Tuesday: The Law and the Gospel

Though many understand that the Ten Commandments remain binding in the lives of Christians, the role that they play in the plan of salvation can get confusing.

Image © Rolf Jansson from GoodSalt.com

If we’re not saved by the keeping of the law, then what is its purpose?

How do the following texts help us to understand the role of the law in the lives of those who are saved by grace?

Rom. 3:19-20 

Ps. 119:5-6

Rom. 7:7

The law was never designed to be a means of salvation. Through the working of the Holy Spirit, the law creates in the sinner a need for the grace (gospel) of Christ. By pointing out what is right, what is good, what is true, those who fall short of that standard (which is all of us) realize our need of salvation. In this sense the law points us to the need for the gospel, the need of grace. This grace comes to us through Jesus. The function of the law, even in the Old Testament, was to show us our need of salvation; it was never a means of providing that salvation.

“To ask whether the law can bring salvation is to ask the wrong question as far as Scripture is concerned – in both the Old and New Testaments! Never does either Testament affirm, imply, or even hint that this might ever have been the case…

“It is a further error to argue that the writer of Hebrews (10:1-4) corrected the law, as if it had taught that ‘the blood of bulls and goats [could] take away sins.’… The sacrifices were pictures, types, and models of the one perfect sacrifice that was to come.” – Walter C. Kaiser, Five Views on Law and Gospel (Mich.: Zondervan, 1993), pp. 394, 395.

Look around at what violation of God’s law has done to humanity. How has your own life been impacted by the violation of God’s law? What does your answer tell you about just how relevant the law remains?



Tuesday: The Law and the Gospel — 8 Comments

  1. Wow. A great way to teach this truth. The devastation that I see around me in society can be found rooted in disobedience in this summary of all that God wants for us - the Ten Commandments.

  2. The Bible says God rested on the Sabbath. There is a calling for us to do our work in six days and rest on the Sabbath. Is preaching and teaching on Sabbath not work? Aren't we supposed to spend the Sabbath indoors resting.

    • According to Matt.12:9 and Luke 6:6 Jesus explains what is lawful to do on the Sabbath day. It is always lawful to do good on the Sabbath day. In order to experience the blessing of the Sabbath, we should endeavor to do as much good as we can, for as many people as we can, for as long as we can. Preaching and teaching the Word of God would most assuredly fit this description.

    • Mbulaleni, preaching is part of worship which Jesus and his disciples always do on the Sabbath. Your question is like 'can we worship on the Sabbath'.

  3. Isaiah 58 also tells us that true worship and Sabbath keeping is doing good for others. In Isaiah 58:13 where it says we are not to seek our own pleasures on the Sabbath day, that could also include taking a nap all day waiting for the sun to go down. Speaking our own words can include visiting with our friends at church and Sabbath School while we ignore the stranger or visitor. Just like the tithe and offering system provide a systematic way for us to overcome selfishness with our posessions, so the Sabbath is a systematic way for us to get outside of ourselves and overcome selfishness with our time.

    • I must say, that was well said. I agree. But it is difficult to detach from Sabbath traditions or norms (social clubs..). We should be doing more outside with the community. I am not sure of the method or answer, other then to simply get out there.

  4. It's interesting that people see no relevance in the law, since it has no part of our salvation. If the law is absolutely necessary in showing us our need of the Saviour, then isn't it actually playing a role in our salvation, right there?


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