Sin shall not have dominion over you - God delivers you from it; and if you again become subject to it, it will be the effect of your own choice or negligence.
Ye are not under the law - That law which exacts obedience, without giving power to obey; that condemns every transgression and every unholy thought without providing for the extirpation of evil or the pardon of sin.
But under grace - Ye are under the merciful and beneficent dispensation of the Gospel, that, although it requires the strictest conformity to the will of God, affords sufficient power to be thus conformed; and, in the death of Christ, has provided pardon for all that is past, and grace to help in every time of need.
For sin - The propensity or inclination to sin.
Shall not have dominion - Shall not reign, Romans 5:12; Romans 6:6. This implies that sin ought not to have this dominion; and it also expresses the conviction of the apostle that it would not have this rule over Christians.
For we are not under law - We who are Christians are not subject to that law where sin is excited, and where it rages unsubdued. But it may be asked here, What is meant by this declaration? Does it mean that Christians are absolved from all the obligations of the law? I answer,
(1)The apostle does not affirm that Christians are not bound to obey the moral law. The whole scope of his reasoning shows that he maintains that they are. The whole structure of Christianity supposes the same thing; compare Matthew 5:17-19.
(2)the apostle means to say that Christians are not under the law as legalists, or as attempting to be justified by it. They seek a different plan of justification altogether: and they do not attempt to be justified by their own obedience. The Jews did; they do not.
(3)it is implied here that the effect of an attempt to be justified by the Law was not to subdue sins, but to excite them and to lead to indulgence in them.
Justification by works would destroy no sin, would check no evil propensity, but would leave a man to all the ravages and riotings of unsubdued passion. If, therefore, the apostle had maintained that people were justified by works, he could not have consistently exhorted them to abandon their sins. He would have had no powerful motives by which to urge it; for the scheme would not lead to it. But he here says that the Christian was seeking justification on a plan which contemplated and which accomplished the destruction of sin; and he therefore infers that sin should not have dominion over them.
But under grace - Under a scheme of mercy, the design and tendency of which is to subdue sin, and destroy it. In what way the system of grace removes and destroys sin, the apostle states in the following verses.
“The prince of this world cometh,” said Jesus, “and hath nothing in me.” There was in Him nothing that responded to Satan's sophistry. He did not consent to sin. Not even by a thought did He yield to temptation. So may it be with us. Christ's humanity was united with divinity; He was fitted for the conflict by the indwelling of the Holy Spirit.... So long as we are united to Him by faith, sin has no more dominion over us. God reaches for the hand of faith in us to direct it to lay fast hold upon the divinity of Christ, that we may attain to perfection of character.... Every promise in God's Word is ours. RC 308.6Read in context »
The acceptance of Christ's atonement is the groundwork of true faith.... Those who will look long enough into the divine mirror to see and despise their sins, their unlikeness to the meek and lowly Jesus, will have strength to overcome. All who truly believe will confess and forsake their sins. They will cooperate with Christ in the work of bringing their hereditary and cultivated tendencies to wrong under the control of the divine will, so that sin shall not have dominion over them. Looking to Jesus, the author and finisher of their faith, they will be changed into His likeness. They will grow up into the full stature of men and women in Christ Jesus.... Those who truly believe, who confess and forsake their sins, will grow more and more like Christ, until of them it can in heaven be said, “Ye are complete in him.” Colossians 2:10. OHC 117.3Read in context »
Here is held out the very thing for which we are to labor: “But the fruit of the Spirit is love.” If we have the love of Christ in our souls it will be a natural consequence for us to have all the other graces—joy, peace, long-suffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, temperance; and “against such there is no law.” The law of God does not condemn and hold in bondage those who have these graces, because they are obeying the requirements of the law of God. They are law keepers, and ... are not under the bondage of the law.... HP 244.2Read in context »