The Law and the Gospel
Teacher, I often hear that Scripture appears to be separated into Law and Gospel. Please highlight the simplified difference between the Law and the Gospel.
Scripture is comprised of both Law and Gospel.
“For the law is given through Moses; grace and truth come through Jesus Christ.” (John 1:17).
The “Law” in Scripture is defined as “Moral Law.” Stated simply, it refers to a divine “Doctrine of Works.” It is divine because it comes to us from God. It is a Doctrine of Works because the promise of the reward of eternal life may be seen as coming to those who perfectly obey its commands. “Old Adam” in Genesis significantly failed to follow the law in his act of disobedience to the Lord, “Eating the Forbidden Fruit of the Tree of Knowledge.” Scripture points out that no ordinary man is able to obey the Law.
Since no man can obey the Law perfectly, what is its purpose?
Scriptural Law presents us with three purposes: a curb, a mirror, and a rule.
As a curb, the Law maintains discipline. As a mirror, the Law teaches us about sin. As a rule, the Law teaches us that we must act according to God’s plan.
In Scripture, Paul informs us that he knows what he should do, yet Paul continues to do what he should not. (Rom 7:21-24).
The “Gospel” in Scripture identifies the “Doctrine of Salvation.” We know and believe that we “die to our sin” in Baptism and receive “new life” in the Gifts of Grace and Salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ.
There is no decision for us to make, nor good works for us to accomplish, in order to be saved. We are saved through our belief in Jesus Christ.
We see that the Gospel freely brings us grace and salvation. This is contrasted with the Law which brings us rules to follow.
There may be so much to discern … Gospel to believers … “For God so loved the world that He gave His one and only Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life.” (John 3:16).