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(Lesson Five)

As we move on to Lesson Five in our series on Law and Gospel, we examine two more aspects in how these two doctrines differ fundamentally.


THEY ARE DIFFERENT IN REGARDS TO THE THREATS HELD OUT BY EACH ONE

The Gospel contains no threats at all, only words of consolation. Wherever in the Word you find a threat of damnation or judgment, you can be sure that passage is Law.

However, we are not to think that the Gospel makes men secure because it makes no threats against them. On the contrary, the Gospel should make people secure because it removes the desire to sin.

The Law is like an Abraham sending Hagar away into the desert. Man is invited by the Law to pronounce a curse upon himself and be engulfed in darkness. The Gospel, however, is a light and a cool refreshing drink of water which is given to us freely and without condition.


THEY DIFFER IN THEIR EFFECTS

What is the effect of the preaching of the Law?

1. It tells us what to do, but does not give us the power to do it. This causes us to become more unwilling to keep the Law. In most cases we get furious at God for asking us to do something we cannot accomplish.

2. It reveals our sin, but gives us no way out. While a person is ignorant of the Law, sin goes in and out with no thought or guilt. But when the Law strikes down like a large hammer, man perceives how great of a sinner he is and what horrible thoughts he is cherishing.

3. The Law produces sorrow, but does not offer any comfort. If no additional teaching is given after the preaching of the Law, man will live in despair and die in his sins. But it is necessary to let the Law do its job before we move on the good news of the Gospel.

What shall we say then? Is the Law sin? Certainly not! On the contrary, I would not have known sin except through the law.(Romans 7:7)

..for the letter kills, but the Spirit gives life.(2 Cor. 3:6)


The effects of the Gospel are completely different:

1.The Gospel gives us the faith to believe. When we preach to people, "Believe in the Lord Jesus and you will be saved!", God gives them the faith to believe through our preaching. In this the keys of the kingdom are at work-letting in those who believe and shutting out those who do not believe.

2. The Gospel does not condemn, but takes away all fear and terror. The Gospel takes away the anguish of the Law and gives us peace in the Holy Spirit. Just as the Father of the Prodigal Son did not accuse or rebuke, the Spirit as well only offers reconciliation and assurance of forgiveness.

3. The Gospel does not require anything good that man must provide. Man does not have to produce good works, a good heart, nor any improvement in his disposition to be saved. And this is the power and wonder of the Gospel. Though it demands no change, once a person is truly born again change is inevitable.

For I am not ashamed of the Gospel of Christ, for it is the power of God to salvation for everyone who believes..(Romans 1:17)

Can you believe it? One more lesson and you're done! Go for it!