Law/Gospel by Forde

I saw this posted on Facebook by one of my virtual friends, Martin Yee.

Gerhard Forde drops some gospel bombs as he distinguishes law and gospel in a series of theses:

Thesis I. 

The Gospel does not tell me what to do to be saved. It tells me that I do not need to do anything to be saved. The Gospel doesn’t tell me what to do to get God to accept me. It tells me that God accepts me as I am.

The Law does not just make me try harder. It reveals the futility of my trying at all.

Thesis II. 
The Gospel does not demand a response of faith. It creates a response of faith. The Gospel does not demand anything. It is not a demand but an offer.

The Law is not just scolding. It is knocking the props out from under all my idols, especially the “god” of self.

Thesis III. 
The Gospel does not command me to be active for God. It invites me to be passive toward God.

The Law does not strengthen my defenses. It cracks them open and exposes my need of grace.

Thesis IV. 
The Gospel does not demand that I decide for Christ. It invites me to live in the decision God in Christ has made for me.

The Law does not impose some morality on me. It exposes the immorality and mortality within me.

Thesis V. 
The Gospel does not tell me that God will love me if I repent and have faith. It tells me that I can repent and have faith because God loves me.

The preaching of the law is not just talking about the law. It is thrusting a sword through the proud defender within me.

Thesis VI. 
The Gospel does not just lead me into self-examination or self-assertion. It leads me out of myself into self-forgetfulness and self-surrender. The Gospel does not cause me to look more at myself. It directs my attention to Christ and frees me to see my neighbor.

The Law does not show the way from me to God. It declares that there is no way from me to God.

Thesis VII. 
The Gospel does not offer grace on certain conditions to be met. Grace is received when I quit trying to meet conditions and start trusting God’s promises.

The Law does more than reveal that I’m sinful. It also reveals my inability to be anything else.

Thesis VIII. 
The Gospel does not offer cheap grace. Cheap grace is no grace. It is only conditional grace offered at low price. Grace is so precious it cannot be bought at any price. It can only be received as a free gift.

The Law not only reveals that I’m a sinful creature, it confronts me with the sin, and the stupidity of “playing creator” when I’m only a creature.

Thesis IX. 
The preaching of the Gospel is not only to convert pagans once-and-for-all into Christians. It is also to reconvert pagans again and again into Christians.

The preaching of the Law is not just for pagan non-Christians. It is also for non-Christian pagans within all Christians.

Thesis X. 
The preaching of the Gospel is always necessary. Whatever else I need, including the Law, I also need assurance of God’s love.

The preaching of the Law is not always necessary. There is no need to kill the dead; they need to be raised to new life.

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