Day 3: Law & Gospel

Read Romans 7:15-8:1

Do you ever feel like you have a civil war going on inside of you? Romans 7:15-20 is one Bible description of this internal struggle. Many doubt the existence of God, but nobody can deny that something inside all of us often fights against what we believe is right. Our inclination toward what is wrong is called sin—a disease we all inherited. As a virus produces symptoms, so we are guilty of sins. Our actions prove we are sinners—that we have the disease. But when the Holy Spirit creates faith in us through hearing God’s Word, we begin to want what God wants and not want what sin wants. Once we trust in Jesus, God declares us saints. And the internal battle begins between sinner and saint.

God’s Word applies two teachings to we who are simultaneously sinner and saint: Law and Gospel. The Law is applied to us when we are secure in our sins. The Law says, “You deserve death.” When the Law does its work, the secure sinner cries out, “Who will save me?” The Gospel is applied to saints who despair of themselves and want God’s ways to become their own. The Gospel says, “There is no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.” Although very different in application, the Law and the Gospel have the same goal: to bring you to Jesus.

Properly applying God’s Word—Law and Gospel—is taught by God’s Holy Spirit in the school of experience. The Law applied to a despairing saint only adds insult to injury. The Gospel applied to a secure sinner gives license to sin. And beware! We are masters at deceiving ourselves. We all need other Christians in our lives to help us live in response to God’s Word. God did not leave us to fight this war alone.