In our relationship with the first Adam we had no freedom at all, the members of the old Adam being under obligation to furnish personal righteousness before God, as moral beings responsible to Him (in doing all he was told to do, e.g. “dress and keep” the Garden – Gen 2:15; avoid the Tree of knowledge of good and evil – v 16, 17; naming all the creatures – v 19, etc.—NC). But our position as believers is declared by Paul to have been perfectly secured in the risen Lord Jesus Christ; our responsibility in the fallen Adam and in connection with him having been met and discharged in our Federal Head, the Lord Jesus, who became sin for us at the Cross (2Co 5:21), “that we might become the righteousness of God in Him” (not literally becoming sin but rather made out to be sin, by imputation, i.e. sin or “iniquity laid on Him”- Isa 53:6 - and not in Him, for deity cannot become sin—NC).
To declare, therefore, that new creatures in Christ Jesus are under the law, either for salvation, or as a rule for Christian living is like unto prescribing rules to an apple tree. Simply seek to have the conditions of growth fulfilled and it will then bear fruit. So a human soul in order to “bear fruit unto God” (Rom 7:4), must live in that truth that sets it free (the tree doesn’t need rules to show it’s an apple tree, just application of what causes it to show what it is, e.g. dirt, water and sunlight, etc.—NC).
The Christian has been born from above and was never meant to be in any other state than the freedom of heaven, in his life and service. This is shown by the words “even so” or “likewise” in Romans 6:11. We are told in verse 10 that Christ having been made sin died unto sin “once for all” (Heb 10:10), but “the life He liveth, He liveth into God” (Rom 6:10). For that reason, since we are in Christ Jesus, having died with Him, we are to live as risen beings who died with Him; being now ourselves “alive unto God” in Him (Rom 6:11). The word “likewise” here (v 11) shows that “even as He is, so are we in this world” (1Jo 4:17). Presently He is not under law (as He was before His resurrection—NC), yet He delights in the will of the Father in the very spirit and essence of it, as His inner and absolute pleasure.
Pauls’ blessed doctrine that those who are in Christ Jesus are dead to the law and discharged therefrom (concerning the Jewish Christians—NC), is absolutely necessary to those who would “walk in the Spirit” and make progress in their spiritual growth. To be filled with the Spirit at one time, does not prove that we will be walking in the Spirit at a later time (we live in the Spirit, but we are taught the rest of our lives to walk in Him - Gal 5:25—NC). For example, Peter was filled with the Spirit on the day of Pentecost; but later, at Antioch, we find him “walking not uprightly according to the Gospel (Gal 2:14 – believers are always “after the Spirit” but none are always in step with Him, due the old man – Rom 8:5).
No blessing can take the place of the truth. “Ye shall know the truth and the truth shall make you free.” So, our Lord’s promise is, “Sanctify them through thy truth: thy word is truth.” If we have been taught to believe what is contrary to the written Word of God, although we may have blessings now and then, we cannot become established (“be conformed” in our walk – Rom 8:28—NC) in the risen Lord Jesus (Eph 4:15) until we see and receive the truth.
How can the Holy Spirit lead the saints of God except He leads them into truth? He is “the Spirit of truth!” To teach believers that they are under the law as a rule of life is to teach what is contrary to the Word of God (Gal 5:18); for the Spirit of God declares unto us in Romans 6 and 7, that we have died to the law that made such demands on us (e.g. perfect obedience, a non-expected impossibility—NC), that we could do nothing but sin, even in seeking to keep it! So that the Spirit saith, “Sin shall not have dominion over you, for ye are not under the law but under grace.”
We had to be discharged from the law so that we could serve the Father in the true spirit of service, which is always liberty and gladness (instead of fear of judgement—NC). The same blessed Spirit of God has distinctly written to us, that “we were made dead to the law by the body of Christ” (Rom 7:4; Heb 10:10); that our death with Him was a fact, and that we who are now in Him share that death, He being our Federal Head, “our Life” (Col 3:4), instead of Adam the first (1Co 15:45); because we, having died with the Lord Jesus, have been positioned before the Father with Him.
—Wm R Newell (1868-1956)