Ten Thoughts on Law & Gospel From Gerhard Forde

BY BRANDON HANSON

Try not to let your head explode. Here’s a little “devotional” for you; some thoughts on Law and Gospel from Gerhard Forde. Drink deep, drink full. These are rich streams of thought.

1. The Gospel does not tell me what to do to be saved. It tells me that I do not need to do anything to be saved. The Gospel doesn't tell me what to do to get God to accept me. It tells me that God accepts me as I am. The Law does not just make me try harder. It reveals the futility of my trying at all.

2. The Gospel does not demand a response of faith. It creates a response of faith. The Gospel does not demand anything. It is not a demand but an offer. The Law is not just scolding. It is knocking the props out from under all my idols, especially the "god" of self.

3. The Gospel does not command me to be active for God. It invites me to be passive toward God. The Law does not strengthen my defenses. It cracks them open and exposes my need of grace.

4. The Gospel does not demand that I decide for Christ. It invites me to live in the decision God in Christ has made for me. The Law does not impose some morality on me. It exposes the immorality and mortality within me.

5. The Gospel does not tell me that God will love me if I repent and have faith. It tells me that I can repent and have faith because God loves me.The preaching of the law is not just talking about the law. It is thrusting a sword through the proud defender within me.

6. The Gospel does not just lead me into self-examination or self-assertion. It leads me out of myself into self-forgetfulness and self-surrender. The Gospel does not cause me to look more at myself. It directs my attention to Christ and frees me to see my neighbor.

The Law does not show the way from me to God. It declares that there is no way from me to God.

7. The Gospel does not offer grace on certain conditions to be met. Grace is received when I quit trying to meet conditions and start trusting God's promises. The Law does more than reveal that I'm sinful. It also reveals my inability to be anything else.

8. The Gospel does not offer cheap grace. Cheap grace is no grace. It is only conditional grace offered at low price. Grace is so precious it cannot be bought at any price. It can only be received as a free gift. The Law not only reveals that I'm a sinful creature, it confronts me with the sin, and the stupidity of "playing creator" when I'm only a creature.

9. The preaching of the Gospel is not only to convert pagans once-and-for-all into Christians. It is also to reconvert pagans again and again into Christians. The preaching of the Law is not just for pagan non-Christians. It is also for non-Christian pagans within all Christians.

10. The preaching of the Gospel is always necessary. Whatever else I need, including the Law, I also need assurance of God's love. The preaching of the Law is not always necessary. There is no need to kill the dead; they need to be raised to new life.

Brandon is married to Becky and together they have two daughters and a son. Previously, he has served in the armed forces as an infantryman for seven years, from 2001-2008. In 2004, and again in 2007, he was mobilized for overseas deployments to combat zones where he ran force protection and peacekeeping missions, and would tell you he is still learning from those experiences. He has served in children and youth ministry, jail outreach, and as an officer on boards for evangelism and missions. In his spare time Brandon likes to read books about sin, grace, and faith. He also writes for the CHF blog, enjoys thought-provoking movies and shows, and has actually sipped craft beer so good he hopes it's the micro brew they serve in heaven. But his true passion, even if expressed in great weakness, is and always will be sharing the scandalous message of salvation by grace through faith in Christ. None of us deserve it, but we are forgiven. This is most certainly true.


Twitter: @BrandonHanson