The Law and Gospel

2 Corinthians 3:6

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If you hear someone make a distinction between the Law and the Gospel what does that mean? I want you to think of it in terms of a high jump competition to begin with. How would you do in a high jump competition? It’s track season right now as we’re filming this. Maybe you’ve been at a high jump lately. You see the competitors rehearse their steps, choreograph their jump as they prepare. The bar starts low and slowly goes up as they meet some success until no one is able to clear that bar anymore.

I want you to imagine you’re in the high jump competition, but they don’t start with the bar very low. Your competition starts with the bar at Olympic record height. At 8 feet. And you quickly find out that the ante is upped even from their. Your achievement of that height or your failure to achieve it is going to be the difference between death and life. That demand is heavy. 8 feet for life or death. Now you can have maybe a few hours, maybe even handful of years or more to achieve it, but finally it is a zero sum game. Either you jump your way to life or death.

The word of God’s Law is a word of demand. It is a word that requires nothing less than this standard. Like hand pointing to that 8 foot bar. It says either here or nothing or death itself.

God’s word speaks like this. Paul writes to the Corinthian Christians he says of the law, the letter,

The letter kills. (2 Corinthians 3:6)

The letter kills. This is a word from God and it is the word of God’s Law, but it is not the only word from God. And it is not meant to be the last word either. Paul goes on and says

The letter kills, but the Spirit gives life. (2 Corinthians 3:6)

After all of your flailing and flapping aimlessly at the base of that bar. Then the only one, the only one who is capable of making that leap, caringly puts You on his shoulders and very nimbly and swiftly leaps over that standard delivering You, yes You, delivering You into the soft pit of life on the other side.

That is God’s word of Gospel. It makes no demands of you. It only gives to you that which you cannot give yourself: life. Life in God’s Son. They are both God’s words his Law and his Gospel. One of them drives you into your grave and the other one delivers you to life itself. Life in God’s Son. That life is for You. Amen.