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Thursday, April 16, 2009

Leaning on the Word of God in Challenging Times- Part 12

I hope you had a joyful Easter! Christ has risen! 

We are continuing our Bible Study on Trusting in the Word of God in Challenging Times. This week, we are continuing our study of law and gospel. In this lesson we will look at how law and gospel can be applied to our lives, especially in times of suffering.  

1) Luther referred to the law as God's "alien work." This means that he does not enjoy punishing us for our sin. It is not what he wants to do. Yet, he does it so that he can do his proper work. His "proper work" which is the gospel- forgiving, healing, restoring all of creation.  

We need to use both law and gospel when we speak to others. While the gospel should always eclipse the law, both are necessary. 

Is it ever necessary to tell someone about their sin, and how God threatens to punish all sinners? 

Should we just use the Gospel, and only tell others about forgiveness and love? 

The person who does not repent of their sin, and feels that they have not disobeyed God needs to hear the law. The law should always be carefully and gently applied to others. If a person is suffering we should never say that God is punishing them, because we rarely know why bad things happen. However, if a person is suffering from a direct result of sin than we can use the law to show them a better way. (For example, if someone blows all of their money at a casino we can tell that person that "God wants us to be good stewards of money and other possesions. We shouldn't waste it on frivolous pursuits.") 

We should always be quick to apply the Gospel. Afterall, it is exciting news that is hard to hold back. Jesus Christ has died for your sins! You now have peace with God, and you are apart of his new creation! It should always follow the law, because the law cannot improve our lives or save us- only the gospel can.  

2) Below are some statements that a Christian might say in an attempt to comfort another who is suffering. Can you tell which statements are law statements and which are gospel? 

1)     “You are suffering because God is no longer smiling on you. Do not worry, because God wants to smile on you. Just do his will and everything will be ok!”  

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