What it Means to be “Under the Law”

This is a non-WLC article. When using resources from outside authors, we only publish the content that is 100% in harmony with the Bible and WLC current biblical beliefs. So such articles can be treated as if coming directly from WLC. We have been greatly blessed by the ministry of many servants of Yahuwah. But we do not advise our members to explore other works by these authors. Such works, we have excluded from publications because they contain errors. Sadly, we have yet to find a ministry that is error-free. If you are shocked by some non-WLC published content [articles/episodes], keep in mind Proverbs 4:18. Our understanding of His truth is evolving, as more light is shed on our pathway. We cherish truth more than life, and seek it wherever it may be found.

I would begin with a warning that this study is somewhat deep. This study will require a certain level of concentration. Please pray before reading this. May Yahuwah guide us all! (Yahuwah is the name of our Heavenly Father.)

To everyone I would like to ask the question “Are you under the law?”

According to scripture, IF you are ‘under the law’… then:

  1. The law was written just for you
  2. Sin has dominion over you
  3. You are without faith
  4. You are in need of redemption

While this study is deep, we cannot underestimate its importance. Those who are under the law are in a lot of trouble! They have no salvation!


But the interesting thing about these 4 characteristics I listed is that they couldn’t possibly be speaking of someone who is walking in obedience to the law.

Instead, they indicate that those who are ‘Under the law’ are faithless, unsaved, unrepentant and have sin reigning over them.

Now let’s examine the scriptures in question:

Romans 3:19– Now we know that whatever the law says, it says to those who are under the law, that every mouth may be stopped, and all the world may become guilty before Yahuwah.

This verse speaks of those who are ‘under the law’. This group of people is whom the law is speaking to. i.e. “whatever the law says, it says to those”

One characteristic of this group of people is that when the law speaks to them, “every mouth may be stopped, and all the world may become guilty before Yahuwah.

Could this be speaking of those who are walking in obedience to Yahuwah’s law?

Quite impossible! If this group of people were walking in obedience to Yahuwah’s law, why would their mouths be stopped and declared guilty before Yahuwah when it is read to them?

Of course, this would make no sense. In fact, it’s saying just the opposite. It would need to be saying that those who are ‘under the law’ are those who are not obeying the law…therefore their mouths are stopped and they are guilty before Yahuwah.

Let’s look at this verse again:

Romans 3:19– Now we know that whatever the law says, it says to those who are under the law, that every mouth may be stopped, and all the world may become guilty before Yahuwah.

It says here that ‘all the world’ is guilty before Yahuwah. Does this mean every person in this entire world who has heard His law either is or has been under the law at some point? It must!

But why?

The answer is that EVERYONE, whether Jew or Gentile, has sinned at some point in their life.

1 John 1:8- If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us.

Therefore it makes perfect sense that those who are ‘under the law’ are those who have sinned. They are “guilty before Yahuwah.”

Now let’s look at the next verse:

Romans 3:20– Therefore by the deeds of the law there shall no flesh be justified in his sight: for by the law is the knowledge of sin.

This point is driven further home by this verse. The important word here is “Justified”. “By the deeds of the law (elsewhere translated “works of the law”), shall no man will be justified.” Why is this?

The answer is in the previous verse. “All the world” is guilty before Yahuwah because of the law. The law can’t justify us when we have not kept it. The law only tells us what sin is! Paul even says “by the law is the knowledge of sin”!

Let’s read on:

Romans 3:20- Therefore by the deeds of the law there shall no flesh be justified in his sight: for by the law is the knowledge of sin. 21 But now the righteousness of Yahuwah without the law is manifested, being witnessed by the law and the prophets;

There is a certain righteousness that was predicted in the law and the prophets that was to be given unto men. However, it is written in the prophets that this righteousness was not going to come from the law.

This righteousness was going to come from Yahuwah Himself:

Jeremiah 23:5- Behold, the days come, saith Yahuwah, that I will raise unto David a righteous Branch, and a King shall reign and prosper, and shall execute judgment and justice in the earth. 6 In his days Judah shall be saved, and Israel shall dwell safely: and this is his name whereby he shall be called, Yahuwah OUR RIGHTEOUSNESS.

This is a prophecy about Yahushua (commonly called, “Jesus”) the Messiah. Why is He called “Yahuwah tzidkenu” (Yahuwah our righteousness)?

Isaiah 45:23– I have sworn by myself, the word is gone out of my mouth in righteousness, and shall not return, That unto me every knee shall bow, every tongue shall swear. 24 Surely, shall one say, in Yahuwah have I righteousness and strength: even to him shall men come; and all that are incensed against him shall be ashamed.

Only in Yahuwah can we have righteousness and strength through Yahushua the Messiah!

It is because Yahushua died for our sins and paid the penalty for our sins that we can have eternal life! Why can we have eternal life? Because when we accept Him, it is not our righteousness that Yahuwah sees…but the righteousness of Yahushua the Messiah cleansing us!

Galatians 2:20- “I have been crucified with the Messiah; it is no longer I who live, but the Messiah lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of Yahuwah, who loved me and gave Himself for me.

So in this, Yahuwah became our righteousness in Yahushua the Messiah. In fact, this is what the next verse declares…now in context: Romans 3:21 – But now the righteousness of Yahuwah without the law is manifested, being witnessed by the law and the prophets;

22 Even the righteousness of Yahuwah which is by faith of Yahushua the Messiah unto all and upon all them that believe: for there is no difference: 23 For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of Yahuwah;

These verses sum up well what the true meaning is here. It isn’t our righteousness (keeping His law) that saves us. It isn’t our righteousness (keeping His law) that justifies us.

It is HIS Righteousness that we will have to rely upon…through faith…that is going to save us, justify us and make us His sons and daughters! Maybe some of you have thought this was just some Pauline doctrine…but this is not true! This is straight from the law and the prophets.

Isaiah 54:17- No weapon that is formed against thee shall prosper; and every tongue that shall rise against thee in judgment thou shalt condemn. This is the heritage of the servants of Yahuwah, and their righteousness is of me, saith Yahuwah.

Kepha (Peter) also knew this doctrine:

2 Peter 1:1- Simon Kepha, a bondservant and apostle of Yahushua the Messiah, to those who have obtained like precious faith with us by the righteousness of Yahuwah and of our Savior Yahushua the Messiah:

So don’t think for a moment that the doctrine of ‘not being justified by the works of the law’ is was Paul’s idea and was unheard of before. This doctrine is clearly stated in what’s called the “Old Testament” as well. Let’s now move onto other scripture dealing with those who are ‘under the law’

Romans 6:12- Let not sin therefore reign in your mortal body, that ye should obey it in the lusts thereof.

Paul is telling the Romans to not let sin reign in their “mortal body”. Yes, we are at this time in our lives ‘mortal’. There will come a time when we will no longer be mortal…but be immortal when we rise from the dead…at that time we will be totally sinless people….but we should be living that way now!

Next verse:

Romans 6:13- Neither yield ye your members as instruments of unrighteousness unto sin: but yield yourselves unto Yahuwah, as those that are alive from the dead, and your members as instruments of righteousness unto Yahuwah.

We need to yield ourselves unto Yahuwah as one immortal, alive from the dead and let our members be instruments of righteousness…not unrighteousness.

Next verse:

Romans 6:14- For sin shall not have dominion over you: for ye are not under the law, but under grace.

It is promised that sin shall not have dominion over us because we are not under the law, but under grace/favor! What does this mean?

According to the other scripture in Romans we discussed, being under the law is referring to those who are relying on their own righteousness/law-keeping to be justified on that final day…they will be judged guilty for their sins.

But those who have accepted Yahuwah’s righteousness through Yahushua the Messiah are ‘under grace/favor’!

They have been forgiven for their sins now and are relying on Yahushua’s righteousness to justify them. Now that this has happened, are we free to go back and purposely sin/break that law once again?

above the law??

Romans 6:15- What then? shall we sin, because we are not under the law, but under grace? Yahuwah forbid!

Why would we go again into that life we led before? We sinned! Sin is transgressing His law!

1 John 3:4- Whoever commits sin trangresses also the law, for sin is the transgression of the law.

We sinned, and this is why Yahushua had to die for us in the first place! As Paul said “Yahuwah forbid!” or more accurately translated “By no means!”

Romans 6:16- Know ye not, that to whom ye yield yourselves servants to obey, his servants ye are to whom ye obey; whether of sin unto death, or of obedience unto righteousness?

So are we going to serve sin ‘unto death’ or be a servant of Yahuwah walking in obedience unto righteousness?

Sadly, the idea of disobeying Yahuwah’s law because we are ‘under grace’ is a common doctrine among believers in the Messiah today. It ought not be so!

Now let’s look at one final scripture that is very popular among those who believe in this doctrine:

Galatians 3:21- Is the law then against the promises of Yahuwah? Certainly not! For if there had been a law given which could have given life, truly righteousness would have been by the law.

In context of Galatians 3, the law is not against the promises of Yahuwah (that promise being that we would be justified and blessed through a son of Abraham…Yahushua the Messiah). We CAN’T be justified by keeping His law when we have broken it.

We NEED the righteousness of Yahuwah!

Galatians 3:22- But the Scripture has confined all under sin, that the promise by faith in Yahushua the Messiah might be given to those who believe.

We were all ‘under the law’ and ‘under sin’.

Galatians 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 the Messiah, that we might be justified by faith.

In this, the law was our tutor or schoolmaster….guarding us from sin. But then in our failures it was also teaching us that we were sinners! It taught us that we have no choice but to be justified by faith in Yahuwah alone. We needed a Righteous One to be a mediator between us and a holy Mighty One!

Galatians 3:25- But after faith has come, we are no longer under a tutor.

The law was our tutor, we were “under the law.” But now that we have put our faith in Yahushua the Messiah, trusted in the one called “Yahuwah our Righteousness” and been cleansed, sanctified and redeemed by His blood…we are no longer ‘under the law’!

If we were under the law, the only way we could possibly be saved is if we NEVER SINNED.

There is only ONE who ‘never sinned’. He was born under the law…yet without sin

Galatians 4:4- But when the fullness of the time had come, Yahuwah sent forth His Son, born of a woman, born under the law, 5 to redeem those who were under the law, that we might receive the adoption as sons.

We are adopted sons of Yahuwah through the righteousness of Yahushua the Messiah! We are saved from having to live a perfect and sinless life.. Therefore, again our salvation cannot come by our own righteousness/law-keeping…but by HIS righteousness alone.

Galatians 5:18– But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under the law.

Now if we were to take the conclusion that many would love to take in this verse, we would be saying “If we are led by the Spirit, we don’t have to be obedient to Yahuwah’s law”. But how can this possibly be? Every verse we have examined thus far has said just the opposite.

Fact is, we have found out that those who are DISOBEDIENT and apart from the Messiah are the ones under His law.

Indeed even the following verses in this Galatians 5 prove that one who is walking in the Spirit is NOT free to be disobedient!

Galatians 5:18- But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under the law. 19 Now the works of the flesh are evident, which are: adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lewdness, 20 idolatry, sorcery, hatred, contentions, jealousies, outbursts of wrath, selfish ambitions, dissensions, heresies, 21 envy, murders, drunkenness, revelries, and the like; of which I tell you beforehand, just as I also told you in time past, that those who practice such things will not inherit the kingdom of Yahuwah. 22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness, self-control. Against such there is no law.

The works of the flesh are disobedience to Yahuwah’s law. The fruits of the Spirit is obedience to His law…how clear! To say we are not ‘under the law’ can’t possibly mean we are free to break it!

In fact, it means just the opposite! So who is this group of people who are ‘under the law’?

In Paul’s day, it was those Jews who were trusting in their righteousness to be saved rather than accepting Yahushua the Messiah and letting Yahuwah be their righteousness.

Today though, it is those that do not have Yahushua or those who have chosen to purposely sin/break His law again after accepting the Messiah. They are putting themselves right back under the law!

If this is what you have been taught to do then I warn you today that you have been taught a serious error!

The law of Yahuwah has been blasphemed and ignored for 2000 years. It’s high time that we lift it up as the standard for all men to live by. Once we are justified by the Righteousness of Yahuwah, we need to let all men know that we are not to go back to that old sin again.

We may not be “under the law”, but this doesn’t mean that we are to live like we are “ABOVE the law” either!

Yahuwah hasn’t removed the standard, He has merely forgiven us for not living up to that standard.

To have Yahuwah as our righteousness…truly there is no greater blessing in the world! Yahushua died for you so that you would be forgiven for failing to live up to that standard.

Let us not return and insult the spirit of grace…but let’s live a new life… Walking in HIS obedience.. Walking in HIS mercy… Walking in HIS Spirit!


walking in HIS Spirit

This is a non-WLC article written by Tom Martincic.

We have taken out from the original article all pagan names and titles of the Father and Son, and have replaced them with the original given names. Furthermore, we have restored in the Scriptures quoted the names of the Father and Son, as they were originally written by the inspired authors of the Bible. -WLC Team