Last week, we introduced the two great doctrines of the Bible, Law, and Gospel. We also very briefly talked about the correct way to make use of these two doctrines. Unfortunately, most Christians today unintentionally confuse these doctrines, causing great harm. Today we will cover three general ways these doctrines are abused.
The Heresy of Confusion
The great heresy that I believe plagues today’s churches is the confusion of these two great doctrines in the following three ways:
- The preaching of the Law only apart from the Gospel
- The preaching of the Gospel only apart from the Law
- The improper mixing of Law and Gospel
Preaching Law Alone
Do we then nullify the law through faith? May it never be! No, we establish the law.
Romans 3:31 WEB
When pastors only preach the Law, that is, only preach what pleases God and rebuke all sin they leave their congregation either in the depths of despair knowing they can never please God. This was the very state of Judas after betraying our Lord. Or, they leave them in the very hand of Satan, having puffed up their pride making them think they could actually please God by keeping perfectly the Law.
Preaching Gospel Alone
What shall we say then? Shall we continue in sin, that grace may abound? May it never be! We who died to sin, how could we live in it any longer?
Romans 6:1-2 WEB
When pastors only preach the Gospel, that is, teaching that Christ has paid for all sins, he leads his congregation into a life of debauchery and sin. For they become comfortable in their failings and believe that because Christ has paid their debt they may continue in their immoral ways for, surely salvation is free.
Confusing Law and Gospel
In those, there are some things that are hard to understand, which the ignorant and unsettled twist, as they also do to the other Scriptures, to their own destruction.
2 Peter 3:16b WEB
These two ways of preaching are usually easy to detect and, for the devout Christian, easy to abandon. However, the true danger lies in the improper mixing of the two. For when pastors mix incorrectly these two doctrines you will hear such things as if you are homosexual you will go to hell, if you commit suicide you are lost, if you do not produce good fruit you are not saved, and if you do not repent you are damned. It tells you that if you doubt your salvation look to your own worry and that alone tells you that you are elect.
I am deeply saddened when I think of how many souls have been robbed of the hope of Christ by these lies. How many people have been fed a false Christianity and therefore abandoned the faith because of this heresy. So I will lay out here what the proper use of the Law and the Gospel are. So that we may quickly recognize these lies and also that we may share the truth with those in desperate need of it.
Today we looked at the three general ways that the Law and the Gospel are misused in the Church today. Next week we will conclude our mini-series on Law an Gospel by discussing the three proper uses of the Law in preparation for talking about the final fundamental doctrine of Christianity, the Ten Commandments.
For now, I would love to hear from you. Are there ways you can see where this confusion of Law and Gospel has been used to confuse or hurt you in your Church? Please feel free to share your story and/or opinions in the comments below or to me directly through my Contact Page.
Until then, “be a sinner and sin boldly, but let your trust in Christ be stronger”. God love you and keep you. Amen.