The Law and Gospel


“All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness,” 2 Timothy 3:16, NIV

As I was growing up, I grew accustomed to Christians who focused primarily on the law of God and seemed to ignore the gospel. Now it is popular in many circles to focus only on the gospel and ignore the law. I think both views are fundamentally flawed in many ways, because the Holy Bible teaches both the law and the gospel.

It is dangerous to focus only on one aspect of the Bible while ignoring the rest of the scriptures. In 2 Timothy 3:16, Paul was instructing Timothy about the need to put the whole Bible in context and to understand it as the entire will of God. God’s word is consistent and does not contradict itself in any way. Every part of the inspired word of God is profitable and has something to teach us about the plan of salvation.

The positive aspects of God’s word are for teaching and training, while the negative aspects are important for rebuking and correcting. In a sense, only those who understand the bad news about God’s hatred for sin are able to appreciate the good news about God’s love for the sinner. While the death of Christ releases us from the condemnation of the law, the Bible teaches us that we still uphold the law as a standard of holy living. We are called to live a life of obedience to the law of love.

The good news is that we are not saved by our obedience to the law, but by simple faith in Christ. This is the assurance of our salvation. But we are rewarded in heaven according to our works here on earth. There is a blessing attached to each of God’s commandments that is attained by obedience to His will. This is a mature view of Christianity. Both law AND gospel are essential to understanding the holy will of God.

~Stephen Beagles