Romans 6:14 For sin will have no dominion over you, for you are not under law but under grace.
Simply put, mainstream theology ‘claims’ that the apostle Paul is telling us in this verse, that the Law of God given through Moses is done away with and no longer applicable; it’s taught that we are not obliged to observe or obey it, because we are “not under law”.
The mainstream premise is, “not under law” means “not required to observe and obey the Law of God given through Moses because it now lacks validity and authority”.
Let’s test that…
Before we look at the original Greek though, let’s use a little critical thinking and logic.
Paul said in this verse, “sin will have no dominion over you, for you are not under law…”.
Logically then, when you are “under law”, sin will have dominion over you.
If “under law” means “required to observe and obey the valid and authoritative Law of God given through Moses”, then, was not Jesus “under law”? Wasn’t Jesus required to observe and obey the valid Law of Moses? As a son of Israel from the tribe of Judah, of course Jesus was required to obey the authoritative Law of Moses.
However, the mainstream premise now requires Jesus to also be under the dominion of sin!
The argument falls apart right there; ‘For Sin will have dominion over Jesus, for Jesus was required to observe and obey (under) the law’. That makes absolutely no logical, or doctrinal sense.
“Under law” can not and does not mean “required to observe and obey the authoritative law”. If it did, then according to Paul, sin would have had dominion over Jesus.
Let’s break it down…
“Under law” is “ὑπὸ νόμον (hypo nomon)” in the Greek. ‘Nomon’, or ‘Law’, is in the Accusative Case. Therefore, according to Thayer’s Greek Lexicon, Strong’s G5259 “hypo/ under“ means: subject to the power of.
The Law of God has the power to accuse us and bring charges against us when we violate it (sin). When our sin has dominion over us, we become ‘subject to that power’ and the Law rightly judges us guilty.
“For sin will have no dominion over you since you are not under law”; Paul directly links sin not having “dominion over you” with not being “under law”. Therefore, if sin “had dominion” over you then you would be subject to (under) the power of the law.
Romans 6:14 has nothing to do with whether or not the law is binding and should be obeyed. It has everything to do with ‘what power you are being subjected to’ now that you are in Christ, compared to before when you walked according to the flesh, when sin had dominion over you.
Context, Context, Context.
What is the context of the surrounding verses?
In Chapter 5, Paul explained that all have sinned, i.e., broken the Law of God given through Moses, which leads to death. He says the Law was brought in, in order to show that sin abounds, or that sin exists in abundance. However, through the mercy and grace of God we have the free gift of redemption offered to us, should we choose to repent of our sins. Our ransom has been paid, and we are now freed from our bondage to sin (sins dominion over us v.14); please click this link and read ‘Free from the law of Sin and Death‘.
Paul starts chapter 6 by asking, ‘shall we continue in sin now that we are baptized into Christ?’ ~
Romans 6:1-3 1What shall we say then? Are we to continue in sin that grace may abound? 2By no means! How can we who died to sin still live in it? 3Do you not know that all of us who have been baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death?
Should we continue in the sin that created the need for Jesus to die?
Stop and think for a second; ask yourself, ‘which sin‘ are we not to “continue” in.
According to Paul it’s the same sin he’s been talking about for this entire letter, which is, the sin of ‘breaking the Law of God given through Moses’. This is ‘the Law’ of chapter 5 verse 20, that “came in” to show that sin abounds; “Are we to continue in the sin of breaking the Law of God given through Moses so that grace may abound?” Paul said, “by no means“!
Do you see? ‘By no means are we to break the Law of God given through Moses!‘, says Paul. That’s the sin he just told us we had all been guilty of. Then he stated, even though we are now subject to the power of grace, we should “by no means“ continue in “that sin“.
Paul is adamantly telling us that we have a choice to make, and that choice is to NOT continue in that sin that required the death of Jesus!
Think logically, not emotionally.
Paul then claims that those united in Christ, have crucified their ‘old man’ so that we are no longer enslaved to sin, (“sin will have no dominion over you” v.14). Our ‘old man’, the slave to sin, having died to sin, is now acquitted from, or justified from our prior sins (not guilty “under the law”) ~
Romans 6:5-7 5For if we have been united with him in a death like his, we shall certainly be united with him in a resurrection like his. 6We know that our old self was crucified with him in order that the body of sin might be brought to nothing, so that we would no longer be enslaved to sin. 7For one who has died has been justified from sin.
Then Paul referred to the resurrection of the Messiah from the dead because, having no sin himself, death had no dominion over him. Now alive, he lives to do the will of God ~
Romans 6:8-10 8But if we died with Christ, we believe that we shall also live with him; 9knowing that Christ being raised from the dead dies no more; death no more hath dominion over him. 10For the death that he died, he died unto sin once: but the life that he lives, he lives unto God.
The next 3 verses by Paul are critical, because they highlight the context that culminates with the verse in question. The “context” is sins dominion or reign in our lives. Paul is telling us that if we are alive in Christ, we must consider ourselves dead to the act of sinning. He does not say that sin doesn’t exist anymore, he tells us that we are not to obey it now that we are in the Messiah.
We must not let ourselves “obey” the lusts of the flesh anymore, which would let sin continue to have dominion over us (shall we continue in sin? v.1).
Paul then instructs us to present ourselves to God as instruments of righteousness. ~
Romans 6:11-13 11Even so reckon ye also yourselves to be dead unto sin, but alive unto God in Christ Jesus. 12‘Let’ not sin therefore reign in your mortal body, that ye should obey the lusts thereof: 13neither present your members unto sin as instruments of unrighteousness; but present yourselves unto God, as alive from the dead, and your members as instruments of righteousness unto God.
Paul just said, ‘we are not to “Let” (active responsibility on our part, v.13) sin “REIGN” in our body; this is the reference point to verse 14 when he stated ‘since sin has no “DOMINION” over you’…!
So, the context up to now has been:
- All have sinned, i.e., broken the Law of God given through Moses
- The power of the Law “charges our sins against us”, holding us accountable before God
- The Law of Moses “came in” to define what sin is and show that sin exists in abundance
- Shall we continue to sin (continue to break the Law of God given through Moses) so that grace may abound? Paul said, ‘No Way!’
- Those in Christ died to sin, i.e. died to breaking the Law of Moses
- The one who has died is justified, i.e., acquitted from ones past sins
- Therefore, do not continue to let sin “have dominion” in your body all over again
- Be righteous before God ~
~ present your members to God as instruments of righteousness because sin has no dominion over you since, you are not under law but under grace.
What Paul is saying in Romans 6:11-14 is this: now that we are in Christ, ‘if we are in Christ‘, we won’t choose to continue sinning (breaking the Law of God given through Moses) because we have put to death our ‘old man of sin’. With that death, we have died with Jesus, therefore we must consider ourselves dead to committing sin, to not “LET” sin have dominion over us. In His death we are acquitted/justified from our “past” sins. Those past sins are now, no longer ‘subject to the power’ of Law to accuse or condemn us. The Law cannot judge us guilty or hold us accountable for our “prior” sins because now we are ‘subject to the power’ of grace for those sins.
Amen and Hallelu Yah!
So, what does Paul say in the next verse?
Romans 6:15 What then? Are we to sin because we are not under law but under grace? By no means!
This is a repeat question that Paul asked in verse one ~
Romans 6:1 What shall we say then? Are we to continue in sin that grace may abound? By no means!
Are we to break the Law of God given through Moses and sin anyway because now we’re under the power of grace? Are we to continue in the sin that required the death of Jesus in the first place? Paul says ‘no way‘ both times!
Is Paul redefining sin here? Is the sin in verse 15 different than the sin in verse 1?
Is sin whatever we want it to be? Who is the Potter and who is the clay? Do we as mere humans get to redefine sin? Of course not.
The sin that we are not to continue in is that same sin which put us in the position of needing grace in the first place! “That sin“ is disobeying the Law of God given through Moses; it always has been and always will be. The definition of sin has not changed, God does not change, and Paul commands us not to continue in that sin.
How did Paul know what sin is? Paul himself told us that the Law of Moses shows us what sin is ~
Romans 3:19-20 19Now we know that whatever the law says it speaks to those who are in the law, so that every mouth may be stopped, and the whole world may be held accountable to God. 20For by works of the law no human being will be justified in his sight, since ‘through the law’ comes knowledge of sin.
Romans 7:7 Yet if it had not been for the law, I would not have known sin.
John is a second witness ~
1 John 3:4 Everyone who makes a practice of sinning also practices lawlessness; sin is lawlessness.
From where in the Scriptures did Paul and John understand that God’s definition of “sin” is breaking ‘the Law of God given through Moses’? ~
Numbers 15:22-23 22But if you sin unintentionally, and do not observe all these commandments that the LORD has spoken to Moses, 23all that the LORD has commanded you by Moses, from the day that the LORD gave commandment, and onward throughout your generations
David understood that sin is wandering from the LORD’s commandments ~
Psalm 119:10-11 10With my whole heart I seek you; let me not wander from your commandments 11I have stored up your word in my heart, that I might not sin against you.
The prophets witness the same ~
Jeremiah 16:10-11 10What is the sin that we have committed against the LORD our God?’ 11then you shall say to them: Because your fathers have forsaken me, declares the LORD, and have gone after other gods and have served and worshiped them, and have forsaken me and have not kept my law
God’s Law defines what sin is; Paul said so in the verses above; the entirety of the Scriptures states this fact!
How does Paul feel about the Law of God given through Moses?
Romans 2:18b and know His will and approve what is excellent, because you are instructed from the law;
Romans 2:20b an instructor of the foolish, a teacher of children, having in the law the embodiment of knowledge and truth—
Romans 3:31 Do we then make void the law by this faith? By no means! On the contrary, we uphold the law.
Romans 7:12 So the law is holy, and the commandment is holy and righteous and good.
Please, please take note that Paul stated in Romans 3:31 that we are to uphold the Law and not void it, even though we have ‘faith’!!! The Greek word for “make void” is Strong’s G2673, katargoumen, and means: to nullify, to abolish. So, the apostle Paul just said, ‘do we abolish the Law? By no means!… we uphold the Law!’
It doesn’t get any plainer than that.
Please click these links and read ‘Paul Commands Us to Uphold the Law‘ or watch it on YouTube, in order to study and understand the Greek word definitions in this verse.
Final thought: Paul himself obeyed and kept the Law of God given through Moses for his entire life ~
Acts 21:24b Thus all will know that there is nothing in what they have been told about you, but that you yourself (Paul) also live in observance of the law
Why would he live his life observing the law if it was abolished and nobody is required to observe it?
Logic, not emotion…
Please read “You Yourself Also Live in Observance of the Law” or you can watch it on YouTube as well.
- For further study of Paul’s teachings, as well as the original Greek, see the ‘Links’ at the top of this page or blog posts at the bottom. Be like the Bereans, and test Paul’s doctrines to the “Scriptures”; look up for yourself more than 60 of the “forever verses” listed directly below. Please ‘share’ this study. Thank you for your time!
6 thoughts on “Subject to the Power of the Law | Romans 6:14”
romans 3:20 and 7:7 above. From what you’ve written it seems like Paul says without knowing the law he people do not know sin. if all unrighteousness is sin, wouldn’t that be our conscience?
I know there are verses that say people can have their conscience seared (by doing or being exposed to evil), does that mean if it isn’t the case they have that inner guidance towards good? Even psychopaths who have been studied understand what is right and wrong, they just don’t care.
Proverbs 20:27 seems like it indicates people are given a conscience by God
27 The spirit of man is the candle of the Lord,
searching all the inward parts of the belly.
Romans 2:14-16 also seems to imply that gentiles unfamiliar with the law can also understand it inherently (naturally) because of it being in their conscience, their heart. Part of this verse is in parentheses, why?
12 For as many as have sinned without law shall also perish without law: and as many as have sinned in the law shall be judged by the law; 13 (for not the hearers of the law are just before God, but the doers of the law shall be justified. 14 For when the Gentiles, which have not the law, do by nature the things contained in the law, these, having not the law, are a law unto themselves: 15 which shew the work of the law written in their hearts, their conscience also bearing witness, and their thoughts the mean while accusing or else excusing one another;) 16 in the day when God shall judge the secrets of men by Jesus Christ according to my gospel.
p.s. i landed on this site while doing a search for information about Paul after seeing a vid on yt claiming he taught against the law. There seems to be much disagreement and confusion about this. The other area of disagreement I have seen is the idea of ‘Once Saved Always Saved’, I am not sure what to make of that.
Thank you for taking the time to both read the study and to write a comment!
The conscience of man does understand the basic difference between right and wrong, and even without the knowledge of God’s Law as the completeness of it, mankind has made distinct decisions to do the right thing the majority of the time. However, without the Law to guide us, the “right” decisions are skewed because of our self-sovereignty inclination; the wrong decision is often made because of man’s selfishness, haughtiness and, as you mentioned ‘seared’ mind. We need God’s Law so that we can do what is “right” according to what “He” knows is right, not according to what we think is right.
‘Romans’ chapters 1-3 in context is Paul writing to the Jews in Rome that were believers in the Messiah, but as teachers of the Law they were not practicing what they preached to the non-Jews coming to faith and obedience to the Law (please read the three-part study of Romans chapter 2 on my website to get the complete contextual understanding). He was trying to convey the need for faith in Messiah as the means of our justification, as the Law does not account for that. At the same time, Paul also defends the validity and necessity of the Law so that we can walk righteously before God.
If you haven’t already, I would recommend reading all of the “Romans” studies on my site. Try to read them in the chronological order of the verses as opposed to when I posted them.
As far as your question regarding Romans 2:14-16; there is much confusion, again, because of horrendous English translation, as well as a complete misunderstanding of the context. Not to mention the translators had the biased opinion that the Law of Moses was abolished when they were writing the verses into English.
Verse 14 not only has the comma in the wrong place (there are no punctuations in Koine Greek anyways), but there is a wrong understanding of when and what the gentiles are actually obeying; Paul is not saying that the gentiles do not have or observe the Law but somehow “naturally” do the right thing.
Paul is telling the Jews in Rome that the people who were ‘born’ gentile, those who did not naturally from birth have knowledge of the law because they were born into a life/community that does not have possession of the Law of Moses, but now they have knowledge of it. They show they have the Law written on their hearts because they are doing what the Law requires. They are doing/obeying the Law and that, according to Paul, proves they have the Law written on their hearts | Romans 2:15.
If you are going to put a comma in the sentence it needs go after the word ‘naturally’ not after the word ‘Law’… the context of the verse reads, “when Gentiles who do not have the law by nature, do what the law requires”…
The gentiles originally did not possess the law because naturally, “by nature”, the pagan nations do not have the law of Moses.
The gentiles in question in Paul’s letter, at the time of his writing knew the Law and were keeping it. Paul is trying to show the Law observant believers that “were” raised in Law (Jewish-believers) were being hypocrites and that the believers who were not raised in the Law are actually obeying it from their heart now, when those Jewish-believers were not.
The “inherent understanding” in man is that there is a God, by seeing His creation we know He exists (Romans 1:18-32), and because of that understanding we should seek Him to know what He requires of us.
With regards to the parenthesis: in the English Bibles you see parentheses because the modern “translator” decided to put it there; there are ‘no’ punctuation in Koine Greek or Hebrew. The most common reason for parentheses is because it was the “translator’s” personal opinion that there was a separate thought or idea identified within the contextual flow of the narrative.
You mentioned some think Paul taught against the Law; that thought process is the reason for my website. Please read the studies on apulogetic.com and you will see that that doctrine is false.
Lastly, with regards to ‘Once Saved, Always Saved’ (OSAS), there’s no such thing. Please read the study ‘Salvation vs Eternal Life’. The idea of OSAS only started in the 1800’s; no person or religious entity thought OSAS was a doctrine until then. It was invented to justify and rational-lie to themselves that you can do whatever you want in this life and you can still enter the Kingdom of God. The mainstream denominational System has totally misconstrued what ‘salvation’ is, their understanding of what “saved” means is wrong. “Saved” is not a status or a condition of a believer in Messiah, as is proved scripturally in ‘Salvation vs Eternal Life’.
I hope that helps. May Yah bless you as you continue to read and study His Word.