by Terry W. Benton
Today there is lawlessness going on at elevated proportions. Even churches that have claimed to be "of Christ" have been divided by a spirit of lawlessness. Some misuse "we are not under law but under grace" (Romans 6:15) to give the undiscerning a scripture on which to justify their rebellion against trying to "abide in the doctrine of Christ" (II John 9-10) and do the will of God (Matthew 7:21ff). But Romans 6:15 is not saying that grace is lawless and we can do as we please. "Being under law" in this text is about sin having the final word about your condition before God. If we are under law, that is, under law with no grace and mercy, then we are under condemnation and have no way out. Of course, that is not our situation. We are under grace which provides pardon, forgiveness, justification. Grace provides "the law of the Spirit of life" (Romans 8:2) which is more than a system of mere law. Paul said we are "under law to Christ" (I Corinthians 9:21). James called it "the perfect law of liberty" (James 1:25).
Disciples of Christ must be law-abiding, respecting the full authority of Christ who expresses His will in the New Testament (Hebrews 9:15-17). This "law of the Lord" would "go forth from Jerusalem" (Acts 2:42; Isaiah 2:1-4; Jeremiah 31:31). The brethren had to recognize the Spirit-guided words of the apostles as extensions of the will of Jesus Christ (John 16:13). The lawless would "twist the scriptures to their own destruction" (II Peter 3:16), but the lawful brethren would be careful to "handle aright the word of truth" (II Timothy 2:15).
The world is brainwashed by modern philosophy to doubt the existence of absolute truth. Like Pilate said to Jesus, "What is truth?" (John 18:38). He held the philosophy that is so prevalent today. Jesus believed in the existence of absolute truth (John 17:17). What we are seeing today is rebellion against authority, breaking down a civil justice system, creating civil unrest and anarchy. Churches are breaking down the ideas of being lawful and hiding their apostasy under the illusion of grace without law.
The truth is that grace and the law of liberty are inseparable. Get rid of responsibility to the law of liberty and you receive the grace of God in vain (II Corinthians 6:1) because grace teaches the truth that you are to deny ungodliness and worldly lusts (Titus 2:11-15). Judgment Day will separate the lawless who merely call Jesus "Lord" from those who not only call Him "Lord" but do the will of God (Matthew 7:21ff). There is truth (which implies all else is error) and there is law, the perfect law of liberty, and we must be careful to handle God's truth and law with great diligence and respect.