The need for the Law

If I have heard it once, I have heard it a thousand times: people hear the law all week long; when they come to church on Sunday, they need to hear the Gospel.

Now I am not one to disagree that all week long, the law of sin and death in terms of a crumbling society that ignores natural law, disregards God’s Word, and favors chaos over order does make the believer stand back and take notice that the world is in great need of a Savior, Jesus Christ, who by His death and resurrection has overcome sin and death, bringing order in the midst of chaos.  The nightly news provides more than a few examples of the law of God being broken by people and by nations.  Even the so called ‘good news’ stories are more law than anything else.

But here is the problem: living in a world where reminders of the law are constantly present does not help the believer any.  The believer can merely stand back and say, ‘thank God I am not like those people; thank God I am not doing things that are anywhere near that bad; thank God that I go to church, where I am reassured of my perfect nature every Sunday’.

Living in a world filled with law does not lead the believer to recognize their own sinful nature; it only hi-lights the sinful nature of everybody around them.

The Law must be preached to its fullest on Sunday morning (or whenever the people of God should gather) because the believer needs to be struck down in his own sins as well.  The Law must condemn the hearer, not merely by a series of examples from the world around the believer.  The world is a miserable place, full of sin and death, and the world will be punished for its sins when the Lord returns in glory.  But the believer must recognize not just the sins of others, but their own sins as well, so that they might repent and be spared the coming judgment.

Because when the believer is condemned by the Law and repents of his sins, then and only then, can he hear the sweet saving Gospel of Christ crucified and risen to redeem sinners.

Law and Gospel must be preached each and every Sunday, not as a reminder of everyone else’s need of a Savior, but as a reminder of your own need for a Savior.

About revschmidt

An LCMS Pastor in North-Central Kansas
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