Law & Gospel

Enemies Of The Cross

BY MARTIN LUTHER

The thing seems incredible, and I would not have believed it myself, nor have understood Paul’s words here, had I not witnessed it with my own eyes and experienced it. Were the apostle to repeat the charge today, who could conceive that our first, noblest, most respectable, godly and holy people, those whom we might expect, above all others, to accept the Word of God…

Enemies Of The Cross

Whose Bones are Buried Beneath the Cross?

BY CHAD BIRD

Let’s take a walk together. And as we do, I’ll tell you a mystery. We’re heading to a cemetery; I hope you don’t mind. It’s of a different variety, this cemetery, for it consists of a single grave. But a vast grave it is. It had to be. See it there?

Whose Bones are Buried Beneath the Cross?

Ordinary Joy

BY DONAVON RILEY

She said, “Keep coming back, and you’ll know joy.” He wanted to vomit a rainbow of resentment, bitterness, and loathing all over her faux-leather boots. He already knew about joy. It was horrible stuff. Christians kept trying to rip it out of their hearts to share with him.

Ordinary Joy

What's Love Got to Do with It?

BY DONAVON RILEY

Love is the sum of the law. Love God with all your heart, spirit, and mind, and love your neighbor as yourself. That means that if love can't be done when it needs to be done then get rid of the law, because it's not lawful. Being lawful isn't the purpose and goal of the law.

What's Love Got to Do with It?

Christ’s Gifts For Ingrates

BY RYAN COUCH

Have you ever received a gift for which you were less than thrilled, but you had to pretend you really liked it so as not to offend the giver? It is an awkward feeling, but despite your ambivalence, it is the right thing to do. When Christ gives us his gifts he is not as interested in our response as our human counterparts.

Christ’s Gifts For Ingrates

I May Not Be A Smart Man, But I Know What The Gospel Is

BY TATE BARBER

I am not a good Lutheran. I have only been around reformation theology for a few years. I have trouble articulating why my son was baptized in a Lutheran church. I am terrible at exegesis. I fumble through discussions about the third use of the law, trying my hardest not to sound like an antinomian.

I May Not Be A Smart Man, But I Know What The Gospel Is

The Joy of Obedience

BY BRUCE HILLMAN

Can there be joy in obedience? That depends on if obedience if a free choice or the result of threats. When obedience is coercive, it dominates and subjugates our wills, or at least attempts to do so, and no one wants to be ruled by another.

The Joy of Obedience

Seeing Samson's Cross-Eyed Reflection

BY DONAVON RILEY

For the past twenty years that I've been a Christian, I've not found any evidence in my reading of Judges 13-16 that qualifies Samson for the "book of faith" (Hebrews 11). Selfish, manipulative, short-tempered, and homicidally violent, Samson's a borderline-psychotic personality.

Seeing Samson's Cross-Eyed Reflection

The Radical Gospel

BY GERHARD FORDE

The radical gospel of justification by faith alone simply does not fit, cannot be accepted by, and will not work with an anthropology which sees the human being as a continuously existing subject possessing ‘‘free choice of will’’ over against God and/or other religious goals.

The Radical Gospel

NOT The Gospel

BY ZACK JAMES COLE

There was a TV show back in the ‘90s called “Dinosaurs” that I used to sneak into the living room at night to watch. The reason I had to sneak-watch this show was that my loving and protective parents had a problem with the Baby in the show who was very disrespectful (albeit hilarious).

NOT The Gospel

Failed Saint, Faithful Savior

BY DONAVON RILEY

Christians have long enjoyed an absurd love affair with white-washing biblical saints. Since the earliest days of the Church, saints have been held up as role models for great faith and godly behavior. From the Old Testament, for example, Abraham is often held up by Sunday School teachers and adult bible study leaders as a role-model.

Failed Saint, Faithful Savior

Turnt

BY ZACK JAMES COLE

When I hear the word “repentance” my mind quickly goes to those old terror inducing Chick Tracts. Say the word “repent” and I think of that guy on the corner yelling at me and the rest of the Atlanta United FC supporters as we march into Mercedes-Benz Stadium.

Turnt

Hearing the Gospel with Old Testament Ears

BY KYLE G JONES

As a bass player, when I listen to music, I listen for what the bassist is doing. But, when I listen to music in my 2004 Honda Civic I have a problem: only one of the four speakers works. Everything I listen to is panned to the left, leaving my favorite songs sounding hallow and half-empty.

Hearing the Gospel with Old Testament Ears

A Cloud Full of Grace

BY DOMINICK SANTORE

We are surrounded by a great cloud of witnesses. But, who are these witnesses, what do they witness to, and what does it mean to be surrounded by a great cloud of them? What do we find in this “cloud”? The “who” is simple enough. We just need to look one chapter prior in Hebrews.

A Cloud Full of Grace

The Offensive Law, and Salvation Without Regret

BY GRETCHEN RONNEVIK

If our job is to magnify the Lord to the world, God must have decided to use our children to magnify our own sins so we can see them.  My children hate correction.  They take it as a personal insult.  No matter how gently, or grace filled I correct, padding it on either side with nice things, they receive it like a punch from a bully.

The Offensive Law, and Salvation Without Regret

Carseats, Gluten, and Opinionated Bloggers

BY GRETCHEN RONNEVIK

Never has the law fallen so hard on me as in motherhood.  Never before was I more aware that my best wasn’t good enough.  If parenting doesn’t drive you to your knees, you’re doing it wrong. I remember a conversation with a mom-friend years ago.

Carseats, Gluten, and Opinionated Bloggers

Breaking The “Righteous” Meter

BY MARIAH COWARD

In the first few years after God saved me I saw sin as this unfortunate parasite that was slowly sucking the life out of me. But I imagined that through enough hours of prayer, fasting and quiet time with the Lord I could successfully rid myself of these pesky leeches.

Breaking The “Righteous” Meter

A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Altar Call

BY WAYNE STENDER

This is my fifteenth year on staff at Bible camp. The path to the snack shop is well worn, and I’m an expert at carpet ball. The closing ceremonies of camp are routine after a decade in the ministry. The speaker closes his final message, slapping his Bible against the podium.

A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Altar Call

Justification Is Simple

BY DONAVON RILEY

The Gospel is simple to confess. That is, we are justified by faith alone, through Christ alone, without the works of the Law. And so long as we don't add any limits, measures, or conditions to this, the Gospel is easy to confess to others. The message that we are justified by faith alone through Christ Jesus is good news anyone can deliver.

Justification Is Simple

Keeping the Law in its Place

BY MARTIN LUTHER

I do not mean to give the impression that the Law should be despised. Neither does Paul intend to leave that impression. The Law ought to be honored. But when it is a matter of justification before God, Paul had to speak disparagingly of the Law, because the Law has nothing to do with justification.

Keeping the Law in its Place

Why Confess Sin?

BY DONAVON RILEY

Why confess sin? Is it so we can get rewarded by God? A little extra grace or material good for our troubles, maybe. Maybe, if we make a good confession, we can earn forgiveness? But, how much sin must we confess before we get what's coming to us?

Why Confess Sin?

The Good News About the Bad News

BY RJ GRUNEWALD

The Law gets a bad rap. There is certainly a negative component to the Law. The work of the Law is very different than the work of the Gospel. If the Gospel’s work is to revive, the Law’s work is to kill. If the Gospel’s work is to cover over sin, the Law’s work is to expose sin.

The Good News About the Bad News