject to the law that was given by God:

For sin shall no longer be your master, because you are not under the law, but under grace.

What then? Shall we sin because we are not under the law but under grace? By no means! 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?

Romans 6:14-16

An argument that I frequently hear, especially from Muslim apologists, is that Christians believe that they are under grace and believe that they have a right to continue to sin. That is simply not true and is nothing but fiction or a misunderstanding of what the scripture actually teaches. Here, Paul says that we should no longer offer ourselves to sin, but instead we have died to sin.

As I noted above, as Christ’s followers, as we rise to eternal life as the new spiritual person, we find ourselves now desiring to live for God. Not living for myself and to glorify myself, but living for him, to glorify him. As a true follower of Christ, this should be my attitude, that the Father is lifted up, that the Father is glorified. If I don’t have this attitude, I am not following Christ. I am not living under grace, but instead I am living under the law.

But thank God that, through Christ, I don’t have to live under the law any longer. Christ fulfilled the law and I am found in him! As a follower of Christ, I am now a new person, a new creation, and I am living for him and no longer for me.

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