Wednesday, May 1, 2013

What We Lutherans Know - Unless We Get Bored

Over here on

Veith quotes an article by Cap Stewart, and of note Stewart says, "As any Lutheran worth his salt will tell you, this distinction is critical for properly understanding the Bible. The law is defined as any imperative statement—i.e, a command to do (or not do) something. The gospel, on the other hand, is an indicative statement—a promise that God has accomplished (or will accomplish). Throughout Scripture, God speaks with the voice of either the law or the gospel, and we need to discern which voice is speaking whenever reading a verse or passage. Pretty simple, right?"

Again, this is a fantastic observation - especially when coupled with his observation on the Gospel: "—a word that, in the Greek, literally means “good news.” As has been explained by men much wiser than I, there is a big difference between good news and good advice. The gospel is the former, not the latter. It is the story of the finished work that God has accomplished on our behalf, apart from our help or assistance or merit. The gospel is not a command, but we often interpret it as such. Just the other day, I heard a lady describe the gospel as being about what we should and shouldn’t do. That’s good advice, not good news—and good advice has no power to save a sinner trapped by the condemnation of the law."

Simple.  Clear.  To the point.

We know the distinction between Law and Gospel. 

We know that in this world, we as sinners need the Gospel to predominate, lest we die despairing.

... yet how often we are tempted to become bored of the Gospel?  To abandon the Gospel as the Truth of God which gives forgiveness and life and salvation - true life indeed... and rather become peddlers of advice in the hopes that some other person will start doing what *we* want them to do?

I know it can seem strange that I don't like to focus on extolling the virtues of exhortation or about how Natural Law can "save" society or things like that. 

It's for one simple reason.

It's not that I'm an antinomian.  It's not that I'm "weak on sanctification."  It's not that I'm a vile liberal or a lawless libertarian.

It's that... I'm still not bored with the Gospel.

I still think the fact Christ Jesus has died for the sins of the world and risen so that I will live again is the greatest news in the world - the greatest new possible.

Even better than Abortion being outlawed or birth control being made illegal (you know, even better than moving to Ireland).  Even better than my political party winning.  Even better than my congregation doubling in size because I found the magic program.  Even better than the Cubs winning the world series.

It's still the best news in the world even when there is tragedy and sorrow in the world.  Even when society collapses and steeples are falling.  It's even the best news if my rights are being trashed and all my first article gifts are in decline.

You know - we used to sing this truth.  "And take they our life, goods, fame, child or wife.  Those these all be gone, they yet have nothing won.  The Kingdom ours remaineth."

The best news in the world is this - Christ has died, Christ is Risen, and sin and death and hell have been defeated.  Soli Deo Gloria!


Anonymous said...

Pastor Brown,

I am not bored with the Gospel either. That's why when people are - including myself - are distracted by life's riches, cares, and pleasures, I lay down the law:

Go sit at Jesus' feet.

For there they will hear His whole counsel. And within that they will hear the Gospel!


Rev. Eric J Brown said...

Did I say you were?

Oh - and what do the riches and cares of life do in the parable of the sower? Does merely "laying down the law" produce fruit?