Since beginning this blog I have attempted to cover, in brief detail, the fundamental building blocks of the Christian faith. However, I skipped over the traditional first section, the Ten Commandments. The reason for doing so is that the Ten Commandments are associated with, what I believe, is the biggest heresy plaguing the Christian Church today. I wanted to put as much focus as I could on the other doctrines that we may be well prepared to take on this heresy.
The true light of the Ten Commandments has been dimmed greatly in recent years, as many take on the role of a pastor without a thorough understanding of the two great doctrines of the Bible. Though the Bible contains many doctrinal, historical, and scientific facts, its primary purpose is to teach us these two great doctrines. These two great doctrines are the Law and the Gospel (2 Corinthians 7:10).
According to the Formula of Concord, the Law is defined as:
Teaching what is right and pleasing to God, and rebuking everything that is sin and contrary to God’s will. Everything that rebukes sin is, and belongs to, the Law.
The Gospel is also defined in the Formula of Concord as:
The kind of teaching which shows what a person who has not kept the Law (and therefore is condemned by it) is to believe. It teaches that Christ has paid for and made satisfaction for all sins. Christ has gained for an individual – without any of his own merit – forgiveness of sins, righteousness that avails before God, and eternal life.
Preaching of Repentance
As can be seen in many places in the Bible the Gospel often includes the preaching of repentance (see Mark 1:15, Acts 20:21). This is because the term ‘Gospel’ is often used in a general sense. The preaching of repentance properly belongs to the Law. Therefore, preaching the Gospel is often preceded by the preaching of repentance. It serves as a bridge between the Law and the Gospel.
To the Gospel belongs solely the preaching of consolation and comfort. It points away from our own works to those of Jesus Christ and saving faith which God bestows.
The Right use of Law and Gospel
Therefore true Biblical preaching would follow the general pattern below:
- Present the Law revealing the great sin that lies within us (which only the Law can reveal):
Let all the house of Israel therefore know certainly that God has made him both Lord and Christ, this Jesus whom you crucified.
Acts 2:36 WEB (emphasis added)
2. Then give a call to repentance. For God, through His Word will work a sorrow unto repentance.
Now when they heard this, they were cut to the heart, and said to Peter and the rest of the apostles, “Brothers, what shall we do?”
Acts 2:37 WEB
3. Finally, bring comfort to their souls, in its proper time, through the Gospel. Pointing only to the work of Christ.
Peter said to them, “Repent, and be baptized, every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of sins, and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. For the promise is to you, and to your children, and to all who are far off, even as many as the Lord our God will call to himself.”
Acts 2:38-39 WEB (empasis added)
Today we have introduced the two great doctrines of Law and Gospel along with a very general introduction to the proper use of these doctrines. In the next blog post, we will look into the abuses of these great doctrines and how they have harmed many Christians today.
Please feel free to comment below or send me a private email through my Contact Page. It is always a pleasure hearing from my readers.
Until then, “be a sinner and sin boldly, but let your trust in Christ be stronger”. God love you and keep you. Amen.