Monday, December 22, 2008

THE PROPER DISTINCTION BETWEEN THE LAW AND THE GOSPEL NECESSARY FOR LIFE

Evangelicalism and most Reformed churches nowadays give law to their sheep who need gospel, and gospel to their sheep who need law.

The following statements I thought were excellent, from A Summary of Christian Doctrine, by Edward W.A. Koehler:
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"The Law is to be preached to all people but especially to unrepentant sinners."

"The Gospel is to be preached to sinners who are troubled in their minds because of their sins."

"The reason why both the Law and the Gospel are to be used in the life of Christians is that believers have a double nature. They are at the same time justified and a sinner. They have the old Adam who is under the Law and the new man who is under the Gospel. The difficulty in using both Law and Gospel properly lies in the fact that in actual life it is difficult to determine to what extent a given behavior of a Christian is the expression of the old Adam or of the new man. Yet the proper distinction between Law and Gospel is of utmost importance. The confusion or mixing of the two will make it impossible for anyone to become a Christian or to remain in the faith."
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All three statements above I think are some of the wisest words I have ever read. How ironic especially the last one, having struggled with assurance of salvation for 12 years.

Praise God for Luther's theology of the cross.