Lesson 5： The Law And Gospel In The Christian’s Conversion
The Two Great Truths Of The Bible
Lesson 5: The Law And Gospel In The Christian’s Conversion
A. God’s Teachings Of Law And Gospel Work Together To Convert People To Saving Faith In Jesus Christ
- God uses His two great truths of law and gospel to work in harmony to accomplish the great miracle of bringing sinful people to a saving faith in Jesus Christ in which they enjoy the forgiveness of their sins and the gift of eternal life.
- Both the law and gospel play important, but different and complementary, roles in accomplishing the conversion of unbelieving sinners into believing Christians.
What does “complementary” mean? How do law and gospel work in a complementary way? (They support each other as husband and wife; [PERHAPS reference “yin and yang”]; They work from opposite “sides”. The Law makes us aware of our sins and pushes us away from feeling secure in our sinfulness; the Gospel tells us our sins are forgiven and in this way it pushes us away from despair [losing all hope of being saved].
Hai you wen ti ma? Any questions?
- God’s Holy Spirit works through the law to terrify the hearts of people who are naturally sinful, hostile and spiritually dead to God. Through the law, the Holy Spirit leads people to realize that they are spiritually lost and guilty of great sins against God. The Spirit also leads them to dread God’s fierce punishment and to desire His help to deliver them.
Question: Does the person who knows only the law have salvation? No.
Question? What does such a person know? They know that they cannot be saved. They despair of being saved
- God’s Holy Spirit works through the gospel to comfort the hearts of people who are made contrite through the law and to make them confident that God has saved them by His grace in Jesus Christ. The Spirit assures them that God has forgiven them all their sins, accepts them as His dear children and assures them of everlasting life with Him.
神的圣灵通过福音来抚慰罪人的心，使那些因律法而知罪悔过的人坚信，靠着神在耶稣基督里的恩典，他们已得救赎。圣灵使罪人确信神已赦免了他们所有的罪过，并接纳他们为自己的儿女，与神同享永生Question: Is there any “bad” news in the gospel? No.
COMMENT People turn the gospel into bad news for themselves when they refuse to believe it. See John 3:16–18; John 16:9 “He [the Holy Spirit] will convict the world of sin because they do not believe in Me.”
B. The Law Leads Sinners To The Point Of Genuine Sorrow Over Their Sins And Despair Over God’s [threatened] Punishment
Under the Holy Spirit’s blessing, the law does a number of things to create sinners who are contrite.
Question: what does your word for “contrite” at the end of that sentence?
What does it mean?
What is the pinyin way of spelling that word?
See Psalm 51:17- tell the story of Nathan speaking the Law to David so that he was contrite.
So, to be contrite means to be frightened because of an awareness of your sin. It’s like you were camping in the desert, and in the morning you reach into your shoe for your socks and you pull out a poisonous scorpion which is now stinging your hand. It’s like visiting the doctor for a routine physical and learning that you have an aneurysm in your aorta that could burst at any time. You thought you were healthy, but in fact, you are a step away from death. Now you are scared.
LET’S SEE HOW THE LAW MAKES SINNERS “CONTRITE”:
- The law teaches people that God requires them to live an absolutely perfect life in which they obey all His moral commands whole-heartedly, completely, all the time.
Question: Can we do this? No.
Question: Why not? We were born in sin; destroyed by sin; our concupiscence (Genesis 6:5 – a nature always inclined toward sin) persists to the end.
Comment: This fact shows us that we cannot undo or make up for sins committed in the past by obedient lives in the present. For every act of obedience is merely that which we are obliged to do according to the Law. The Law makes it clear that we are truly UNABLE to save ourselves by doing good works – even if we COULD do them in response to the law’s demand that we be perfect.
- You must obey my laws and be careful to follow my decrees. I am the Lord your God. Be holy because I, the Lord your God am holy. Keep all my decrees and all my laws and follow them. (Leviticus 18:4; 19:2, 37)
-你们要遵我的典章，守我的律例，按此而行。我是耶和华你们的 神。“你晓谕以色列全会众说：你们要圣洁，因为我耶和华你们的 神是圣洁的。头的周围不可剃，胡须的周围也不可损坏。(利未记 18:4; 19:2, 37 typo in the Chinese)
- I am the Lord. Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength. (Deuteronomy 6:5)
-你要尽心、尽性、尽力爱耶和华你的 神。(申命记 6:5)
QUESTION: What does it mean that God is “holy”? (See Matthew 5:48)
Also Matthew 22:37 and 39 and parallels.
- The law declares to people that they and all others have failed to live the absolutely perfect life that God requires of them.
- There is no one righteous, not even one; there is no one who understands, no one who seeks God. All have turned away and become worthless; there is no one who does good, not even one. No one will be declared righteous in His sight by observing the law. (Romans 3:11, 12, 20a)
- 没有明白的，没有寻求 神的；都是偏离正路，一同变为无用；没有行善的，连一个也没有。所以凡有血气的，没有一个因行律法能在 神面前称义。(罗马书 3:11, 12, 20a)
Question: how does this fact make us [sinners] feel about ourselves? (Scared; Hopeless; contrite.)
There is a consequence for the fact that we are sinful; this consequence is what makes us contrite; frightened. Please read #3 and the two passages below it.
- The law announces to people that they are guilty of sin against God and deserving of His eternal punishment.
- All have sinned and fall short of the glory of God. (Romans 3:23)
- The wages of sin is death. (Romans 6:23a)
- Depart from me, you who are cursed into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels. (Matthew 25:41)
王又要向那左边的说：‘你们这被咒诅的人，离开我！进入那为魔鬼和他的使者所预备的永火里去！(罗马书25:41 TYPO – THIS SHOULD SAY Matthew, not Romans)
QUESTION: Look at the first verse – Romans 3:23 – What does it mean to fall short of the glory of God? (It means to miss the mark; He cannot say “well done” to us but must declare that we have failed to live up to the demands of the law that we be perfect. On this pass/fail test, we all have failed.)
QUESTION: According to Romans 6:23, what is the penalty for this failure to live up to the demand of the law that we be perfect? (death)
QUESTION: According to the last passage, how would you define or describe the “death” which is the penalty for sin? (Eternal separation from God; hell; the fate of the devil and his angels)
- The law extends God’s call to people to admit their sin and turn to Him for help.
- Repent! Turn away from all your offenses; then sin will not be your downfall. Rid yourselves of all the offenses you have committed, and get a new heart and a new spirit. Why will you die? For I take no pleasure in the death of anyone, declares the Sovereign Lord. Repent and live! (Ezekiel 18 30b-32)
- 你们当回头离开所犯的一切罪过；这样，罪孽必不使你们败亡。你们要将所犯的一切罪过，尽行抛弃，自作一个新心和新灵。以色列家啊！你们何必死亡呢？主耶和华说：我不喜悦那死人之死，所以你们当回头而存活。” (以西结书18:30b-32)
Notice how the true message of God’s Law does not make us think we can be our own savior; the true message of the Law teaches us to despair of their ability to remedy the situation; the remedy is only in the LORD our God; our Savior-God. [In the passage above, the Lord directs us to himself because he wants us to live and not to die. He invites us with the gospel to be saved through him.]
- The law leads people to sincerely regret their sins and to seek God’s mercy to save them.
- Have mercy on me, O God, according to Your unfailing love; according to Your great compassion blot out my transgressions. Wash away all my iniquity and cleanse me from my sin. For I know my transgressions; and my sin is always before me. Against you, you only, have I sinned and done what is evil in your sight. Hide your face from my sins and blot out all my iniquity (Psalm 51:1-4a, 9)
- 神啊！求你按你的慈爱怜恤我，按你丰盛的慈悲涂抹我的过犯。求你将我的罪孽洗除净尽，并洁除我的罪。因为我知道我的过犯，我的罪常在我面前。我向你犯罪，惟独得罪了你，在你眼前行了这恶；求你掩面不看我的罪，涂抹我一切的罪孽。(诗篇51:1-4a, 9)
Question: Remember the story of David and the prophet Nathan. Why is David turning to the LORD for forgiveness? (Because he has heard that in the LORD there is forgiveness – 2 Samuel 12:13b) (See also Psalm 130:4a) (David is not without hope – but has confidence to turn to the LORD for forgiveness because he has heard the gospel and is remembering the gospel in the midst of his despair over sin.)
COMMENT: This lesson is teaching us that Law and Gospel work together to convert us. In PART B - we have seen that the Law makes us contrite. Now let us see in PART C what the gospel does.
C. The Gospel Leads Contrite Sinners To Believe In Jesus Christ As Their Savior From Sin And Eternal Death
Under the Holy Spirit’s blessing, the gospel does a number of things to create believing Christians out of contrite sinners.
COMMENT: The gospel is a message that has power to revive the spirit. The gospel is the power of God for the salvation of everyone who believes (Romans 1:16). The gospel brings the spirit (John 6:63). The gospel is living and active (Hebrews 4:12).
- The gospel teaches people that God loves sinners apart from their deserving and graciously desires to deliver them.
- With everlasting kindness I will have compassion on you, says the Lord your Redeemer. (Isaiah 54:8b)
- The Lord, the Lord, is the compassionate and gracious God, slow to anger, abounding in love and faithfulness, maintaining love to thousands, and forgiving wickedness, rebellion and sin. (Exodus 34:6b-7a)
- 耶和华，耶和华，是有怜悯有恩典的 神，不轻易发怒，并有丰盛的慈爱和诚实。为千万人存留慈爱，赦免罪孽、过犯和罪恶；(出埃及记34:6b-7a)
- Turn to Me and be saved, all you ends of the earth; for I am God, and there is no other. (Isaiah 45:22)
- 地极的人都当仰望我，就必得救；因为我是 神，再没有别神。(以赛亚书45:22)
QUESTION: Who is speaking in the last verse, the one from Isaiah 45? (The Triune God; the LORD – Jehovah)
QUESTION: In these passages where do we learn that God loves us and forgives us even though we deserve his wrath and punishment? (The Exodus passage is especially helpful. For the people living in the Old Testament era, this was their “John 3:16” – their “gospel in a nutshell” – the quickly summarized good news.
- The gospel announces that Jesus Christ has come to save them by living a perfect life of obedience to God’s laws for them and dying on the cross to pay for their sins.
- But when the time had fully come God sent His Son, born of a woman, born under law, to redeem those under law, that we might receive the full rights of sons. (Galatians 4:4-5)
- Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law and Prophets; I have not come to abolish them, but to fulfill them. (Matthew 5:17)
- You see, at just the right time, when we were still powerless, Christ died for the ungodly. While we were still sinners, Christ died for us. (Romans 5:6,9)
-因我们还软弱的时候，基督就按所定的日期为罪人死。惟有基督在我们还作罪人的时候为我们死， (Romans 5:6,8b)
- Christ died for our sins. (1 Corinthians 15:3b)
- 就是基督照圣经所说，为我们的罪死了. ( 哥林多前书15:3b)
QUESTION: Which two things did Jesus do for us to redeem us? (Obeyed the Law of God for us; died on the cross for us)
COMMENT: These are the two sides of the coin of salvation. On the one side we see Jesus being perfect for us to make us righteous. On the other side we see Jesus dying on the cross for us to make us holy; sinless. Jesus needed to die for us to clean us up (1 John 1:7) and Jesus needed to be perfect for us so that we can be seen as perfect in God’s sight. “Abraham believed God and it was credited to him as righteousness” (Genesis 15:6; quoted by Paul in Romans 4)
- The gospel relates that God justifies all sinners, that is, He declares all people in the world to be innocent of their sin and righteous in His sight because of Jesus’ ransoming work.
- Jesus is the atoning sacrifice for our sins, and not only for ours, but also for the sins of the whole world. (1 John 2:2)
- All are justified freely by His grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus. (Romans 3:24)
- 如今却蒙 神的恩典，因基督耶稣的救赎，就白白地称义。(罗马书3:24)
- The result of one act of righteousness was justification that brings life for all men. (Romans 5:18b)
- The blood of Jesus, His Son, purifies us from all sin. (1 John 1:7b)
- 他儿子耶稣的血也洗净我们一切的罪。(约翰一书 1:7b)
QUESTION: For how many people did Jesus live and die? (ALL)
QUESTION: [Same question asked differently:] How many people did Jesus “redeem” (ALL)
QUESTION: What does it mean in Romans 3:24 that all people “are justified”? (ALL PEOPLE ARE DECLARED “NOT GUILTY”)
QUESTION: Why is this the case? (Because of what Jesus did – see the statement #3)
- The gospel extends the invitation to people that they receive God’s free gift of forgiveness and salvation by faith in Jesus Christ.
- Seek the Lord while He may be found; call on Him while He is near. Let the wicked forsake his way and the evil man his thoughts, Let him turn to the Lord, and He will have mercy on him, and to our God, for He will freely pardon. (Isaiah 55:6-7)
当趁耶和华可寻找的时候寻找他，相近的时候求告他。恶人当离弃自己的道路，不义的人当除掉自己的意念。归向耶和华，耶和华就必怜恤他；当归向我们的 神，因为 神必广行赦免。（以赛亚书55:6-7）
- Believe in the Lord Jesus and you will be saved. (Acts 16:31)
QUESTION: Are these passages “law” or “gospel”? (THEY ARE GOSPEL.)
COMMENT: The gospel promise was given to this jailer at Philippi and is also for his household (N.B. The Chinese is a full quoting of the verse. Refer to Acts 2:39 – “for you and your children.”)
They are in the form of a command, and therefore they might seem to be “law” – but they are really “invitations” as stated in sentence #4. “Come to dinner” spoken by a parent is in the form of a command, but it is really an invitation to enjoy a meal that Mom or Dad has prepared, paid and presented for their child to enjoy at no cost. The child may think it is an unwelcome, burdensome command, but if they were very hungry, the child would jump at the opportunity to eat. The “law” makes us ‘hungry’ for forgiveness so when the invitation is given to “believe in Jesus” for the forgiveness of sins, by God’s grace the sinner does what the gospel “commands” in this invitation.
- The gospel itself creates faith so a person believes in Jesus as his/her Savior and receives God’s gift of pardon and new life.
- Our gospel came to you not simply with words, but also with power, with the Holy Spirit and with deep conviction. (1 Thessalonians 1:5a)
- 我们的福音传到你们那里，不独在乎言语，也在乎权能和圣灵，并充足的信心.( 帖撒罗尼迦前书 1:5a)
- No one can say, “Jesus is Lord” except by the Holy Spirit. (1 Corinthians 12:3b)
- 若不是被圣灵感动的，也没有能说耶稣是主的。(哥林多前书 12:3b)
- 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. (Ephesians 2:8-9)
QUESTION: Why is the gospel a living and powerful message which is able to create saving faith? (Because God’s power is at work in it; God the Holy Spirit is at work in the gospel) See also Hebrews 4;12…
D. The Law And Gospel Work To Produce A Proper “Cautious-Yet-Confident” Assurance Of Salvation In The Christian
God uses His powerful teachings of the law and gospel not only to bring people to saving faith in Christ. He also uses them to keep people in saving faith.
– You through faith are shielded by God’s power until the coming of the salvation that is ready to be revealed in the last time. (1 Peter 1:5)
– 你们这因信蒙 神能力保守的人，必能得着所预备，到末世要显现的救恩。(彼得前书 1:5)
COMMENT: Another passage: Philippians 1:6 – He who began a good work in you will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ.
Consider also: Romans 10:17 – faith comes, keeps on coming, through hearing the word of Christ, the gospel. We need to use the word of Christ so that we do not lose the faith but continue to grow in faith.
Consider also 2 Peter 3:18 and also Mark 9:24 – which shows us that we need our faith purified of unbelief (Lord, I believe, help me overcome my unbelief.)
- Because Christians have both a sinful nature that strives to lead them to fall away from Christ and a believing nature that trustingly clings to Christ, they need both the law and the gospel to remain in faith.
QUESTION: Can you think of someone mentioned in the Bible who listened to the law (he knew he had sinned) but did not listen to and believe the Gospel (he thought he could not be forgiven)? (JUDAS; King Saul)
QUESTION: Can you think of someone in the Bible who thought he could sin and not be harmed by it? (He had listened to the Gospel but didn’t listen to the Law) (DAVID; SAMSON; The member of the church in Corinth mentioned in 1 Corinthians 5 who was living with his father’s wife)
Comment: if someone is walking a tight rope – they must not fall to one side or the other.
If we don’t listen to the law, we will fall into carnal security – confident that we are ok as we are and that we don’t need a Savior and we can sin all we want (Romans 6:1). Without the gospel, we will fall into despair and believe that we cannot be saved, even by Jesus (As Judas despaired).
- God uses the strong warnings of the law to speak to the sinful natures of Christians so that they do not become proud or careless and fall from faith.
- So, if you think you are standing firm, be careful that you don’t fall! (1 Corinthians 10:12)
- We must pay more careful attention, therefore, to what we have heard, so that we do not drift away. (Hebrews 2:1)
- 所以，我们当越发郑重所听见的道理，恐怕我们随流失去。(希伯来书 2:1)
QUESTION: Against what sin does the law warn us in the passage from 1 Corinthians (sinful pride) (answer by student: sinful pride)
QUESTION: Against what sin does the law warn us in the passage from Hebrews? (spiritual laziness) (answer by student: carelessness)
- God uses the comforting promises of the gospel to speak to the believing natures of Christians so that they do not despair over their sinful weakness, but cling in faith to Jesus for salvation.
- I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish. No one can snatch them out of My hand. My Father, who has given them to Me, is greater than all; no one can snatch them out of My Father’s hand. (John 10:28-29)
- Being confident of this, that He who began a good work in you, will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus. (Philippians 1:6)
- 我深信那在你们心里动了善工的，必成全这工，直到耶稣基督的日子。(腓利比书 1:6)
QUESTION: How does Jesus assure you that you are forever safe as you trust in him? (No one can take you away from him; he will fight for you; he will win. Revelation 17:14
QUESTION: What is the “good work” mentioned in Philippians 1? (Our FAITH in Jesus; see also John 6:29)
- Christians are confident of their salvation because of God’s gospel promises in Christ. Yet they are cautious and guard against the efforts of the sinful nature to cause them to fall away from faith in Jesus and lose their salvation.
QUESTION: When we use God’s Word of law and gospel, which message should have the “last word”?
We let the Gospel have the last word. The law convicts; the gospel justifies.
E. Review The Lesson
Agree And Disagree Statements
Mark each statement A (agree) or D (disagree)
- A person can follow either the teaching of the law or the gospel to gain salvation from sin.
- Before God can make people certain of their salvation, He must make them certain of their damnation,
- In the law God tells us that we must live a very good life, a life that is far better than the average person.
- The law delivers to us the devastating message that we are spiritual failures who are lost and doomed because of our sins.
- Through the message of the law, God encourages us to keep fighting to earn our salvation by striving to keep His commandments better than before.
- In the gospel God announces the pleasing message that He loves us because we are such good and loving beings.
- The central message of the gospel is that Jesus Christ has won salvation for us by His perfectly obedient life and sin-removing death.
- In the gospel, God not only invites us to believe in Jesus, but He also creates faith in us so we do believe.
- A person who has come to saving faith in Jesus never has to worry about losing that faith.
D 10. God graciously brings us to faith in Jesus, but after that, it is entirely up to us to continue in that faith.
- What things must a person know and believe in order to have eternal life?
- A believer once said: “I believe that I am saved by works, but not by my own works.” What do you think he meant by that statement?
最后更新于 2012年9月04日 星期二 08:18