Certainly Not!

Na: Åge M. Åleskjær
Kutoka: July-August 2010
Patikana ndani ya: Injili ya Neema
An emphasis on what we are saying and what we are NOT saying.

Some people become confused when they hear that we are free from the law, and that the born-again Christian has one commandment instead of ten. Although this truth is straight from the Bible, I believe it is appropriate to emphasize what we are not saying. We do not lower the moral standard; in fact, the fruit of the life in Christ carries a higher moral standard. The life we are describing is only attainable for the born-again Christian who allows the life of Christ to live in him. And so we say with the apostle Paul, “By No Means!” (RSV)

We do not lower the moral standard; in fact, the fruit of the life in Christ carries a higher moral standard

“What shall we say then? Shall we continue in sin that grace may abound?
Certainly not! How shall we who died to sin live any longer in it?” (Rom. 6:1-2)

“For sin shall not have dominion over you, for you are not under law but under grace.
What then? Shall we sin because we are not under law but under grace? Certainly not!” (Rom. 6:14-15)

Paul is using this expression: “Certainly not!” or “By no means!” What Paul in reality is saying is: “That is to misunderstand the message completely!”

He uses this expression when people reach the wrong conclusions and imagine the wrong consequences upon hearing his teaching

He uses this expression when people reach the wrong conclusions and imagine the wrong consequences upon hearing his teaching. In fact, it is he himself who arrests the thought that we shall continue in sin that grace may abound. He understands that some may think that this is what he meant, so he raises the question to give an answer to it.

Unfortunately, this is also relevant to me. After some preachers and writers have tried to misinterpret what we teach, I have to shout out loud: “Certainly not! By no means!”

It is obvious that some completely have misunderstood our teaching about being free from the law. People have claimed that freedom from the law leads to lawlessness. But it is exactly this conclusion Paul is refuting in Rom. 6:1-2 and 14-15. Instead he says that this is the only” passable” way to sanctification and victory over sin!

Therefore, it is a total misconception when some think that we are giving people a license to sin. Some people even think that if we free people from the law, it will lead to lawlessness. Then they have not understood what the Bible talks about when it says that we are free from the law. A born-again Christian, who has the seed of God in him and walks in love, will obviously submit to the laws of God written in his heart, and to the earthly government and its rules.

It is a total misconception when some think that we are giving people a license to sin

The lawlessness that the Bible says will characterize the end times is lawlessness in the world, among the sinners and the ungodly. It is lawlessness connected to the spirit of the Antichrist, who is the lawless one. To mix this with the fight Paul was fighting for the truth of the Gospel and the freedom from the law and legalistic ways is to miss the point completely. It is a mixture of words and phrases caused by confusion of language.

Sanctification is also a work of grace, just like salvation is by grace

Having the Right Understanding of Grace. At the end of Romans 5 Paul is praising “the riches of His grace.” He says,“Moreover the law entered that the offense might abound. But where sin abounded, grace abounded much more, so that as sin reigned in death, even so grace might reign through righteousness to eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.” (Rom. 5:20-21)

Those who are afraid that we preach too much grace have not caught the continuation and the entirety of the message. Romans 6:1-2 is in fact a direct answer to the thought some might get - that the emphasis Paul is putting on grace might give the people a freedom to sin, since grace is so great.

It is at this point he is calling out, “Certainly not!”

Dead to Sin

In fact, Paul is revealing a very liberating fact for us. Instead of the abounding grace giving you a license to sin, the grace is so great that it sets you free from sin! The blood of Jesus cleanses from all sin and when dying with Him, we died to sin.

This is the part of the Gospel where we lack proper teaching, and it makes people confused. People have missed out on the wonderful message in Romans 6:1-2, what it really is about, because traditional teaching has emphasized on the fall and the sinful nature of mankind. The message is that Jesus has done more than forgive our sins: He has delivered us from sin and its power!

The Word is very clear on the consequence of having “died with Christ”:

“Knowing this, that our old man was crucified with Him, that the body of sin might be done away with, that we should no longer be slaves of sin.” (Rom. 6:6)

The chapter continues to elaborate on this, and explains our union with Jesus in His death and resurrection. “For the death that He died, He died to sin once for all; but the life that He lives, He lives to God. Likewise you also, reckon yourselves to be dead indeed to sin, but alive to God in Christ Jesus our Lord.Therefore do not let sin reign in your mortal body…” (Rom. 6:10-12).

He already showed us that salvation is stronger than the fall in chapter 5:
“For if by the one man’s offense death reigned through the one, much more those who receive abundance of grace and of the gift of righteousness will reign in life through the One, Jesus Christ.” (Rom. 5:17)

Grace Sanctifies

T. B. Barratt wrote a book with a very nice title. In English it would be something like “The Sanctifying Work of Grace”. This is the very point: Sanctification is also a work of grace, just like salvation is by grace. Therefore, Paul is writing to Titus,
“ For the grace of God that brings salvation has appeared to all men, teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly in the present age…” (Tit. 2:11-12)

In other words: Both righteousness and sanctification are given to us in Christ (1 Cor. 1:30). We are saved by grace through faith, not of works. The following verse even tells us that we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works (Eph. 2:8-10).

Consequently, forgiveness and remission of sins plus a new life producing good works are included in His grace. There is no opening for self-effort and human works in any area. He who glories, let him glory in the Lord!

If our own strength or we ourselves played a part in any area, we would have something to boast about. It is natural for men to search for something we can boast about. But our boasting is excluded! If the result is good, it should all be to the praise of the glory of His grace (Eph. 1:6).

It takes away the love of sin; it makes us love the things that God loves and hate the things He hates

Grace and salvation is not of our works, but of God (Eph. 2:8-10).

The new life is not of us, but of God (John 1:12-13).

We cannot think of anything or do anything as being from ourselves, but our sufficiency is from God (2 Cor. 3:5)

It is God who has placed us in Christ, and He has become our righteousness, sanctification, and redemption, so that he who glories, glories in the Lord (1 Cor. 1:30-31).

“The Essence In the Gospel”
A. B. Simpson wrote so beautifully about this. He describes the riches in salvation. First he speaks about the cleansing blood that cleanses from all sin, and then he continues:
“But it is more than this. It is also God’s provision for taking away the sin of the human heart and giving to weak, fallen man the power to be right before God and toward all men.”

He continues:

“Human nature is helpless, and the very essence of the gospel is that it gives the power to choose and do the right. It takes away the love of sin; it makes us love the things that God loves and hate the things He hates. It has power to cleanse, purify, and uplift human nature. It is a divine force placed within the human heart that causes us to walk in His statutes and keep His commandments.”

This is the Gospel that we believe in and are preaching! This message was very much in focus in the so-called “Holiness Movement” that the world experienced at the close of the 19th century. Teachers like Simpson, Kenyon, and John G. Lake brought another dimension of a Christ- centered teaching into an age that was focused on personal experiences, and we owe thanks to the Lord who lifted up these voices that continue to bless and guide us even one hundred years later.

So we want to ask people to pay attention to everything we say, and grasp the entire message.

Our message about freedom from the law is about God’s way of sanctification.


“Only He Who Is Set Free From the Law Is Set Free From Sin”

“For sin shall not have dominion over you, for you are not under law but under grace.” (Rom. 6:14)

This is where the message about freedom from the law has its great strength. I will quote the Norwegian Study Bible:
“Only he who is set free from the law is set free from sin.”

Then you have caught it! Since “the sinful passions were aroused by the law” (Rom. 7:5), salvation had to free us from the law to give us a life in victory over sin. There is nothing wrong with the law - it is holy and just and good. The problem is sin. It was aroused by the law, so that the commandment which was to bring life, brought death. It is this fact that Romans 7 describes in great detail.

It is essential to understand that “what the law could not do in that it was weak through the flesh, God did” (Rom. 8:3). We thank God that He, through Jesus Christ our Lord, has delivered us from “this body of death”, and made us free from “the law of sin and death” (Rom. 7:24-25 and 8:1-2).

Let me remind you again that this life is only obtainable for those who are born-again. We must be born-again to see the kingdom of God.

Free Indeed

Jesus preached about freedom from sin. He said that if we abide in His Word, we shall know the truth and the truth shall make us free (John 8:32). He continues, “Most assuredly, I say to you, whoever commits sin is a slave of sin. And a slave does not abide in the house forever, but a son abides forever. Therefore if the Son makes you free, you shall be free indeed.” (John 8:34-36)

So there is actually a real freedom for the slaves of sin! 1 Pet. 4:1 says that we should arm our mind with this thought: “We have ceased from sin.”

Jesus, Peter, John, and Paul all have a liberating message about freedom from sin.

Na: Åge M. Åleskjær

Former Senior Pastor at Oslo Christian Center, now spending most of his time ministering all over Norway and internationally.

Mengi Kuhusu Åge M. Åleskjær | Nakala iliyoandikwa na Åge M. Åleskjær