Sunday, January 03, 2010

Word of the Week for Jan 3rd, 2010

Lucas Cranach the Elder: woodcut Law and grace...Image via Wikipedia

One of the hardest things to do is to apply God’s Word to ourselves in an honest way. It can feel extremely awkward. We often don’t know what place to look at first. There are a couple reasons for this.

First, not many people read the Bible regularly enough to know what is where. Unfamiliarity with the text itself prevents us from finding comfort. The solution to that problem is simple enough. Read the Bible, come to know the people in that book, how they lived, how they sinned, and how God redeemed them. Learn to know the Son of God who chose to become a human, to live, to serve, to suffer, to die, and to rise again. All this He did so that you can stand guiltless before the heavenly Father on the last day.

The second reason that applying the Bible to ones own life is awkward has to do with understanding God’s will in the Bible. There are some places where His demands are so insistent that it looks like no one can be saved. Then, there are other parts where God goes out of His way to overlook the wrongs someone has done. These two teachings in Scripture are commonly called Law and Gospel.

The Law of God and God’s Gospel are God’s will. Both are His Word. Both are aimed at our Salvation. And both Law and Gospel are for Christians.
But there are differences as well. They are different in the way God revealed them to humanity. God tells us that He wrote the Law not just in Scripture through Moses, but at creation He wrote the Law in our hearts. People who grow up without knowing that the Bible exists still have the Law written in their hearts, for "when Gentiles, who do not have the Law, by nature do the things in the Law, these, although not having the Law, are a law to themselves, who show the work of the Law written in their hearts, their conscience also bearing witness." (Romans 2:14–15)

But we know nothing of the Gospel by nature. The Gospel was not created in us. It was spoken to us after the fall into sin. (Genesis 3:15) The Gospel is revealed to us only by the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ. It is found written only in the pages of Scripture, both Old and New Testaments. And it is to be preached because no one can discover this Gospel on their own. Paul wrote in Romans 10:14 "How then shall they call on Him in whom they have not believed? And how shall they believe in Him of whom they have not heard? And how shall they hear without a preacher?"

By our natures, we will side with the Law against the Gospel of Christ. Why? Because the Law is already written there in our hearts. The Gospel is foreign, and invader.

The Law tells us what we must do for God and neighbor. The Gospel tells us what God has done for us.

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