What is your word for 2017? Many people make resolutions for the New Year. Instead of making a resolution, I have chosen a word that I want to learn more about and focus on in the coming year. For example, in 2014 my word was power and in 2016 it was gospel.
I would like to encourage you to consider two words in 2017. These two words have greatly impacted how I live my life and how I understand the Bible. They change how you read Scripture, pray, worship, and even how you love God and others.
These two words are not new but very familiar. They are law and gospel. Martin Luther writes, “Virtually the whole of the scriptures and the understanding of the whole of theology-the entire Christian life, even-depends on the true understanding of the law and the the gospel.”1
Law can be defined as the commands of Scripture or what we are told to do. Whereas, the gospel can be explained as the promises of Scripture or what God in Christ has done. Why does this matter? Because when we look at Scripture and confuse these two words, it leads to confusion in the Christian life.
The law’s purpose in Scripture is explained through Galatians 3:23-25, “Now before faith came, we were held captive under the law, imprisoned until the coming faith would be revealed. So then, the law was our guardian until Christ came, in order that we might be justified by faith. But now that faith has come, we are no longer under a guardian,”then, the law was our guardian until Christ came, in order that we might be justified by faith. 25 But now that faith has come, we are no longer under a guardian.”
The gospel is best described in 1 Corinthians 15:3-4, “For I delivered to you as of first importance what I also received: that Christ died for our sins in accordance with the Scriptures, that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day in accordance with the Scriptures.”
How do law and gospel benefit our parenting?
- When a child is crushed by the wrong thing they have done, we need to remind them that Christ is the one who took their place and forgives their sin.
- When a child is stressed and burdened by all the things they need to do (sports, work, school, etc.), they need a reminder that their identity in not in what they do but instead in their identity which is already determined in Christ.
- When you as a parent are exhausted and overwhelmed, be reminded that your identity in not in how good or bad you are as parent, but instead you are fully loved and accepted in Christ. Jesus came and lived the perfect life because we couldn’t and He fulfilled the law for us. Therefore, we can rest in Christ and not be striving to live by the law, but instead be empowered by the gospel in how we live.
How does the Gospel of Jesus Christ impact our daily life?
Blessings to you and your family in 2017 and may you better understand how law and gospel impact all of life.
By J.L. Martin
Husband to Bethany
Dad of 1 boy, 3 girls
1 Corinthians 13 Parenting Team Member
Pastor of Children and Family at Hesston MB Church
1. Grunewald, R.J., The Art of Law and Gospel. rjgrune.com publishing, 2016, p.6.
Are you a single parent? Attend the HeartCORe Single Parent Conference. Meet 1C13P team members Matt Haviland , Misty Honnold, Lori Wildenberg, and Becky Danielson in Kansas City on January 21. Click HERE for more information and to register.
The HeartCORe Single Parent Conference will inspire and encourage you to be the best mom or dad you can be during these challenging times. Be blessed by the messages given by single parent experts, Misty Honnold (Single Mom KC) and Matt Haviland (A Father’s Walk Single Dad Ministry). Culturally relevant material presented by Lori Wildenberg and Becky Danielson, co-founders 1 Corinthians 13 Parenting, will arm you with the current cutting edge information for families.