Freedom From the Law
By Pastor Creflo Dollar
Senior Pastor, World Changers Church, College Park, Georgia
Foundation Scripture: Romans 6:14; Romans 7:1-4; 10:4
Sunday 25th August 2013
Let me start this message with our foundation scripture - "For sin shall not have dominion over you, for you are not under law but under grace" (Romans 6:14).
As believers we are aware that we’ve been saved by grace but most of us still live under the law. Being under grace however doesn’t give us the liberty to commit sin. In fact, now that we are under the grace of God, sin has no dominion over us. When living under grace, we will be taught by God to live a godly life (Titus 2:11-12). Hence, grace reconditions us from the life of sin towards holiness.
So you ask ‘How can I be righteous when I have not been living righteously?’ Here is another question to rebuff this ‘How can Jesus be a sinner when he did not commit sin?’ What happened on Calvary was a divine exchange – Jesus took our place. I have faith in what Christ has done, not in what I have done. The day we became born again, we belonged to God and because of the death of Jesus Christ we are no longer under the law (Romans 7:1-4; 10:4).
From Galatians 3 we read about the real purpose of the Law. Verse 24 reads "Therefore the law was our tutor to bring us to Christ, that we might be justified by faith" and going back a few verses in verse 19, we read “What purpose then does the law serve? It was added because of transgressions, till the Seed should come to whom the promise was made;and it wasappointed through angels by the hand of a mediator."
This explains to us that the law had a purpose. The law was given to increase sin, show and bring men to the end of themselves; it is to show us that we need a saviour. The law is holy but it was not given to make man holy, but to make him come to the end of his arrogance and thinking that he can keep the whole law without God. It was given to make man know that he needs God.
Jesus came to set us free from the law, so why are we still operating under the law? For example we might hear ourselves boast and say we pray for three hours a day, we don’t curse or we honour our father and mother as the law says.
However, when we operate under grace, we will have no reason to boast, for we know that it is not in our doing but by the grace of God, through Jesus Christ that we are saved.
Our agreement with God will determine how God responds to us. A business contract determines how the two parties involved will respond to one another. If the agreement changes, the two parties respond accordingly.
Dispensation is the housekeeping rules or agreement for a particular time and on close look we see that God operates differently because of the dispensation of the times.
In 2 Kings 1:12, we see a certain type of dispensation where God was approached differently. In this dispensation Elijah was able to call down fire from heaven to consume man. However in Luke 9: 51-55, under a different dispensation in Jesus, we are no longer under the law, and therefore the disciples were not allowed to call down fire from heaven to consume men – Jesus rebuked James and John for suggesting this, in response he told them‘For the Son of Man did not come to destroy men’s lives but to savethem’ (V 55). Jesus came to introduce the new dispensation and the new covenant.
If we are still operating under the law and call upon God, we will not see answers to our prayers for we are not operating under the covenant of His grace; He is no longer operating under the old covenant. In these last days, we are getting ready to see a response from God like we have never seen before. He will move in a greater dimension than what you have seen in the book of Acts. You are about to see what you have never seen before. There is a transfer of wealth, and an outpouring of signs and wonders. God is coming out in a tsunami of glory.
Looking through the Bible we see different types of covenants and dispensations. Genesis 2:15-17 reads “Then the Lord God took the man and put him in the Garden of Eden to tend and keep it.And the Lord God commanded the man, saying, “Of every tree of the garden you may freely eat; but of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat of it you shall surely die.” It shows us thatthere was a covenant between God and man in the Garden of Eden which was to eat from all the trees of the Garden, but from a particular tree (the knowledge of good and evil), if they did, they will die. In order for Adam and Eve to experience the blessings of God, they must keep the agreement. If they were to breach the agreement and eat from the forbidden tree, then the blessings will stop flowing. Unfortunately, they ate from the fruit of the tree, and as a result, they were then banished from the Garden of Eden, which in itself was an act of mercy.
The law is the strength of sin (1 Corinthians 15:56). Where there is no law, there is no knowledge of sin. Wherever there is a law, there is the ability to tempt men to sin. This is why the devil will only tempt us where there is a law.
Another covenant and dispensation is that of the Mosaic or Law of Moses in Deuteronomy 28: 1-2. The blessings were to be given if all of the law was kept. James 2: 10 says “For whoever shall keep the whole law, and yet stumble in onepoint,he is guilty of all". This explains that the children of Israel had to keep ALL the laws for the blessings of God to flow. Under this covenant, if we kept all the law and failed in one, we have failed in all. It was impossible to keep the law.
Exodus 14:11, 15:23 and 16:3 gives us another type of dispensation and how God responded to it. These verses make us understand that even though the people of Israel disobeyed, complained and murmured to God, their attitude still brought about grace and unmerited favour from God, bringing forth His goodness.
God brought Israel out of Egypt, under the Abrahamic covenant and the blood of the lamb on the doorpost, similar to the ransom that Christ paid on the cross for us. So despite their sins, God provided for them supernaturally; not based on their goodness and faithfulness but rather on His faithfulness and goodness. All this happened before the law was given to Moses.
But something happened. In Exodus 19:4-6 the children of Israel rejected God’s agreement of faithfulness and grace. They wanted God to assess them on their merits, good works and faithfulness – they believed that they were well able to perform all that God says. The covenant was then based on God’s response to their performance and goodness according to the law. In response God drew back from them as we see in Exodus 19: 9-13. God responded differently because there was now a new covenant in place; which was based on the performance of the goodness and performance of the children of Israel. The Ten Commandments was soon instituted in the next chapter, and quickly it became obvious that the Israelites could not meet up to God’s standard.
Soon, God’s responded differently to their murmuring and complaints. In Numbers 21:5-6, God judged the murmuring congregation, as some of them were bitten by poisonous serpents. The law was not God’s best. Jesus Christ was God’s best.
Knowing that the Israelites could not keep the law, God instituted the building of altar and the bringing of a sacrifice – a foreshadow of the work of Christ on the cross. Note however that the Law was not given to the Gentiles, it was given to the Jews. The only covenant given to Gentiles is the new covenant.
We are now under a new covenant through Jesus Christ. Hebrews 8:6-8 explains to us the covenant we are now under. “But now He has obtained a more excellent ministry, inasmuch as He is also Mediator of a better covenant, which was established on better promises. For if that first covenant had been faultless, then no place would have been sought for a second. Because finding fault with them, He says: “Behold, the days are coming, says the Lord, when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and with the house of Judah.”
The fault with the first covenant – the law – was that we could not keep it. In the new agreement through Jesus Christ, God operates in a different way; He will not withdraw His hand from us like he did with Israel. In the new covenant God will not deny himself. His faithfulness to us will not be based on our performance or works. Our faithlessness will not determine God’s faithfulness.
From 2 Timothy 2:13, we read that God promises to remain faithful, He cannot deny himself. This new covenant is between God and God.
Hebrews 8:9-13 reads “not according to the covenant that I made with their fathers in the day when I took them by the hand to lead them out of the land of Egypt; because they did not continue in My covenant, and I disregarded them, says the Lord.For this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, says the Lord: I will put My laws in their mind and write them on their hearts; and I will be their God, and they shall be My people.None of them shall teach his neighbour, and none his brother, saying, ‘Know the Lord,’ for all shall know Me, from the least of them to the greatest of them.For I will be merciful to their unrighteousness, and their sins and their lawless deeds I will remember no more. In that He says, “A new covenant,” He has made the first obsolete. Now what is becoming obsolete and growing old is ready to vanish away.”
Under the new covenant, God promise to be our God and teach us to know Him, He will be merciful to our unrighteousness and our sins will be remembered no more, receiving underserved favour. God will renovate us from the inside through the presence of the Holy Spirit within us.
The devil tries to make us remember our sins and how we have missed the mark based on the old law. However we must understand that we are no longer under the covenant of the law but under the covenant of grace through Jesus Christ. Jesus Christ put an end to the law. We are no longer under the law but under grace through Jesus Christ for He has made us the righteousness of God. We are free from the covenant of the law but free under the covenant of grace. The law stands inferior when it stands alongside the Holy Spirit. The work of the Holy Spirit is to guide and lead us daily. He teaches and guides us above the law.
So if you are still operating under the law, kick it out from under your abode. We read in Genesis of Abram’s effort to conceive God’s promise in his strength and as a result gave birth to an Ishmael. Until he surrendered and yielded to God, the promised Isaac was not born. Even after this, Ishmael still had to be sent away, simply because the law and the promise (grace) could not cohabit together (2 Corinthians 3:7).
So as I round up, let these be your words: I am not under the law, I am under the new covenant; the old is passed away, the new has come, God has promised me that He will write His law upon my heart and my mind. He will be my God; He will teach me to know Him, if I will remember that He has been merciful to my unrighteousness and my sins He will remember no more. I trust Jesus and led by the Holy Ghost. I am going forward by the Holy Spirit and will not be defeated because of what Jesus has accomplished for me.
As you begin to operate under the new covenant of grace through our Lord and saviour Jesus Christ, I pray that you experience all the fullness of God’s blessings; His faithfulness, love, goodness, unmerited and unprecedented favour in Jesus name. Amen.
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