Lesson 2 Reviewing Law And Gospel Principles For Preaching
In this lesson, we will review the key principles for applying God’s two great teachings of Law and Gospel in our preaching. These principles are taken from Lesson 9 of “The Two Great Truths Of The Bible” course. Please read over the principles carefully and be prepared to discuss them by working through the review exercises at the end of the lesson.
Principles For Applying The Law And Gospel 律法与福音的实际应用原则
A. Law And Gospel Principles 律法与福音的原则
Here are some of the major principles to keep in mind as you use the two precious truths of law and gospel and apply them to people’s lives: 当你运用律法与福音两大宝贵真理的时候，务必牢记以下主要原则。
Seek diligently a true, clear and deep knowledge of God’s teachings of the law and gospel, which is essential to a correct understanding of the Bible.
Look to God the Holy Spirit for help in the important and challenging task of properly applying the law and gospel to the lives of people.
Let the law be the law （proclaim the law as the very hard news it is for people） and let the gospel be the gospel （proclaim the gospel as the very good news it is for people）。 Do not mix gospel elements with the law and do not mix law elements with the gospel.
Apply the law to create in people a genuine sorrow for sin （contrition）， to restrain sinful behavior, and to provide guidance to Christians in how to please God.
Apply the gospel to create faith in Jesus Christ, to provide assurance of salvation and to supply spiritual desire and strength to live a Christian life.
Proclaim the law to those who are comfortable and secure in their sins and proclaim the gospel to those who are in terror and despair over their sins.
In general, proclaim the law first and then the gospel to help people in their salvation and sanctification.
The greatest misuse of the law and the gospel is to confuse the two teachings so that the gospel with its message of free grace and forgiveness in Jesus Christ is turned into a message that requires sinners to earn their salvation in part or entirely by their own works.
Direct those who are terrified by the law to find comfort in the gospel promises and what Jesus had done to save them. Do not direct them to try to find comfort in their works, in their intentions, in their feelings, or in their prayers.
Teach that saving faith in Jesus Christ is not just the mind’s acceptance of certain truths about Jesus. Rather teach that saving faith is the heart’s reliance on Jesus and His redeeming work for deliverance from the sins that condemn a person.
Teach that faith in Jesus Christ is “saving” faith because it is God-created reliance on the Savior and not because it produces love and other positive changes in one’s life.
Teach that contrition and faith are the Spirit-created means by which a person is ready and able to receive God’s gifts of pardon and salvation and not the reason or basis on which God decides to forgive a person their sins.
Teach that saving faith is something God creates in a person’s heart through the gospel and not something a person creates or helps to create for himself/herself.
Teach that saving faith is a necessary Spirit-created means by which we receive and possess the forgiveness of sins and not a meriting condition by which we earn or deserve forgiveness.
Do not equate saving faith in Jesus Christ with progress a person makes in improving his/her outward behavior such as getting rid of certain vices or doing good things.
Proclaim all sins to be serious violations of God’s will and deserving of His eternal punishment and not just minor offenses.
Treat believers in Christ as people who are ruled by a believing, spiritual nature that trusts God and loves to do His will and who are also burdened with a defiant, sinful nature that fights against God and the holy beliefs and desires of the spiritual nature.
Teach that good works are the expected, proper fruit of a true faith in Jesus Christ and are not optional and unnecessary for Christians.
Be careful to distinguish between critical spiritual conditions such as the difference between a person with weak faith in Christ and a person with no faith in Christ, between the good works of a Christian and the outward morality of a non-Christian, between godly sorrow for sins （contrition） and worldly sorrow for sins （unbelieving regret）。
Regard and administer the sacraments of Holy Baptism and Holy Communion as forms of the gospel that God uses to create and preserve saving faith in Christ and to strengthen Christians to live a sanctified life. Do not rob them of their gospel content and turn them into mere empty symbols or acts of obedience.
Remember that Christians, because of their sinful natures, still need the law applied to their lives so they can continue to repent of their sins, be warned against falling away from faith in Christ and receive guidance to know how to live a God-pleasing life.
Teach that a person’s salvation depends entirely on the perfect sacrifice and merits of Jesus Christ and does not depend in any way on a person’s own efforts and works.
Use the gospel to provide Christians with the spiritual desire and strength to keep the law and produce the good works God desires of them in their sanctified live. Avoid religious legalism and religious moralism, which use the law as motivation for good works for Christians.
Do not turn the gospel of God’s saving love in Christ for all into the false teaching of universalism, which asserts that God will save everyone apart from contrition and faith in Jesus.
Make sure that the gospel is the prominent teaching in your ministry to people’s souls. Use the law properly as God intends in service of the gospel. Preach both of these precious teachings in a spirit of love.
Lesson Review 复习课程
Questions To Consider思考题
All of the 25 Law and Gospel principles recorded in this lesson are good and important. However, some of them may be especially important to us personally as we grow in our knowledge of God’s Word and in our ability to apply it. At this point in your theological development, list the 5 principles that are most important for you to remember as you prepare and deliver sermons for God’s people.
In your opinion, what is the most common mistake preachers in general can make or do make in their use of the Law?
In your opinion, what is the most common mistake preachers in general can make or do make in their use of the Gospel?
Evaluate These Statements 评价一下观点
On the basis of the Law and Gospel principles in this lesson, evaluate the following phrases or statements and indicate whether they are proper or improper uses of the Law and Gospel.
God says that He hates sin and that he will punish sinners, but He does not truly mean it in all cases.
The message of God’s love for sinners in Jesus Christ is the best news that you will ever hear.
If you want to do things that please God, just follow the desires of your heart.
Believe in Jesus Christ as your Savior, but do not ever think that faith in Christ is all you need to get to heaven.
When Jesus died on the cross, He paid the full price for all the sins you have ever committed or will ever commit in the future.
If you repeat a sin that you have already recognized and confessed, how can you possibly think that you were truly repentant for it in the first place?
Good works we do in response to Jesus’ love for us are not something we can neglect or consider to be unimportant in our Christian life.
The more good things you do for other people, the more God will love you.
No one can be saved or will be saved on any other basis that God’s undeserved love for sinners in the redeeming work of Jesus Christ.
If you are troubled by your sins and are fearful of God’s punishment, it is time to look away from yourself and to look to Jesus Christ for His complete pardon and perfect peace for your soul.