Monday, March 14, 2011
Oil and Water.
Nothing will quench my thirst after a time of yard work like a nice tall glass of ice water. I can see it when I am working in my mind. Clear water with ice so cold that when I take it outside it fogs up on the outer part of the glass. Every 3 months or 3 thousand miles we change the oil in our vehicles. That habit will serve us well in keeping a car operational over many years.
Each fluid described above has a specific task for which it qualifies. Neither task is interchangeable. If one fills the crankcase of the car with iced water instead of oil it would be a disaster. Drinking a tall glass of motor oil would cause serious illness or death. The effectiveness of the fluids is also diminished when mixed. The same can be said with the law and the Gospel.
The doctrinal contents of the entire Holy Scriptures, both of the Old and the New Testament, are made up of two doctrines differing fundamentally from each other, viz., the Law and the Gospel.*
Dr CFW Walther, so many years ago, identified the problem in the church of mixing the Law and Gospel. We still have that error today. Some will talk of Jesus being the new Moses. Teaching of how one cannot know he or she is saved unless a drastic change in life has happened to where he or she no longer sins or sins much less. Or that one must make Jesus Lord of one’s life as an extra step in conversion. These and other errors will rob the Gospel of its sweetness and the Law of its sternness. The first happens and one can be led to even doubt one’s eternal salvation. The latter happens and one may fall into impenitence and endanger themselves and their salvation.
Romans 3:21 But now the righteousness of God has been manifested apart from the law, although the Law and the Prophets bear witness to it— 22 the righteousness of God through faith in Jesus Christ for all who believe. For there is no distinction: 23 for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, 24 and are justified by his grace as a gift, through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus
St Paul clearly distinguishes between the Law and the Gospel. The law shows us that all have sinned and fallen short of God. The Gospel on the other hand shows that by faith we now have the righteousness of God given to us. In addition we are justified graciously with no effort on our part. This is the done didness of Jesus’ work for us.
Thanks be to God. †
*Thesis I on the Law and the Gospel by CFW Walther First President of the Lutheran Church Missouri Synod. 1884