The Job Descriptions of Law and Gospel

Acquiring a driver’s license is one of those life milestones worthy of celebrating. However, one thing you must get clear from the beginning is the job description of the two pedals on the floorboard—the accelerator and the brake. Bad things happen if we get those mixed up!

This is why we need to understand the job descriptions of both the law and the gospel. John Calvin’s disciple in 16th century Geneva, Switzerland, Theodore Beza, said, “Ignorance of [the] distinction between Law and Gospel is one of the principal sources of the abuses which corrupted and still corrupt Christianity.”

Tullian Tchividjian, in a blog post entitled, God’s Two Words, writes, “The law, to paraphrase Luther, is a divinely sent Hercules sent to attack and kill the monster of self-righteousness—a monster that continues to harass the redeemed. Christians, in other words, need the law to regularly reveal that we are worse off than we think.”

And that we need Jesus much more than we think. As Tullian says,

  • The law crushes, but it cannot cure.
  • The law informs us of our sin, but cannot transform the heart.

In other words, according to Tullian Tchividjian, “The primary message of the Bible, then, is this: The law-maker died for the law-breaker… The Bible is one long story of God meeting our rebellion with his rescue, our sin with his salvation, our guilt with his grace. Which means that the Bible is not first a recipe book for Christian living, but a revelation book of Jesus, who is the answer to our un-Christian living.”

These distinctions will guide our message at Creekstone on Sunday where we will learn that the preaching of the law is intended to wake us up to the wonder of the gospel.

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