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Joined: 2005/5/2
Posts: 3776

 When is one free from the law?

“We have been released from the law” Romans 7:6

I realize that there are various ways of using the word “law” But I am referring to legalism – a bondage to law, a spiritual condition that quenches the Spirit and resists grace.

This was constantly a serious threat to the Church - even believers like Peter and his peers got caught in it( Galatians 2:11-14) We are no different. Reverting to law continues to trap people today.

I’d like to turn this fundamental doctrine into practical application - easy even for a young person to understand. I wonder if responses can be as simply as possible. (That may be challenging for those who enjoy in-depth theological explanations)

When is one free from the law?

How can I tell if I am still in bondage to law?
What are the signs?

How can I tell if I am really free from the law?
What are the signs?

(I suspect that these questions could help some diagnose their own unsaved condition.)



 2006/5/24 22:43Profile

Joined: 2004/9/28
Posts: 957
Cleveland, Georgia

 Re: When is one free from the law?

Rom 8:2 For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus hath made me free from the law of sin and death.

Rom 10:4 For Christ is the end of the law for righteousness to every one that believeth.

Hal Bachman

 2006/5/24 23:29Profile

Joined: 2005/2/24
Posts: 2732


Great question Diane,

First let me wryly observe that wanting to nail this down into a defined practical thing could also itself devolve into yet another kind of legalism. (sorry...I couldn't resist!)

Now that I've been clever enough :lol: to point that out, let me actually try to address your question!

I've heard the difference between serving Christ and serving the Law expressed this way:

"The redeemed avoid sin because they love virtue and righteousness; The wicked avoid sin from a fear of punishment."

Having said's sad how often the avoidance of punishment, either earthly or eternal, is actually at the root of my service. I say sad, because the love of goodness should be an unconscious attribute of a changed heart. I confess that too much of my "goodness" is very self-conscious and practiced.

Too often I trade Christ's Atonement for my attainment. This is one way I realize that I am not great in the heart is always engaged in burdensome spiritual calculation rather then weightless impulsive obedience.


Mike Compton

 2006/5/25 1:06Profile

Joined: 2005/5/2
Posts: 3776

 Re: the risk

First let me wryly observe that wanting to nail this down into a defined practical thing could also itself devolve into yet another kind of legalism.

Well, Compton, you are clever indeed! Nevertheless, I’m not backing out of this potential trap. I realize it is a risk.

In a sense, I’m playing doctor here – actually trying to learn how to RECOGNIZE the difference between health and illness (spiritually speaking). It has huge implications for every one of us.

This is one way I realize that I am not great in the heart is always engaged in burdensome spiritual calculation rather then weightless impulsive obedience.

Reading this thought is like looking in a mirror. I think we conscientious Christians tend to do a lot "burdensome spiritual calculation" which wears us out. And then we tire ourselves futher with a lot of navel-gazing - that is, if we don't take the restful yoke that Christ offers.

I don't mean that self-examination is bad. However, the very things we may read as healthy signs may actually be deadly signs. That is the product of still being in bondage to law.

the love of goodness should be an unconscious attribute of a changed heart

To me this says that as long as we are overly focused on our selfs and our behaviors, we are actually still in bondage to the law. By misusing law, we enslave ourselves to it.

"The redeemed avoid sin because they love virtue and righteousness; The wicked avoid sin from a fear of punishment."

Might I add another sinful motive for avoiding sin: it is an attempt to clean ourselves up, to try to prove that we are indeed okay, when deep down we know we are not.

So we focus on what is right and wrong, what we are allowed to do and what we are not, what we should do and what we should not, what is good and what is evil...

Now, there are some symptoms of bondage to law.


 2006/5/25 8:56Profile

Joined: 2005/7/17
Posts: 1791


We are indeed free from the law!
We are under Grace and not law,
[b]Colossians 2:14[/b] [color=990000]Blotting out the handwriting of requirements that was against us, which was contrary to us, and took it out of the way, nailing it to his cross;[/color]

We are [b]NOT[/b] to be Lawless!
We remain under the Law of Christ, wich is LOVE.
[b]Galatians 6:2[/b] [color=990000]Bear ye one another's burdens, and so fulfil [b]the law of Christ[/b].[/color]
Paul bacame thus:
[b]1Corinth 9:21[/b] [color=990000]to men without Law as if I were without Law--although I am not without Law in relation to God but am abiding in [b]Christ's Law[/b]--in order to win those who are without Law.[/color]

Love fulfills the Law [b]Romans 13:10[/b]
Love is the work that makes our faith alive that James calls dead without.
[b]James 2:15-16[/b] [color=990000]If a brother or sister be naked, and destitute of daily food,
[b]:16[/b] And one of you say unto them, Depart in peace, be ye warmed and filled; notwithstanding ye give them not those things which are needful to the body; what doth it profit?
[b]:17[/b] Even so faith, if it hath not works, is dead, being alone.[/color]
[b]1John 3:17-18[/b] [color=990000]But whoso hath this world's good, and seeth his brother have need, and shutteth up his bowels of compassion from him, how dwelleth the love of God in him?
[b]:18[/b] My little children, let us not love in word only, neither in tongue only; but in deed and in truth.[/color]

[b]Leagalism[/b] is a very subtle thing. If we try to do anything from the flesh to attain anything of God we fall under a curse, this is Leagalism:
[b]Galatians 3:10[/b] [color=990000]for as many as are of works of law are under a curse, for it hath been written, `Cursed is every one who is not remaining in all things that have been written in the Book of the Law--to do them,'[/color]
Laegalism is what the rest that we read in Hebrews is relaiting to, Rest from the works of the Law. Christ is our Rest

 2006/5/25 11:07Profile

Joined: 2005/11/26
Posts: 496


13For, brethren, ye have been called unto liberty; only use not liberty for an occasion to the flesh, but by love serve one another.

14For all the law is fulfilled in one word, even in this; Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself.

15But if ye bite and devour one another, take heed that ye be not consumed one of another.

16This I say then, Walk in the Spirit, and ye shall not fulfil the lust of the flesh.

17For the flesh lusteth against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh: and these are contrary the one to the other: so that ye cannot do the things that ye would.

[b] 18But if ye be led of the Spirit, ye are not under the law.[/b]

19Now the works of the flesh are manifest, which are these; Adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lasciviousness,

20Idolatry, witchcraft, hatred, variance, emulations, wrath, strife, seditions, heresies,

21Envyings, murders, drunkenness, revellings, and such like: of the which I tell you before, as I have also told you in time past, that they which do such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God.

22But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith,

23Meekness, temperance: against such there is no law.

24And they that are Christ's have crucified the flesh with the affections and lusts.

25If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit.

so paul is sayin here in these verses if you walk in the Spirit you are not under law.

how do we walk in the Spirit? by abiding in God.

John 15:4-5

4 Abide in Me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in Me.
5 “I am the vine, you are the branches. He who abides in Me, and I in him, bears much fruit; for without Me you can do nothing.

what is abiding?

to seek Him with your WHOLE heart (psalm 119:2-3)

to meditate on Him day and night (joshua 1:8)

to obey His commandments (1 john 3:24)

to love our brothers and sisters (1john 4:21)

to pray without ceasing (1 thess. 5:17)

to seek to KNOW HIM, not about Him (2peter1-11)

the greatest commandment is to love the Lord with ALL your heart, mind soul, and strength!!!! as we seek to obey His 1st commandment with our whole heart everything else will flow!!!

Oh God You are Glorious! the beauty of Your truth and deep intimacy with You sets us free!


 2006/5/25 12:14Profile

Joined: 2003/7/31
Posts: 2735
Phoenix, Arizona USA

 Re: When is one free from the law?

When is one free from the law?

I think maybe it's when one ceases from the attempts of becoming "a little bit better" in order to enter into God's blessing and rest.

Since this site has a revival theme maybe we can relate this to that topic. Sometimes I hear people say that revival comes at a great price. I think we need to be careful about what we mean. There is indeed a price but it isn't necessarily long days of prayer and fasting or some great sacrifices. What is required is a humbling of our pride so that we repent of sin. The door to revival is on "street level" as Roy Hession would say, under the law we tend to raise that door just beyond reach.

In Christ,


Ron Halverson

 2006/5/25 20:31Profile

Joined: 2006/1/28
Posts: 48

 Re: When is one free from the law?

I will try to make this simple as you requested.

Say you are driving your car and the speed limit is 55 miles per hour. This is the law.

You want to drive as fast as you want because you have a very good reason for driving fast. Maybe your late or maybe your special. You don't drive faster than the speed limit though because there might be a cop near by and you might get a ticket. You go the speed limit but you don't want to. This is bondage to law.


You know that the Bible says to submit to every ordinance of man and also you don't want to kill yourself or anyone else so you drive at a safe speed requardless of what the speed limit sign says. This is the law written upon your heart and you don't need a sign to tell you what speed to drive because your motive is not just yourself interest but the interest of others i.e. God and your neighbor.


You do like most nominal christians today and say "I am not under law but under grace and use that as an excuse to drive like a bat out of hell just like the lost do.

 2006/5/26 0:38Profile

Joined: 2004/2/12
Posts: 4636
Independence, Missouri


Hi wyattearp,

Interesting analogy. I like it. I would also like to add to it:

And I will take you from among the nations, and gather you out of all the countries, and will bring you into your own land. [u]And I will sprinkle clean water upon you, and ye shall be clean: from all your uncleannesses and from all your idols will I cleanse you. And I will give you a new heart, and I will put a new spirit within you; and I will take away the stony heart out of your flesh, and I will give you a heart of flesh. And I will put my Spirit within you, and cause you to walk in my statutes and keep mine ordinances, and ye shall do them.[/u] (Ezekiel 36)

The law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has made us from from the law of sin and of death. Now, we have to make a distinction here between the Law of Moses and the law of [u]S[/u]in. The law of [u]S[/u]in, Paul says is [i]in my members[/i] and is secondary to "another" mysterious law that was bringing him into captivity to the law of [u]S[/u]in (Romans 7:23-25). This leaves us with a need to be 'dead' to the Law of Moses, but [i]emancipated[/i] from the slavery of the law of [u]S[/u]in (Romans 6:7). The Law of Moses brings the law of [u]Sin[/u] to the surface (Romans 7:5,6). This is an interesting truth that cuts with two edges. The Calvinist would stop here and say that man, because of the bondage of the will, cannot rightly OBEY God. But this is [u]not[/u] the case. Tozer points this out in chapter 5 of his book "Paths to Power":

Another doctrinal hindrance is the teaching that men are so weak by nature that they are unable to keep the law of God. Our moral helplessness is hammered into us in sermon and song until we wilt under it and give up in despair. And on top of this we are told that we must accept Jesus in order that we may be saved from the wrath of the broken law! No matter what the intellect may say, the human heart can never accept the idea that we are to be held responsible for breaking a law that we cannot keep. Would a father lay upon the back of his three year-old son a sack of grain weighing five-hundred pounds and then beat the child because he could not carry it? Either men can or they cannot please God. If they cannot, they are not morally responsible, and have nothing to fear. If they can, and will not, then they are guilty, and as guilty sinners they will be sent to hell at last. The latter is undoubtedly the fact. If the Bible is allowed to speak for itself it will teach loudly the doctrine of man's personal responsibility for sins committed.

Men sin because they want to sin. God's quarrel with men is that
they will not do even that part of the will of God which they
understand and could do if they would.

From Paul's testimony in the seventh chapter of Romans some
teachers have drawn the doctrine of moral inability. But however
Paul's inner struggle may be interpreted, it is contrary to the whole known truth to believe that he had been a consistent law-breaker and violator of the Ten Commandments. He specifically testified that he had lived in all good conscience before God, which to a Jew could only mean that he had observed the legal requirements of the law. Paul's cry in Romans is not after power to fulfill the simple morality of the Ten Commandments, but after inward holiness which the law could not impart.

It is time we get straightened out in our thinking about the law. The weakness of the law was three-fold: (1) It could not cancel past sins - that is, it could not justify; (2) it could not make dead men live - that is, it could not regenerate; (3)it could not make bad hearts good - that is, it could not sanctify. To teach that the
insufficiency of the law lay in man's moral inability to meet its
simple demands on human behaviour is to err most radically. If the law could not be kept, God is in the position of laying upon
mankind an impossible moral burden and then punishing them for failure to do the impossible. I will believe anything I find in the Bible, but I do not feel under obligation to believe a teaching which is obviously a mistaken inference and one, furthermore, which both contradicts the Scriptures and outrages human reason.

No word from God is without Power as the angel testified to Elizabeth. The translation, "With God nothing shall be impossible" muddies this [u]important[/u]truth. When God say we [u]can[/u], we [u]can[/u] and we [u]must[/u]. The word carried within it the power to carry it out. When Jesus told Peter "COME" he was able based on the inherant ability within the commandment. When Jesus told the lame person to "stretch forth thine hand" - they couldn't in their own power, but when the word came the ability to "stretch forth" came with it. THIS is why man is quilty before God for breaking His Laws.

HOWEVER, this does not mean that man did not have a sin nature to deal with. Along with the power to obey, arose within the sinful heart of man the desire to REBEL against the commandment. The ability to do it was present, but the question came down to man's will. Man was filled with the spirit of disobedience. This did not make him/her any less guilty of the crimes.

The Law is SPIRITUAL. It cannot accomplish the purpose of changing us from glory to glory; this is the operation of the Holy Spirit as He applies the law to our hearts and minds. He weaves God's ways into the fabric of our nature.

AGAIN, let us make a distinction between the Law of God and the [i]laws of men[/i].

[u]Convictions of men become traditions of men become the commandments of men.[/u]

Let us not get this confised with the laws of God which originated in Him and are revelations of His person and character.

We are NOT under the Old Covenant, but God sought a way to accomplish the whole of the personality of God contained in the Law [i]in us[/i], not by the letter that killeth, but by the Spirit that brings life.

Robert Wurtz II

 2006/5/26 8:35Profile

Joined: 2005/5/2
Posts: 3776

 Re: free like a butterfly

Thank you for all these posts with insightful scriptures and thoughts. I treasure them all. In fact, I think that my question requires that those truths be considered.

And yet… there is that terrible predicament of knowing all this better than knowing our self. And so, I submit my question not to invite a playtime with theological toys, but to enable an increasing depth of freedom - really in myself, and hopefully others too.

We all know that assimilating these truths doesn’t automatically accompany our knowledge of them. And yet, recognizing the inconsistencies can be difficult for us who have been hanging around the kingdom for a while holding the bag of truths. I’m one of those kind.

Though God has done a major work in my life and has given me new life in the Spirit and set me free - totally!, I’ve been suspecting that I do not fully walk in that God-given freedom. I took this matter to the Lord, and asked him to reveal to me just how HE sees me. In other words, how free really am I? How much do I cling to the security of law, or let law be my guide rather than the Spirit?

It was a touching time with my tender Lord. He helped me see myself like a butterfly fully freed from its cocoon, but still with a few “wet spots” on its wings – loads in my mind which keep my from flying fully free in the wind of the Spirit.

I think maybe it's when one ceases from the attempts of becoming "a little bit better" in order to enter into God's blessing and rest.

Ron, I wonder if this is the very thing that is needed before we can see revival. Perhaps the greatest hindrance is our fear of cutting off those invisible threads that attach us to law – that is our fleshly yearning to “do the right thing”.


 2006/5/26 12:12Profile

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