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Are Christians under the law?

The Jewish Law

Formerly, when you did not know God, you were enslaved to those that by nature are not gods. But now that you have come to know God, or rather to be known by God, how can you turn back again to the weak and worthless elementary principles of the world, whose slaves you want to be once more? You observe days and months and seasons and years! I am afraid I may have labored over you in vain.

Galatians 4:8-11 [ESV]

I think the first thing I should do is define what the law is:

When we refer to the law we are referring to what the Jews understand as the law. The Mosaic law. The law given to the Jews by Moses. This includes the ten commandments.

The purpose of the law was to restore God’s people back to Him. Another equally important aspect of the law was to show people how impossible it is to maintain the law. If you fail in keeping the law, even in your mind, you have broken the entire law. It shows us all that we are all sinners and in need of a savior.

“For whoever keeps the whole law but fails in one point has become guilty of all of it.”

James 2:10

When one becomes a believer the law is no more used to work their way into heaven. This does not mean that one can “break” the law as much as they want. That is not the point at all. The point is that you no longer use the law to attempt to work your way into God’s good graces.

Often I hear people that think being a Christian means you can break any law you want and still get into heaven. If you think you can sin as much as you want and still get into heaven you have missed the point. It does not give you permission to practice sin. What it does is break you from the bondage of the law. You don’t have to use the law to get into heaven. No more need for the rituals that are still used by non-believers.

So if you think you can steal from someone because you are no longer under the law, you don’t understand what it means to be saved. If you sin you are forgiven. If you go on sinning because that is what you want to do your salvation is questionable.

Keeping the feasts as a reminder is fine. Keeping the feasts because you think God will turn His back on you, is wrong.

As a Christian our works should be visible. But these are not works that are for salvation. If your salvation does not produce good works you better check on your salvation. You might not be saved at all.

“What good is it, my brothers, if someone says he has faith but does not have works? Can that faith save him? If a brother or sister is poorly clothed and lacking in daily food, and one of you says to them, “Go in peace, be warmed and filled,” without giving them the things needed for the body, what good is that? So also faith by itself, if it does not have works, is dead.”

James 2 :14-17