Permit me now to put a little flesh on to this outline, sharing with you what I may have said or added as we “discussed” this Law and Gospel presentation. I would seek comment and input from the listener in all points along the way. It was offered more as a dialogue than a monologue. It is a presentation that could be made with our without a printed outline. It could be made in as little as ten minutes or as long as a full hour, depending on the circumstances and time available.
First, as to the title, OUR DILEMMA - GOD’S SOLUTION. The “our” includes everybody. I didn’t use MAN’S OR MANKIND’S DILEMMA since it includes men, women and children.
首先，就题目而言，我们的困境 - 上帝的解决方式。这个“我们”包括所有人。我没有用人的或人类的困境是因为它包括了男人，女人和孩子。
I chose the word ‘dilemma’ because I wasn’t sure I knew how to spell it (and so I had to check it out…research is always good) and because it was not a word that was common in the Grenadian vocabulary. I always gave them a few guesses as to what it meant. Some would get it but most did not.
A dilemma, I would tell them, is a problem, a big problem and, in fact, so big a problem that it is impossible for us to solve, even though we may “try hard.” I would then illustrate a dilemma in this way. Grenada is a small Island surrounded by vast oceans. I would first of all ask if the person was a good swimmer. I would receive a variety of answer: “yes”…”I’m okay”… or “no, I don’t go near the water or I’m afraid of it.” I might ask if they could swim from one end of Grand Anse Beach to the other. Some said they could. How about from Grenada to Carricaou? “No, never!” Okay, let’s say you were in a small row boat in the middle of the ocean, a thousand miles away from the nearest land and you don’t even know in which direction the land lies. You have no motor, no oars, no food and no water. You are all by yourself. That is a dilemma. What is going to happen to you? Most times, reluctantly, they would say, “I’m going to die.”
I would then proceed to show that we are confronted with an even worse dilemma in our relationship with God because of our sin. Isaiah 59:2 declares: “But your iniquities have separated you from your God; your sins have hidden his face from you, so that he will not hear.”
We would proceed to look at the passages under OUR DILEMMA one by one, having them read it with me if they had paper in hand. We would then briefly ask the good Lutheran question, “What does this mean?” What exactly are these passages saying about us and our relationship with God?
In Matthew 5:48 The Lord says, “Be perfect,”…not try to be perfect, or become perfect eventually, but BE PERFECT right now and forever. I would then ask, “How many perfect people are here right now?” “None, pastor,” would come their quick response. Indeed none, although I would kiddingly say, “Are you including me? Yes, pastor.’ Look at the next passage. What does it say? “All have sinned…”How many?…a few, some, many? No, all! “Falling short of the glory of God” is just another way of saying that we are imperfect, sinful human beings, we have fallen short of the perfectness that God and His holiness requires of us to enter into His presence.
Now look at James 2:10 and notice what it says. (Read it together.) We talk about basically the Ten Commandments and also about the letter (Thou shalt not kill) and the spirit (Whosoever hates his brother is a murder) of the Law and then point out that God’s Word says that if we break just one commandment out of ten (just one time) we are guilty of sin. One sin makes me a sinner just as one lie makes me a liar.
The bottom line for our sin and our terrible dilemma in our relationship with God is spelled out black on white in Romans 6:23 “The wages of sin……” I would pause and let them say from memory or from reading say, “is death.” And that means not just physical death but eternal damnation and eternal separation from God.
That is a dilemma…isn’t it? And it’s our dilemma, it’s the world’s dilemma in our relationship with God!
Now most people, when faced with a dilemma, a serious problem, what do they do? They try to fix it, to resolve it, to make it better again. That’s what people also try to do with their broken relationship with God. That is the essence of “natural religion” in this world and the foundation of every religion of the world. They try to fix it by:
TRYING HARDER! And yet trying harder to live the perfect life which God requires by His Law is like trying to lift yourself up by your own boot straps. Have you ever tried that? It cannot be done. You may try harder than any body else in the world but you will not budge yourself one fraction of an inch off the ground by yourself.
Time and time again I have run into people who are “trying harder” and they are driving themselves bananas. For just when they think they are making a little progress, what happens? They fail again. “Trying harder” ultimately only leads to frustration and failure and generally results in people giving up on “religion.”
Here is another point. Even if you could succeed living a perfect life for the rest of your life from this point on, what about your past life of imperfection? Do you expect a righteous and holy judge to just forget about the past? Would you expect a judge in the human court of law to just excuse your past life of abuse of? Your past convicts you and your present condemns you no matter how many pious appeals and promises you make for trying harder or doing better in the future. “BE PERFECT” is God’s unchanging demand and command!
Others will propose that we will strive to BALANCE and even outweigh our bad with good. Four good deeds, they might say, make up for four bad deeds, in effect, I guess, canceling each other out. And so, they say, if you end up life with more pluses than minuses you should be okay with God. But the truth is that not many sins but even one sin makes you a sinner and not all the good you do can make up for or pay for or wipe out even one sin. There is a price tag attached to every sin we commit and that is that each sin is deserving, according to God’s judgment, of death, eternal death and damnation. Just was one bad egg makes for a bad omelet no matter how many good ones you add to it, so one sin makes me a sinner, deserving of eternal separation from God.
A third way in which people try to solve their dilemma of a broken relationship with God is the COMPARISON method. We start comparing ourselves with other people and, of course, we can always find someone who is “worse” than we are and some how we imagine that they will make us okay to God. But a little bit of searching will also find some/many in this world who are better than we are. And so now who should God save and who not? Where should He draw the line of acceptance, at the sixty or seventy percentile? How arbitrary and un-God-like such a judgment would be.
The bottom line is that all human efforts fall short of the perfection that God commands and demands of us in the Law. Therefore the Apostle Paul, by the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, states the purpose of God’s law in Romans 3:20 when he writes: “Therefore no one will be declared righteous in his sight by observing the law; rather, through the law we become conscious of sin.” (emphasis mine)
We have a dilemma with regard to our relationship with God and we cannot resolve it by ourselves! Recognizing and admitting that truth is the first step to recovery. That is the conclusion to which God’s Holy Law would lead us and the purpose for which it was given, to see our sin and to recognize our need for a Savior.
There is a SOLUTION for our dilemma, not man’s but God’s SOLUTION. It is a solution that has not been negotiated by man but implemented by God unilaterally. And it has been proclaimed to us in the all too familiar words of John 3:16, words we know by heart but which we need to grasp and hold on to with our hearts of faith given us by the Holy Spirit.
To man’s horrible and hell earned dilemma the Apostle John, as the Lord’s spokesman says in John 3:16 “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.” Notice what happened when we were in our hopeless and helpless condition. God acted! His love moved Him to act in our behalf. He loved the world which had turned its back on Him and He acted favorably when we only deserved His disfavor. He gave His only begotten Son, Jesus, with Jesus full approval, to be the sacrifice and payment for our sins!
In 2 Corinthians 5:21 God’s word tells us how Jesus saves us. “God made Him (Jesus) who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in Him we might become the righteousness of God.” Jesus, the Son of God became a man. He was born, unlike ourselves, without sin. He lived a perfect life under the Law as our substitute and then on the cross He took our sins on Himself and pays for them. He then gives us His righteousness, His holiness. This is the great exchange that has taken place. He takes our sins…He gives us His perfectness and so now we are right and holy in the sight of God because of Jesus!
And all of this was simply by God’s grace and through His working. Romans 5:8 says: “God demonstrates His own love for us in this: While we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.” Jesus died the death we deserved and gives us the life we did not earn! Thus our salvation is 100% the working of God’s grace.
And His action favored not only a few, or some, but ALL PEOPLE! Christ’s work in our behalf is universal. He paid for not only some sins, or many sins but ALL SINS, whether the people who hear that news believe it or not! That’s not just great news for us but it is a great message that we have to share with all! “Your sins have already been forgiven in Christ!…Believe it!…That is God’s gift and promise to you!’
Indeed “The wages of sin is death…” that’s what we deserved…”But the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.” Romans 6:23It’s a gift and it’s yours in Jesus!
I spend some time on the picture of the cross flanked by the words: God’s Justice and God’s Love. In fact, those are the two attributes of God that come into play in our damnation/salvation account.
On the one hand, God is just. He is holy and righteous and just, appropriately as God demanding that every sin committed be paid for. He cannot be just and simply forget about our sins or sweep them under a big rug so that He can no longer see them. Sin committed MUST be paid for.
On the other hand, God is love. He created us for Himself and He wants us to be with Him forever. But our sin will not allow for Him to gather us up into His arms of love.
That is where the cross of Jesus comes into the picture, already planned in eternity, foretold in the Old Testament and fulfilled in the New. It is on the cross that the justice of God is satisfied and the love of God is extended to mankind.
On the cross Jesus willingly accepted the sins of the world to be literally dumped on Him. Isaiah 53: 6 declares: “the LORD(God) has laid on him (Jesus) the iniquity(sins) of us all(the world).” That is why in spiritual agony Jesus cried out from the cross as He suffered the hell and the death that we deserved, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me!” Matthew 27:46 Can you even begin to imagine, God (Jesus) being forsaken by God (Father) for our sins! That’s what happened on the Cross. And then Jesus said, “It is finished.” John 19:30 That Greek word (tetelestai) literally means “paid in full.” The sins of the world have now by Jesus been paid IN FULL. How do we know that for sure? On the third day He rose again proving that He has now conquered sin and death and hell and the devil for us forever. (Romans 4:25).
在十字架上耶稣愿意接受来自世人被倾倒在他身上的罪。以赛亚书53:6宣告：“耶和华(上帝)使我们众人(世人)的罪孽(罪)都归在他(耶稣)身上。”这就是为什么当耶稣在十字架上为我们应得的地狱和死亡受苦时，从灵里发出痛苦地呼喊，“我的神！我的神！为什么离弃我？”马太福音27:46 你能否开始设想一下，上帝(耶稣)被上帝(天父)因我们的罪离弃！那就是发生在十字架上的事。接着，耶稣说，“成了！”约翰福音19:30 这个词希腊语(tetelestai)的原意是“已全部交付”。世人所有的罪现在已经被耶稣全部交付了。我们如何确信这一点呢？第三天他从死里复活，表明他为我们永远地战胜了罪、死亡、地狱和魔鬼。(罗马书4:25)
The results and the effects of the Cross of Jesus and His death for the world can simply be summed up in the word GRACE. This word, grace, put into the form of an acrostic can be defined in this way:G = God’s R = Riches A = At C = Christ’s E = Expense
耶稣的十架和他为世人的死的结果和作用可以简单地归纳为一个词恩典。这个词，恩典，拆开来可以用这样的方式来定义：G=上帝的 R=丰盛 A=以 C=基督的 E=代价。
That is what GRACE is. God simply giving us the riches of His love (forgiveness of sins, life and salvation) at Christ’s expense…He paid the full price of our redemption for us! 2 Corinthians 8:9 says: “For you know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though He was rich, yet for your sakes He became poor, so that you though His poverty might become rich.”
Romans 8:1 declares now the bottom line for us who trust in Jesus as our Savior when Paul writes: “Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.” Ephesians 2:8-9 says it all for us: “For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God—not by works, so that no one can boast.”
All that remains now to be told is: our response to grace. How shall we respond to God’s grace saving us for Jesus’ sake? I return to the story at the beginning of this Law and Gospel presentation.
You are in a boat in the middle of the ocean, a thousand miles from shore. You have no food or water. You are as good as dead. In fact, you are now unconscious (as good as dead) on the bottom of the boat. I come flying over in a helicopter. I see you in your dilemma. I lower a rope latter. I climb down and tie you to it. We lift you up into the helicopter and fly you back to land and put you into the hospital. The doctors and nurses nurse you back to life. One day the nurse says to you, “The man who rescued you is going to come to see you tomorrow.” How do you feel? You are overjoyed to hear that good news. You can’t wait until he arrives and when he does you thank and praise and hug him. You tell him how much you love him and appreciate his saving work in your behalf. You think of him and thank him every day of the rest of your life.
That, my friends, in picture form, is the essence of the Christian life as it is now to belived as the saved children of God. Our Christian life is simply wanting to say “thank you” to God for having saved us. I John 4:10-11 says it well: “This is love, not that we love God, but that He loved us and sent His Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins. Dear friends, since God so loved us, we ought to love one another.”
We can remember “our response” by simply keeping in mind the letters P. S. God’s Word, the Bible is His love letter to us. There he tells us what Jesus has done to save us and to give us eternal life. Our response is simply a P.S. added to His love letter, the P. standing for “praising God” and the S. standing for “serving others.” This P.S. is the sum total of the Christians new life in Christ, his life of sanctification. His life is no longer “have to” (Law directed) but “want to” (Gospel motivated).
我们可以用两个简单的字母P.S.来记住“我们的回应”。上帝的话语，圣经是他给我们的情书。在里面他告诉我们耶稣为救我们和给我们永生所做的事。我们的回应只是附在他情书上的附言。P代表“Praising God” 赞美上帝，S代表 “Serving others”服侍他人。这个附言是基督徒在基督里新生活 – 成圣的生活的总括。他的生活不再是“不得不”（由律法为主导）而是“想要”（被福音激励）。
It is, then, at the close of this presentation that I ask the two questions of application based on what we have just learned from God’s Word.
Question One: If you were to die tonight, do you know for sure that you have eternal life? Let the person/people you are talking to respond. Don’t be surprised if they may still give a negative or an unsure response. The Good News of Jesus grace is hard to accept (understand) into our sin infected hearts. Go back and review a few key passages. Have them look at the last passage, John 3:36 which says: ”Whoever believes in the Son (Jesus) has eternal life.” You may want to then ask them, “do you believe in Jesus, that He died for your sins?” If they respond, “yes,” then have them look at this passage again and see what it says….”Whoever believes in the Son has eternal life.” Notice that God’s Word doesn’t say “might have” or “will have” or “could have” but it says HAS ETERNAL LIFE. It is already an accomplished fact and it happened when Jesus died on the cross for the sins of the world and now it is His gift to you!
Question Two: If God were to ask you, why should I let you into My Heaven, what would you say to Him? Answer: Because Jesus, your Son, paid for all of my sins! Oh, thousand, thousand thanks shall be…Dearest Jesus unto Thee. Amen.
When I shared this message with people, whenever I would see them (a day or two later or a week or two later) I would simply ask question one again and allow them to answer. Yes, I am sure because Jesus died for me sins. Then I would invite them to come and study God’s Word in greater depth with me. Many in Grenada accepted this invitation to the praise and glory of God.
当我和别人分享过这个信息时，无论我将 (在一两天后或一两周后) 看见他们，我都会再问他们第一个问题让他们回答。是的，我肯定，因为耶稣为我的罪死了。然后我会邀请他们来和我更深入地学习上帝的话。很多在格林纳达的人接受了这个邀请来赞美荣耀神。
Martin Luther once stated that the person who could properly divide Law and Gospel truly deserved the title Doctor of Theology. Indeed, a proper distinction between Law and Gospel is absolutely essential to understanding the wonderful truth that we are saved “by the grace of God alone, through faith in Jesus Christ alone as revealed in the Holy Scriptures alone. These watch words: GRACE ALONE, FAITH ALONE, SCRIPTURE ALONE are the three great “sola’s” of the Bible, of the Lutheran reformation and of the Christian faith.
It was clearly our experience in Grenada that when Law and Gospel were mixed, you ended up with a religion of semi-work righteousness…and that robbed the hearer of any certainty of salvation. When you preach or teach what I call “grace plus” or “grace minus” (example of “grace plus” - saved by grace but you must worship on Saturday; or “grace minus” – saved by grace but you cannot wear any jewelry) the focus ends up being on the “plus” or the “minus” and a person thinks he is saved by what he or she does or does not do…and the end result is an uncertainty or even loss of salvation. Law always and only “shows us our sins.” Gospel always and only “shows us our Savior.” Both Law and Gospel are from God but both serve different purposes. By James Radloff
很明显，我们在格林纳达的经验告诉我们当律法和福音相混淆时，你最终将得到一个半公义的教会…而且那将夺走听众对救恩的所有确信。当你传讲或教导我称为“恩典添加”或“恩典减少”的内容时(“恩典添加”的例子 – 被恩典拯救但是你必须在星期天参加敬拜；“恩典减少”的例子 – 被恩典拯救但是你不能佩戴任何首饰)，关注点最终都是在“增加”或“减少”上，而且一个人会认为他是被他或她做的事或没有做的事拯救…其结果就是不确定或者甚至是失去救恩。律法总是而且只是“向我们显明我们的罪”。福音总是而且只是“向我们显明我们的救主”。律法和福音都是来自上帝，但是有着不同的目的。 詹姆斯 拉德洛夫 著