“For sin shall not have dominion over you, for you are not under law, but under grace.”
Wow, this is a powerful, radical verse of scripture. What is it saying? I’m not 100% sure, but I can ponder a few things.
First, what does it mean to not be under law? Paul says that we are not under law. He’s referring to the old testament law. The people in the old testament lived under law. They had the 10 commandments and many more commandments that they were required to follow. And they failed miserably at trying to follow them. They lived in a time and government where they were severely punished when they disobeyed those laws. Their sins were counted against them and they suffered grave consequences for their sins in the form of God’s Judgement. It was basically this: God set the rules and commanded His people to obey them. Whoever disobeyed was punished. It is very similar to the United States justice system.
But the problem was that God cared so much about His people that this just wouldn’t do. He loved even those who sinned against Him time and again. He knew they would disobey, so He shut up everyone in unbelief so he could have mercy upon all (Rom 11:32) and He started a new covenant of grace that He made with His Son, Jesus Christ.
Now we live under grace and not law. Why? Because sin is not imputed unto us anymore (Rom 4:8). Sin was imputed to Jesus on the cross and he bore it for humanity. God is not judging us based off of our sins anymore. Jesus bore those sins. All of our past, present, and future sins are borne (except those in the case of Heb 10:26 – which is another sermon itself) and gone forever.
So sin can’t possibly rule over us anymore. It can’t make us feel condemned and unworthy, because those sins have been dealt with. Instead of imputing to us our sin, God imputed to us Christ’s righteousness! Oh, what a great deal for us! He took our sin, and we got His righteousness. Hallelujah!