Part 4 of a series discussing C. F. W. Walther’s important treatise Law and Gospel: How to Read and Apply the Bible.
If you’re anything like me, you have (or have had) people in your life who will make promises contingent on something you do. “If you do this, then I’ll do that.” This is precisely what the Law does to us. Both the Law and the Gospel promise eternal life and salvation, but the Law gives conditions which must be satisfied prior to those items being obtained: namely, perfect obedience to its demands. Says Walther,
…the greater the promises of the Law, the more disheartening they are. The Law offers us that food, but not close enough for us to reach it. The Law offers us salvation in about the same manner as refreshments were offered to Tantalus in the hell of the pagan Greeks. …[The Law] always adds: “All this you will have, but only if you do what I command.”