Law & Gospel: God’s Commandments & Promises
Paul writes that, “all who rely on works of the law are under a curse” but that “Christ redeemed us from the curse of the law by becoming a curse for us.” How amazing is God’s grace! God did for us what we are completely unable to do for ourselves! God doesn’t require us to be good in order to redeem us; to be redeemed you need to acknowledge that you’re a sinner. We all fit that bill.
The Old Testament contains 613 commandments, or Laws. Historically, the Church has taught that there are three “uses” of the Law: as a Curb, as a Mirror, and as a Guide. God’s Law functions as a Curb in order to restrain society from falling into anarchy by giving basic functions for how people should relate to one another (don’t steal, don’t lie, don’t murder, submit to authority, etc.). God’s Law is a Mirror that shows us that we are sinful and we need a Savior because we aren’t able to keep God’s Law perfectly and are therefore under a curse. God’s Law is a Guide to Christians so they know how to live in such a way that honors their Savior and brings joy along the way. Ultimately, the Law was given to show us our need for a Savior.
Don’t be like the person who couldn’t get the lid off a jar and then claims, “I loosened it.” No… you didn’t. The truth is, none of us can take any credit for saving ourselves. Salvation is not a 50/50 proposition or a deal with God whereby we do the best we can and God “fills the gap.” Don’t try to take credit for what God has done… you did not “loosen the jar” for God.
We must rely completely on the promise of God, not at all on our ability to keep God’s Law. Are you trying to take partial credit? Count on Christ’s righteousness, not your own.
- Are you counting completely in Christ’s righteousness and not your own?
- Are you trying to be “good enough” to earn God’s favor? If you’re living by the Law, you are under a curse. Sometimes church-goers are really “good” people who keep God’s commandments, but they’re trusting in their own goodness rather than in Christ. Don’t fall into the trap of Law-keeping, trust fully in the promises of God! (Romans 3:24; 8:1, 38-39; Galatians 3:26; Philippians 4:17)
- Christian, have you veered off course and started to think about the Gospel as something for “other people” but not as something you need to cling to daily? The Gospel is everything… don’t forget that.
- Does your life contradict the grace you have received? You cannot “be the Gospel” (Jesus is the Gospel, not you!), but your life should reflect the grace and love that you’ve been given.