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Law and Gospel

Look for how Law and Gospel function literally. Law and Gospel can be discerned in the message of the bible or in the message of the preacher or, really, in any kind of message. Wherever and however you encounter a message, ask: what is the literal sense? Is that message worded as a command? Is it telling me to do something?

Law & Gospel: How to Read and Apply the Bible: A Reader's Edition - LifeWay

Is there an implied consequence for not heeding the message? If so, you are likely dealing with the law.


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On the other hand, if the message declares that something good is going to happen, something to your benefit, and that the promised blessing does not depend on your attitude or activity, then you are almost certainly dealing with a word of grace, that is, unearned favor, that is, Gospel. Look for how Law and Gospel function functionally. Beyond the literal or literary meaning of a message lies a functional meaning.

The ways in which words function often depend upon context.


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Tell the difference between Law and Gospel. Usually, when you are asked if you can tell the difference between two things you are really just being asked whether you know or understand the difference between two things. But when you are being asked to tell the difference between Law and Gospel, you are being asked to do more than merely know or understand the difference. In addition, you are being asked literally to tell it—to speak it, talk about it, declare it, proclaim it! For Lutheran Christians, telling the difference between Law and Gospel especially means preaching the difference between Law and Gospel.

For when you preach it, faith will come Romans I just stumbled on your blog this morning and have subscribed. I was introduced to Lutheran theology through Gerharde Forde some years ago and would love to read him on the issue. Can anyone tell me if he has written on this distinction above and beneath ,and if so, in which of his books?

This brief article on telling the difference between Law and Gospel is very helpful.

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Email required Address never made public. Now the first sermon, and doctrine, is the law of God. The second is the gospel. These two sermons are not the same. Therefore we must have a good grasp of the matter in order to know how to differentiate between them. We must know what the law is, and what the gospel is.

The law commands and requires us to do certain things. The law is thus directed solely to our behavior and consists in making requirements.

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Just as we and God are separated from one another, so also these two doctrines are widely separated from one another. For the gospel teaches exclusively what has been given us by God, and not—as in the case of the law—what we are to do and give to God. Since the two sermons, the two doctrines, Law and Gospel, do two different, opposite things, being able to tell the difference between Law and Gospel is essential to the theological task.


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  • Law and Gospel - pefawuqa.cf.

So how is it done? How are Law and Gospel distinguished? How does one tell the difference between divine gift and divine requirement? Here are some guidelines:. You may think that you are reading the word of God in scripture or hearing the Word of God in a sermon.

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In reality, as you are reading or hearing, the Word of God is acting upon you, doing a number on you. Understood in terms of Law and Gospel, the Word of God is a putting sinners to death with the unremitting pronouncement of commandments and punishments—including the punishment of death—and b raising up saints with the unrelenting pronouncement of the unmerited grace, forgiveness, and new and eternal life given in Jesus Christ. Remember that Law and Gospel are necessarily related and therefore cannot be separated.

Just as the words of the Bible are bound up into a single authoritative and holy scripture, so, too, are the words of law and gospel bound up into a single divine Word that does what God wants it to do see Isaiah Biblically speaking, faithfully confessing, you can neither have law without gospel, nor gospel without law.

If you read and apply the word of God as law only, you get legalism. If you read and apply the word of God as gospel only, you get antinomianism the belief that the law has no use. Do not confuse Law and Gospel.

What is Law and Gospel?

The previous sentence is intentionally stated as a law rather than a guideline. Perhaps even more dangerous than separating Law from Gospel is confusing the Law with the Gospel, or vice versa. One common way in which law and gospel are confused is when we imagine that we make ourselves eternally right with God by deciding to do what God wants us to do.

Look for how Law and Gospel function literally. Law and Gospel can be discerned in the message of the bible or in the message of the preacher or, really, in any kind of message. Wherever and however you encounter a message, ask: what is the literal sense? Is that message worded as a command? Is it telling me to do something?

Is there an implied consequence for not heeding the message? If so, you are likely dealing with the law. On the other hand, if the message declares that something good is going to happen, something to your benefit, and that the promised blessing does not depend on your attitude or activity, then you are almost certainly dealing with a word of grace, that is, unearned favor, that is, Gospel.