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What does it mean to be “dead to the Law”?

Quick Answer: What does it mean to be “dead to the Law”? At salvation, believers are crucified with Christ. As a result, we die to the Law, and consequently we die to sin. Once we’re taken out from under the dominion of the Law, sin no longer has power over us. As the Scripture states: “apart from the Law, sin is dead” (Romans 7:8). Under God’s grace, we end up living a godly life motivated by God’s Spirit within us, not by moral regulations from the Old Testament (Titus 2:11-12).

Diving Deeper: Romans 7:4 says, “Therefore, my brethren, you also were made to die to the Law through the body of Christ so that you might be joined to Another, to Him Who was raised from the dead, in order that we might bear fruit for God.” Through our co-crucifixion with Jesus, we died to the Law and were joined (married) to the risen Christ. We bear fruit for God by trusting in His Son who indwells us rather than looking to religious regulations.

Being dead to the Law means we believers don’t have to follow it. We’re not bound by the 613 laws that God gave to the Jews. Nobody is truly following the Law anyway! Even the apostle Paul described his inability as a devout Pharisee to obey the Law (Romans 7:15).

Some claim we’re still bound by the Ten Commandments, but not the other 603 regulations of the Law. However, nowhere in the Bible does it say we should divide God’s Law into “ceremonial” versus “moral” commandments. Galatians 3:10 tells us that the Law is an all-or-nothing proposition: “For all who rely on the works of the Law are under a curse; for it is written, ‘Cursed is everyone who does not observe and obey all the things written in the Book of the Law’” (Galatians 3:10). Likewise, James writes: “For whoever keeps the whole Law and yet stumbles at just one point is guilty of breaking all of it” (James 2:10).

There is simply no room for selective law-keeping. The Law is not multiple choice. God intended the Law to be a perfect and impossible standard, knowing that’s what it would take to drive us to see our need for God’s grace.

So, the Law is not merely strict; it is impossible to keep. That’s the whole point! Nobody can get right and stay right with God through the Old Testament law.

But doesn’t the Law keep you from sinning? No, the Bible actually says the opposite: Romans 7 points out that sin seizes opportunity through the commandment and that, apart from the Law, sin is dead (Romans 7:8). By living apart from the Law, we are no longer kept under sin’s power. And this is exactly what salvation in Jesus provides as He causes us to die to the Law forever. His grace is truly sufficient to inspire godliness within us (2 Corinthians 12:9; Titus 2:11-12).

Let’s Make It a Conversation!
1. Read Romans 7:4. Use “death” and “marriage” to describe what happened to you at salvation.
2. React to this statement: The Law is not multiple choice or choose your own adventure.
3. Why do you think it’s so challenging to fully trust God’s grace and not use the Law as a crutch?
4. React to this statement: Expect more sinning under the Law, not less.


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101 Bible Questions - Book101 Bible Questions: And the Surprising Answers You May Not Hear in Church is now available on Amazon!

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