Will Obeying the Law Give Me Victory Over Sin?

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


The law controlled Israel and kept them under its power until the time came when faith would be revealed, through Christ. The Law was supposed to be their teacher until the Messiah came, and salvation through faith would include all nations on earth in the New Covenant. When faith finally arrived, the tutor of the Law was not needed anymore:


Gal 3: 23 But before faith came, we were kept under guard by the law, kept for the faith which would afterward be revealed. 24 Therefore the law was our tutor to bring us to Christ, that we might be justified by faith. 25 But after faith has come, we are no longer under a tutor. (NKJV)

The law demanded that Israel live a perfectly holy life 100% of the time. Failure to comply resulted in punishment and death. These requirements never changed. The Law is what it is and grace cannot change the Law’s mind. The only way for them to come out from under the law was to die to the Law.


Rom 7:4 Therefore, my brethren, you also have become dead to the law through the body of Christ, that you may be married to another – to Him who was raised from the dead, that we should bear fruit to God. (NKJV)


Gal 2:19 For I through the law died to the law that I might live to God. (NKJV)


Trying to obey the law will only end up in breaking the Law, because nobody on the face of the earth can obey the law 100% of the time. Nobody ever could, except Jesus Christ. Grace also does not enable us to keep the Law. Rather Grace enables us to live and feed from the life of God of which He has made us partakers, filling us with His mighty Holy Spirit. Any good works that flow from us as a result of this is simply a fruit of the Spirit inside us, so we really have nothing to boast about.


The Bible says the strength of sin is the Law, because it is only through the Law that we know what sin is. It is the Law that brought sin to life!


Rom 7:7 What shall we say then? Is the law sin? Certainly not! On the contrary, I would not have known sin except through the law. For I would not have known covetousness unless the law had said, “You shall not covet.” 8 But sin, taking opportunity by the commandment, produced in me all manner of evil desire. 9 I was alive once without the law, but when the commandment came, sin revived and I died. 10 And the commandment, which was to bring life, I found to bring death. (NKJV)


Rom 5:20a Moreover the law entered that the offense might abound. (NKJV)


1 Cor 15:56 The sting of death is sin, and the strength of sin is the law. (NKJV)


Rom 3:20 Therefore by the deeds of the law no flesh will be justified in His sight, for by the law is the knowledge of sin. (NKJV)


But how then are we supposed to live in obedience? If we don’t have any standard to measure our performance by, how can we know that we are really obeying God? The answer is simpler than we may think:  By simply believing in Jesus and the victory He has obtained for us.


1 John 5:4 For whatever is born of God overcomes the world. And this is the victory that has overcome the world – our faith. (NKJV)


It is through faith that we please God, not by trying to live more holy:


Heb 11:6a But without faith it is impossible to please Him. (NKJV)

Gal 3:12a  And the law is not of faith… (NKJV)


Combining these last two verses we see that we cannot please God by trying to live according to the law.


Now we may also ask: “What are we then supposed to do? Doesn’t God expect us to do something?” There were some people that asked Jesus the exact same question:


John 6:28 Then they said to Him, “What shall we do, that we may work the works of God?” 29 Jesus answered and said to them, “This is the work of God, that you believe in Him whom He sent”. (NKJV)


Our faith is stirred when we spend time in the presence of God and have supernatural encounters with Him, when we worship Him, when we experience the fulfillment of seeing heaven kiss earth, when we receive revelation that renews our mind and when we hear Him speak to us:


Rom 10:17 So then faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God. (NKJV)


When we experience these things, a natural result will be victory over sin, good works and a holy lifestyle motivated by love for God. That’s why it’s called the “fruit” of the Spirit.



Jesus Preached the Law


Jesus talked mostly about the law only to people who were heavily under the influence of the law. He was not encouraging them to try and obey the law more; instead He was showing them that they were hypocrites for teaching others to keep all the laws while they themselves could not do it either.


In Luke 18 a rich young ruler asked Jesus what he should do to inherit eternal life. This was the man’s first mistake. He wanted to do something to inherit eternal life, believing he could earn it. Jesus, realizing that this man was relying heavily on obeying the law for his salvation, answered him:


Luke 18:20 You know the commandments: ‘Do not commit adultery,’ ‘Do not murder,’ ‘Do not steal,’ ‘Do not bear false witness,’ ‘Honor your father and your mother.’’ 21 And he (the rich young ruler) said, “All these things I have kept from my youth.” 22 So when Jesus heard these things, He said to him, “You still lack one thing. Sell all that you have and distribute to the poor, and you will have treasure in Heaven; and come, follow Me.” 23 But then he heard this, he became very sorrowful, for he was very rich. (NKJV, annotations added)


Jesus simply showed the man that however well he thought he may have been keeping the law, he would always fall short. The law will always tell us that we have not done enough, that we need to accomplish more; to be more holy and to perform better. Trying to obey the law will never give people victory over sin – it will only show them how far they fall short. But praise be to God, there was one man who did it all on our behalf: Jesus Christ!


Our key verse for this chapter implies that as long as we try to live under the law, sin will have dominion over us.


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


However when we come out from under the law, realizing that there is now a better way to live, namely by faith, we are enabled to achieve victory over all those bad habits and mistakes we kept on making while living under the law. Now is that powerful or what?