Law and Gospel: So How Does God Speak to Us Again?

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1 Law and Gospel: So How Does God Speak to Us Again? Questions from last week? Comments? What was the point of last week s bible study? What did you take away from it? Prayer: Romans 10:17, So faith comes from hearing, and hearing through the word of Christ. Does Faith come from hearing? Thoughts? How does God communicate with us? John 10:27, My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me. Romans 10:17, So faith comes from hearing, and hearing through the word of Christ. John 8:47, Whoever is of God hears the words of God. The reason why you do not hear them is that you are not of God. Jeremiah 33:3, Call to me and I will answer you, and will tell you a great and hidden things that you have not known. Isaiah 30:21, And your ears shall hear a word behind you, saying, This is the way, walk in it, when you turn to the right or when you turn left. Hebrews 4:12, For the word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing to the division of soul and of spirit, of joints and of marrow, discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart. 1 Kings 19:11-13, And he said, Go out and stand on the mount before the Lord. And behold, the Lord passed by, and a great and strong wind tore the mountains and broke in pieces the rocks before the Lord, but the Lord was not in the wind. And after the wind an earthquake, but the Lord was not in the earthquake. And after the earthquake a fire, but the Lord was not in the fire. And after the fire the sound of a low whisper. And when Elijah heard it, he wrapped his face in his cloak and went out and stood at the entrance of the cave. And behold, there came a voice (of God) to him and said, What are you doing here, Elijah? Psalm 32:8-9, I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go; I will counsel you with my eye upon you. Be not like a horse or a mule, without understanding, which must be curbed with bit and bridle, or it will not stay near you. Psalm 5:3, O Lord, in the morning you hear my voice; in the morning I prepare a sacrifice for you and watch. Isaiah 55:3, Incline your ear, and come to me; hear, that your soul may live; and I will make with you an everlasting covenant, my steadfast, sure love for David. 1

2 Hebrews 1:1-3, Long ago God spoke to our ancestors in many and various ways by prophets, but in these last days he has spoken to us by a Son, whom he appointed heir of all things, through whom he also created the worlds. He is the reflection of God s glory and the exact imprint of God s very being, and he sustains all things by his powerful word. Romans 10:13-17, For, Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord shall be saved [Acts 2:21, Joel 2:32. 1:Cor. 1:2]. But how are they to call on one in whom they have not believed? And how are they to believe in one of whom they have never heard? And how are they to hear without someone to proclaim him? And how are they to proclaim him unless they are sent? As it is written, How beautiful are the feet of those who bring good news! But not all have obeyed the good news; for Isaiah says, Lord, who has believed our message? So faith comes from what is heard, and what is heard comes through the word of Christ. When we say that God speaks to us, what does God speak to us through? What medium does God use to communicate? What is God s vocabulary? Solid Declaration, Article V: Law and Gospel (Book of Concord 1580), The distinction between law and gospel is a particularly glorious light. It serves to divide God s Word properly and to explain correctly and make understandable the writings of the holy prophets and apostles. Therefore, we must diligently preserve this distinction, so as not to mix these two teachings together and make the gospel into a law. For this obscures the merit of Christ and robs troubled consciences of the comfort that they otherwise have in the holy gospel when it is preached clearly and purely. How is the merit of Christ obscured when the Gospel is confused with the Law? For everything that comforts, that offers the favor and grace of God to transgressors of the Law, is, and is properly called, the Gospel, a good and joyful message that God will not punish sins, but forgive them for Christ s sake(solid Declaration). Romans 10:1-4, Brothers and sisters, my heart s desire and prayer to God for them is that they may be saved. I can testify that they have a zeal for God, but it is not 2

3 enlightened. For, being ignorant of the righteousness that comes from God, and seeking to establish their own, they have not submitted to God s righteousness. For Christ is the end of the law so that there may be righteousness for everyone who believes. What does this verse mean? The comfort of the Gospel, and the fear from the Law, an exercise: In the space between the bible verses quoted below, write how you experience the verse, what are your impressions of it, how does it make you feel? This is not about exegesis, or biblical interpretation per se, I am more interested in how this verse makes you feel. Ex. 34:14, For you shall worship no other god, because the LORD, whose name is Jealous, is a jealous God. Matthew 24:29-31, Jesus said, Immediately after the suffering of those days, the sun will be darkened and the moon will not give its light; the stars will fall from heaven, and the powers of heaven will be shaken. Then the sign of the Son of Man will appear in heaven, and then all the tribes of the earth will mourn, and they will see the Son of Man coming on the clouds of heaven with power and great glory. And he will send out his angels with a loud trumpet call, and they will gather his elect from the four winds, from one end of heaven to the other. 3

4 1 Cor. 8:4-6, Hence, as to the eating of food offered to idols, we know that no idol in the world really exists, and that there is no God but one. Indeed, even though there may be so-called gods in heaven or on earth - - as in fact there are many gods and many lords - -yet for us there is one God, the Father, from whom are all things and for whom we exist, and one Lord, Jesus Christ, through whom are all things and through whom we exist. Gen. 8:21b-21, 9:13-15, The Lord said in his heart, I will never again curse the ground because of humankind, for the inclination of the human heart is evil from youth; nor will I ever again destroy every living creature as I have done I have set my bow in the clouds, and it shall be a sign of the covenant between me and the earth. when I bring clouds over the earth, and the bow is seen in the clouds, I will remember my covenant that is between me and you and every living creature of all flesh; and the waters shall never again become a flood to destroy all flesh. In the end, what, if you could classify your impressions, was Law and what was Gospel? Isaiah 61:1-3, The spirit of the Lord God is upon me, because the Lord has anointed me; he has sent me to bring good news to the oppressed, to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and release to the prisoners; to proclaim the year of the Lord s favor, and the day of vengeance of our God; to comfort all who mourn; to provide for those who mourn in Zion - to given them a garland instead of ashes, the oil of gladness instead of mourning, the mantle of praise instead of a faint spirit. The will be called oaks of righteousness, the planting of the Lord, to display his glory. 4

5 What are your thoughts on this passage? How does Isaiah address those who are oppressed? Captives? Mourn? etc. Law and Gospel, a final analysis Elijah - God was not in the wind, the earthquake, or the fire, God was heard through God s speech. Faith? Gal the law is not of faith, nor does it produce faith, but faith comes by hearing, and by hearing the word in Christ. So, faith comes from hearing the Gospel (Christ -> Gospel). Hebrews 4:12, The word of God is living and active. That is, it does things to us. God s word creates things in us and around us, all things. Similarly, Jesus Christ, according to Heb. 1, is the imprint of God s very being, so when we experience Christ, or better put, hear Christ s word [forgiveness - Christ s ultimate concern], then we know who God truly is. And, just like God s word in Christ created the worlds, it also creates us a new, a new creation, as Paul puts it. When the Gospel is identified as the saving work of Christ for the forgiveness of sins, this means that we do not do anything to restore our relationship with God, we do not make a decision about whether or not to eat from the tree of knowledge of good and evil (Gen. 2+), we are then restored to our proper relationship with God as created beings, we are creatures of the Father, no more, and no less. If our works count for nought, then the mystery of God becomes clearer, the mystery being that we are created beings who will probably not know everything there is to know about their Creator, but what we do know, is sufficient for salvation. Law and Gospel ultimately depends on where you are on your FAITH journey. 5

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