I just picked up C. F. W. Walther’s Law and Gospel: How to Read and Apply the Bible in the new Reader’s Edition. It’s a great read and extremely friendly to the modern reader. I’d like to pass along a couple of things I’ve been pondering…in no particular order.
First, Walther asserts that the pastor can
easily…inflict damage on [their congregation] when [they] mingle Law and Gospel… The difference between Law and Gospel is not that the Gospel is a divine doctrine, resting on the reason of man.
…The purpose of both is the salvation of humankind–except that ever since the fall, the Law has not been capable of leading us to salvation. It can only prepare us for the Gospel. Furthermore, it is only through the Gospel that we are able to fulfill the Law to a certain extent. (excerpts from pp 11-12)
Now, what Walther is talking about here is not a dispensational view of the world…the Law being one dispensation, Grace being another. No, he’s talking about two doctrines put forth in the Scriptures which are both to be proclaimed in full terror (the Law) and sweetness (the Gospel).
Now, I didn’t grow up with these categories at all. The Word was…well, the Word. And the important thing was that the pastor would preach THE WORD.
But what we often got was a mish-mesh of confusion, often pointing me to what I need to be doing to better live the Christian life. “God saved you, now get to work,” essentially.
That, however, is not how Scripture is supposed to work. So I hope to explore some of Walther’s points and hold them up to the light of Scripture.