Law and Gospel

Daniel Preus
Evangelium Loven Luthersk teologi Sommerstevne2013

Daniel Preus holdt denne talen søndag 7. juli 2013 under FBBs sommerstevne.

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The first president of the church I belong to was named C. F. W Walther. He wrote a book that has been very important in the history of my church. The name of the book is: The Proper Distinction Between Law and Gospel. In this book Walther gives attention to all of the threats against the pure doctrine of the Bible. In the explanation of 25 theses he explains how all attacks against the Bible and against God’s Word take place because people do not have a clear understanding of the basic difference between the Law and the Gospel.

In his very first of his 25 theses written on the topic of Law and Gospel, C. F. W. Walther declares: “The doctrinal contents of the entire Holy Scriptures, both of the Old and the New Testament, are made up of two doctrines differing fundamentally from each other, viz., the Law and the Gospel.”[i] Walther makes two basic points here. First of all, if you look at the doctrinal content of Scripture, all of it can be understood in terms of only two teachings – namely, Law and Gospel. Thus, if you correctly and thoroughly understand the Law and if you correctly and thoroughly understand the Gospel, you understand all of the doctrinal content of the Bible. The second point is that these two doctrines are fundamentally different from each other.

If what Walther says is true and if it is also true that the Bible is the Word of God in which he reveals Himself and His will to us, it is clear that Christians ought to consider very carefully the teaching of the Law and the teaching of the Gospel and that they need to be very clear on the difference between the two. Our understanding of all of Scripture depends on this. For that reason Walther in his second thesis states, “Only he is an orthodox teacher who not only presents all the articles of faith in accordance with Scripture, but also rightly distinguishes from each other the Law and the Gospel.”[ii]

The need to be able to understand the difference between the Law and the Gospel becomes even more apparent to us when we realize that both offer a way of salvation. This salvation is a salvation from death and from damnation. The Law says about all of God’s commandments, “Do this and you shall live.” The Gospel says about God’s Son, “He has done this; therefore you shall live.” They both offer a way of salvation but these ways are very different. The one way lies through our own behavior; the other way lies through the person and work of another, namely Jesus. The one way lies through our faithful keeping of all of God’s commandments; the other way lies through His faithful keeping of all of God’s commandments. The one way presents us with commandments and requires that we keep them. In other words, it requires us to save ourselves; the other way, insisting that we cannot save ourselves, sends the Son of God into the world to do the saving that we are unable to do.

As I already said, both of these offer a way of salvation, but these ways are very different. In fact, one of these ways, the way of the Law, cannot give us what it promises, not because there is anything wrong with the Law, but because there is something wrong with us. The other way can give us what it promises because although there is something seriously wrong with us, there is nothing wrong with Him (Jesus) and He came to do for us what we could not do ourselves.

We need to be clear on this – the Law offers life. It offers everlasting life to all who keep it. It offers hope to the sinless. Unfortunately, because none of us is sinless. And because none of us can do what the law requires, instead of being a way of life, it becomes for us a way of death and of condemnation. Because none of us can keep this law, none of us can follow it to the life it promises, the Law which is good and holy and pure and given by God, becomes for us who cannot keep it an accuser and judge and relentless condemner.

The Gospel, on the other hand also offers life. But it does not offer it to those who keep the Law; it offers life to those who break the law. It does not offer hope to the sinless; rather, it offers hope to those who are full of sin, as it covers sin, it forgives sin, it washes sin away.

Do you want to live forever? Do you want to be free from all pain and suffering? Do you want to conquer death? Do you want to leave behind you all sadness and frustration and failure and war and injustice and malice and jealousy and greed and hatred and live a life that is filled with goodness and love and gentleness and humility and piety? There are two ways offered to us whereby all this can be achieved – the way of the Law and the way of the Gospel – but only one of them will work, not because there is anything wrong with either of them, but because there is something wrong with us.

The way of the Law won’t work. The way of the Gospel works. And these are the only two ways that have ever been suggested to achieve the kind of salvation we’re talking about. So we better understand these two ways correctly. We better understand the difference between them. It’s absolutely critical that we do. It is literally a matter of life and death. No wonder Walther says, “Only he is an orthodox teacher who not only presents all the articles of faith in accordance with Scripture, but also rightly distinguishes from each other the Law and the Gospel.”

In fact, the importance of distinguishing correctly between these two ways is so crucial that Walther also writes in his fourth thesis, “The true knowledge of the distinction between the Law and the Gospel is not only a glorious light, affording the correct understanding of the entire Holy Scriptures, but without this knowledge Scripture is and remains a sealed book.”[iii] In other words, if you don’t understand the distinction between the Law and the Gospel, you don’t understand the Bible. It is as though it were sealed to you. You may be able to read it and understand what all the words mean but you don’t really know why it was written, you don’t know what God intends to accomplish with it. That’s what Walther is saying.

Walther is right! The Bible says, “God… desires all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth.” (1 Tim. 2:4) And the Scriptures were written to bring us to the knowledge of the truth that saves, the truth that reveals Jesus Christ and the salvation He brings. The Gospel is about Him, who He is and what He has done for the salvation of the world and if somebody cannot even see the difference between the Gospel and the Law, the Bible truly “is and remains a sealed book.” 

Now it may seem to people who have a rudimentary understanding of the Law and the Gospel, it may seem to you, that it should not be difficult to distinguish between them, it should not be difficult to avoid confusing them. Walther did not think so. According to his third thesis, “Rightly distinguishing the Law and the Gospel is the most difficult and the highest art of Christians in general and of theologians in particular.  It is taught only by the Holy Spirit in the school of experience.”[iv] Walther did not believe that it was easy to distinguish the law and the Gospel correctly and to teach both purely and consistently according to Scripture. No, rather this “is the most difficult and the highest art of Christians in general and of theologians in particular.”

Once again, I have to agree with Walther. When we see the many false teachings which plague the church today and which have always plagued the church, it becomes apparent that historically it has been difficult, even for theologians, to distinguish correctly between the Law and the Gospel and to teach correctly about both. In all cases the inability to teach correctly is the result of sin and the inclination of sinful human beings to disbelieve the Word of God and especially to misunderstand or to hate his Law.


In Walther’s 7th thesis he says, “the Word of God is not rightly divided when the Gospel is preached first and then the Law.”[v] Please note, at this point, that Walther is talking about preaching, not about the witnessing that Christians may do in their daily lives. Nevertheless, the principle involved is the same. There is a reason for preaching or speaking the Law first. After all, the purpose of the law is to prepare people for the Gospel. If the law is not preached, the people will not recognize the need for the Gospel. Jesus says, “They that are well have no need of a physician, but the sick.” (Matthew 9:12) Can you imagine a person seeking a cure, when he doesn’t know he has an illness? Can you imagine a person who is in perfect health walking into a hospital and going to the admittance desk and asking, “Is there some way I could get some surgery today? I’d really like some surgery.” Nobody does that. Nobody looks for a cure if he doesn’t think he’s sick. If it’s not broken, don’t fix it. Right?

Well, the purpose of the law is to show us that we’re broken and that we need to be repaired. The purpose of the law is to show us that we’re sick and we need to be healed. So the purpose of the law is to show us our sin and our inability not to sin. The purpose of the law is to kill us, so to speak, so that the Gospel may raise us to life.

So this afternoon I will talk about the Law first. Then I will talk about the Gospel. What is the Law? All of us who have been confirmed know the answer to that question. Right? In the Catechism I was raised with we read, “The Law is that doctrine of the Bible in which God tells us how we are to be and what we are to do and not to do.” And where do we find this law? In the Ten Commandments. They are the Law of God. You know them all I’m not going to repeat them. The first three cover our relationship with God and tell us how we are to act toward Him and not act toward Him. This part of the Law is summed up very well by Jesus: “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.” (Matt. 22:37)  The 4th through 10th Commandments inform us how we are to treat our fellow human beings. Jesus sums them up, too, by saying “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” (Matt. 22:39)

Now the law can act in three ways. You learned this, I am sure. It can act as a curb. In this sense, it acts to restrain human beings and to keep the world, more or less, from chaotic disorder. People fear punishment so they keep the law. They don’t keep it because they love God; they don’t keep it because they love each other. They keep it because they’re afraid not to. Or they keep it out of self-interest so that other people will think of them in certain ways and treat them in certain ways. That’s the first use. The law can also act as a mirror. This is its second use. It gives us commandments and when we do not keep them, it shows us our sin, our failings, our lack of love for God, our lack of love for others. And third, the Law can act as a rule or a guide. In this sense it really only serves Christians. Christians who are grateful for God’s salvation, ask themselves, “How can I serve Him who has been so good and kind to me?” The answer: “Here are the commandments. Show your love for God by living according to them.”

For our purposes right now, the law as mirror is what we need to talk about. Just like you look into a mirror and you see every blemish, every flaw, so we look into the mirror of God’s Law and it shows us every blemish, every flaw, that is if we look honestly. But precisely because we are sinful, honestly is not how we ordinarily look at the law. The typical human response to the Law is one of self-defense or denial. We don’t want to see what we see, so we deny what we see. Just like nobody wants to learn that he has cancer or heart disease, so people do not want to hear that they are sinners. If you discover that you have a type of cancer that cannot be treated and that this cancer progresses rapidly, this is not good news. It means that you are going to die and that it is going to happen soon and there is nothing you can do about it. So also with sin, when you learn that you are a sinner and that sin results in death and punishment and there is nothing you can do about it, this is not good news. And just as it is common to go into a state of denial when one learns that death is coming soon, so also it is typical for human beings to go into denial when confronted with God’s law.

So Jesus sharpens the law for us to make sure that we cannot escape its judgment. If you are near-sighted and standing back from the mirror a bit, you may not be able to see the blemishes. You have to get up closer or you have to put on glasses. Somehow you have to get a sharper focus. It can be like that when we first look into the mirror of the Law. You see the 5th Commandment and it says, “You shall not kill.” And you think, “I’m alright. I’ve never killed anybody.” But Jesus sharpens the focus for us. He says, “Wait. Whoever is angry with his brother without a cause shall be in danger of the judgment.” (Matt. 5:22) and through his disciple John, Jesus teaches, “Whoever hates his brother is a murderer.” (1 John 3:15) The 6th commandment tells us not to commit adultery and you think, “I’m OK.” But then Jesus says, “Whoever looks at a woman to lust for her has already committed adultery with her in his heart.” (Matt. 5: 28)  You hear the 7th Commandment and it says you’re not permitted to steal. You think you’re safe? Along come the 9th Commandment and the 10th Commandment and tell you that you are not even allowed to covet.

Jesus sharpens the focus in other ways. When He says, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind,” He makes it clear that fulfillment of the Law is not just a matter of outward behavior. It also covers your motivations, your intentions, your heart and your mind. When he commands, “You shall love your neighbor as yourself,” he makes it clear that it is not just your deeds that are involved here but also your attitudes. And in the face of these two commandments of Jesus, who can actually claim to have kept them? Love the Lord with all your heart, soul and mind? Love your neighbor as yourself? Does anyone here want to raise his hand and tell me he has done that?

The more we study this law, the more likely we are to get depressed or angry or retreat further into self-defense and denial. Because there is no flexibility. God doesn’t say about stealing, “I’m going to let it go up to 100 kroner. But after that I’m going to get angry.” No, don’t ever do it. And God doesn’t say about murder, “I’ll let you do this once but that’s it.” No. How many chances did Cain get? Not even one. He killed his brother and was cursed. And God doesn’t say about sexual sins, “I’m going to permit fornication, but not adultery.” Nor does He say, “Soft porn, that’s OK, but none of that really hard stuff.” And I think that we need to point out again today, especially today, that He is the one who instituted marriage and that it is within marriage that He intends husband and wife to experience an intimacy that God has placed within marriage. This sexual intimacy is designed for marriage. And it is not the right of single people to grasp that which God does not offer them. He offers this sexual intimacy within the union of marriage which He has instituted and only within this marriage union. So God does not say to us, “Once you’re married, you better be faithful. But I understand how young people are and I know they’re going to do it, and I know how hard it is these days to make a commitment. But once you’re married, you better be faithful.” No. He says, “You shall not commit adultery.” And this Commandment covers all sexual relationships outside of the marriage of a man and a woman. Obviously, that includes homosexuality and lesbianism. These are adultery.

And the law has no flexibility. I think this is what distresses many of us most about the Law. There is no flexibility. When it tells us what we are not permitted to do, it doesn’t say, “Don’t usually do these things;” it says, “Don’t ever do these things.” The law says, “Always honor your parents; not most of the time – always.” The law doesn’t say, “Don’t take God’s name in vain on Sundays.” The law doesn’t say, “Speak the truth on Tuesdays and Thursdays.” The law doesn’t say, “Love the Lord your God with most of your heart and soul and strength and mind.” It doesn’t say, “Love your neighbor like yourself 9/10ths of the time.” God’s law is very clear and very unforgiving. It condemns everybody, you, me, everybody. It lets nobody off the hook. And it never relents, it never offers hope; it can create fear, it can create anger and resentment, but it can’t give hope.

And there is no flexibility here. Your parents or your employers may lay down rules and sometimes you can go to them and ask for them to reconsider the rules. And sometimes they will change the rules. But God’s Law never changes. Jesus said, “For truly, I say to you, ?until heaven and earth pass away, not an iota, not a dot, will pass from the Law until all is accomplished.” (Matt 5:18) Again Jesus says, “It is easier for heaven and earth to pass away than for one dot of the Law to become void.”  (Luke 16:17)

The law never changes. And you know what? The law never forgives. You know that, don’t you? It is not the nature of the law to forgive. In fact, it cannot forgive. It can only accuse. The Law is not mercy. It is law. And the more we look at it, the more we find ourselves accused.

As the focus of God’s law as mirror sharpens, we are able to see ourselves more clearly in this mirror. What do we see?

There is a popular fairy tale called Sleeping Beauty in which a wicked witch has a magic mirror. Every day she asks it a question: “Mirror, Mirror on the wall, who’s the fairest of them all?”  And every day the mirror tells her that she is the fairest in the land. But one day the mirror does not give that answer. Another woman, Sleeping Beauty, is now the most beautiful and the mirror tells the wicked witch the truth, the truth which she does not want to hear. Imagine we could ask such a question of God’s Law. “Mirror, Mirror on the wall, who’s the fairest of them all? Who’s the holiest, who’s the purest, who’s the nicest, who’s the most faithful, who’s the most godly? Tell us, Mirror.” What do you think we would hear? A Hindu asks the question. What answer does he hear? “Not you.” A Muslim asks the question. What answer does he hear? “Not you.” A Jew asks the question. What does he hear? “Not you.” A Roman Catholic asks the question. What does he hear? Not you. A Lutheran asks the question. What does he hear? Not you. Everybody hears the same answer. Not you.

Nobody will ever hear a positive answer to that question. The law can’t give one. Now if we could ask it a different question. “Mirror, mirror on the wall, who’s the worst of them all? Who’s the most sinful, who’s the most guilty?” That would be another matter, wouldn’t it? But you know what, once again we would all hear the same answer. We’re all in the same boat. What does God say in Psalm 14:3? “They have all turned aside; together they have become ?corrupt; there is none who does good, not even one.” What does God say in Ecclesiastes 7:20? “Surely ?there is not a righteous man on earth who does good and never sins.”  What does God say in Isaiah 64:6? “We have all become like one who is unclean, and all our righteous deeds are like a polluted garment.  ?We all fade like a leaf, and our iniquities, like the wind, take us away.”

Yes, the law puts everybody in the same place and pronounces the same judgment on them all. As St. Paul puts it, “Now we know that whatever ?the law says it speaks to those who are under the law, ?so that every mouth may be stopped, and ?the whole world may be held accountable to God. For ?by works of the law no human being will be justified in his sight, since ?through the law comes knowledge of sin.” (Romans 3:19-20)

Now if this were all that the Law had to say, it would be depressing enough. Unfortunately, this is not all the Law has to say. Not only does the Law accuse us; it also condemns us. God said to Adam and Eve about the tree of the knowledge of good and evil in the Garden of Eden, “In the day that you eat of it, you shall surely die.” And they ate of it. And we, too have eaten of it, every one of us. We have not done that which God commands; we have done that which He forbids. And this sin has consequences.

We, too, will die because of our sin. You see, the Law does not only accuse; it also condemns. So sinners are condemned to experience God’s punishment for the wrong they have done. This punishment, unless someone saves us from it, includes the death of our bodies in this life and eternal death in the life to come. It means eternal separation from God in Hell. It means an eternity of suffering, an eternity without joy, without comfort, without hope. “He who believes and is baptized will be saved,” Jesus says in Mark (16:16) “But he who does not believe will be condemned.”  

One last comment about the Law before we move on. It is typical of humans that they think they are better than others. They will hear God’s commandments again and again. They will recognize again and again that they have done wrong but they will still consider themselves better than others. But St. Paul says, “The wages of sin is death.” (Romans 6:23) There is only one reason you die. It’s sin. Now you can say the cause of death is a heart attack or cancer or a car accident but the real cause of every death is sin. If we did not sin, we would not die. And if there is anybody here who thinks that he or she is better than others, if there is anybody here who believes that he or she is less guilty than others, let me remind you that the wages of sin is death, and one day you will die and when you do, you will be just as dead as everybody else. You may think you are better than others, but believe me, you will be no less dead. Death is a great equalizer. No one stands up from it and says, “Ah, that was a mistake. Death, you have no claim on me.”

So this is the Law. It accuses. It condemns. It shows no mercy; it never forgives. And for sinful people there is no hope here. In spite of its promises of life for those who keep it, it offers no hope because no one can keep it. So what happens if a preacher preaches only the law and no Gospel? The people will have no hope. And the people in the church will not be Christians – or if they are Christians, it will not be because of what they heard in that church.

Thank God the Law is not the only message contained in Scripture. The Bible also contains the message of the Gospel. When this message is preached, the Holy Spirit will create Christian faith and sustain it. This message of the Gospel, like the Law promises salvation, but unlike the Law can deliver the salvation it promises to sinners.


The Gospel tells us about a Savior whom God sent because He loved us in spite of our sin and even though we do not keep His Law.  Our Lutheran Confessions describe the Gospel in these words:

The Gospel is properly a doctrine that teaches what a person should believe, so that he receives forgiveness of sins with God. In other words, it teaches that God’s Son, our Lord Christ, has taken upon Himself and borne the Law’s curse and has atoned and paid for all our sins. Through Him alone we again enter into favor with God, receive forgiveness of sins through faith and are delivered from death and all the punishments of sins, and are eternally saved.[vi]

One of the concepts that comes through very clearly in these words from the Book of Concord is the concept of substitution. Notice – “Christ has taken upon Himself and born the Law’s curse and has atoned and paid for all our sins.” I would like to spend some time considering this concept of substitution because I don’t think you can fully appreciate the Gospel, or perhaps even understand it at all, apart from the concept of substitution. 

What you didn’t do He did do. And He didn’t come to show you how it could be done. He came to do it Himself. Let me use an illustration. Imagine the strongest person in the world is here with us today.  He says to you, “I am going to give you a reward, a great reward of one hundred million kroner, if you just perform one small task for me.  All you need to do is lift this barbell that weighs 300 kilograms.” What would you do? Would you try to lift it? Perhaps. Would you lift it? Of course not!  But let’s say you try and you fail. And then this strong man says to you, “Oh, you didn’t lift it. Let me show you how.” Then he lifts the barbell and says to you, “There! I have now shown you how to do it. Now you try!” Would you be able to lift the barbell? Of course not! It does not help for him to show you how to do something you cannot do.

So also Jesus didn’t come to show you how to keep the Law, to show you how to live. He came to keep the law for you, that is, in your place, as your substitute. He did not come to show you how to save yourselves; He came to save you. He did not come to show you how to conquer death; He came to conquer death for you. In all these things He came to be your substitute, not your example.

Let’s explore this concept of substitution a little more. In simple terms, a substitute takes the place of another. Everything the substitute does has the same value as if the original person does it. Consider, for example, that you are a player in a soccer game on a team called the Lutheran Lions, who are playing a game against the Pagan Tigers. Within the first 30 seconds of the game, you are injured and you can no longer play so the coach puts in a substitute. The substitute plays an excellent game.  He scores three goals and the Lutheran Lions win 3 to 2. The substitute’s goals are counted just as if you had scored them. You don’t go home and tell your family that the other team won because you were injured. No. You announce, “We won! I was injured and I was taken out of the game in the first 30 seconds, but we won!” Imagine, however, that the coach of the Pagan Tigers approached your coach after the game to inform him that the Tigers had won because the points scored by your substitute didn’t count because he was only a substitute.  That isn’t how the game is played, is it?  Everybody knows that whatever the substitute does is as valid as if the original person did it.

God gave us rules by which we were supposed to live, but we broke those rules. In a sense, we were injured right at the beginning because of our sin and we were incapable of living the game of life.  From conception we have rebelled against God’s rules, and we have been breaking them ever since. Because of how we have lived, there could be no victory at the end of the game. We were headed for a certain loss. Then God sent in a substitute. He sent His own Son to take our place and do what we were unable to do. We should have kept the Law, but we didn’t. Instead, our substitute kept God’s Law for us.

The night on which He was betrayed, Jesus prayed to His Father: “I have glorified You on earth, having accomplished the work that You gave Me to do” (John 17:4). The work the Father had given Jesus was that of keeping the Law on our behalf. The writer to the Hebrews tells us that Jesus did everything without sin (Hebrews 4:15). We were supposed to love God with all of our heart and soul and mind. We didn’t, but our substitute did so for us. Jesus says in the Gospel of John: “I have kept My Father’s commandments and abide in His love” (John 15:10).

We were supposed to be punished for our sins, for breaking God’s rules and commandments, but God sent a substitute for that too. Jesus was punished in our place, bearing our sin and guilt so we could go free. John the Baptizer says succinctly: “Behold, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world!” (John 1:29). Isaiah says it far more beautifully than anyone ever could:

Surely He has borne our griefs and carried our sorrows; yet we esteemed Him stricken, smitten by God, and afflicted. But He was wounded for our transgressions; He was crushed for our iniquities; upon Him was the chastisement that brought us peace, and with His stripes we are healed. All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned every one to his own way; and the Lord has laid on Him the iniquity of us all. (Isaiah 53:4–6)

But Jesus did more than take on our punishment and death. He was our substitute in every way on every day of His life. Everything we should have been, our substitute was. Everything we should have done, our substitute did. Everything we should have suffered, our substitute suffered. Because Jesus kept every commandment perfectly, our God looks at us as if we had kept every commandment perfectly because our substitute did it for us. Then Jesus died on the cross for our sins. And God looks at us as if we already had died on the cross and paid for our sins, because our substitute did it for us.

Jesus was our substitute with every breath He took, with every step He walked, with every word He spoke, with everything He did. From the moment of His conception in Mary’s womb to the moment of His death, Jesus took our place. Whether it was obeying His stepfather, Joseph, whether it was showing love to His mother, Mary, whether it was looking for food or for a place to sleep—everything Jesus did, He did for you and me. He wasn’t on this earth for Himself.

Perhaps the most profound expression of substitution is found in Paul’s Epistle to the Galatians: “Christ redeemed us from the curse of the law by becoming a curse for us—for it is written, ‘Cursed is everyone who is hanged on a tree’ ” (3:13). Luther comments extensively on this verse in his “Lectures on Galatians”:

Paul guarded his words carefully and spoke precisely. . . . For he does not say that Christ became a curse on His own account, but that He became a curse “for us.” Thus the whole emphasis is on the phrase “for us.” For Christ is innocent so far as His own Person is concerned; therefore He should not have been hanged from the tree. But because, according to the Law, every thief should have been hanged, therefore, according to the Law of Moses, Christ Himself should have been hanged; for He bore the person of a sinner and a thief—and not of one but of all sinners and thieves. For we are sinners and thieves, and therefore we are worthy of death and eternal damnation. But Christ took all our sins upon Himself, and for them He died on the cross. Therefore it was appropriate for Him to become a thief and, as Isaiah says (53:12), to be “numbered among the thieves.”

And all the prophets saw this, that Christ was to become the greatest thief, murderer, adulterer, robber, desecrator, blasphemer, etc., there has ever been anywhere in the world. He is not acting in His own Person now. Now He is not the Son of God, born of the Virgin. But He is a sinner, who has and bears the sin of Paul, the former blasphemer, persecutor, and assaulter; of Peter, who denied Christ; of David, who was an adulterer and a murderer, and who caused the Gentiles to blaspheme the name of the Lord (Rom. 2:24). In short, He has and bears all the sins of all men in His body—not in the sense that He has committed them but in the sense that He took these sins, committed by us, upon His own body, in order to make satisfaction for them with His own blood. . . .

This is the most joyous of all doctrines and the one that contains the most comfort. It teaches that we have the indescribable and inestimable mercy and love of God. When the merciful Father saw that we were being oppressed through the Law, that we were being held under a curse, and that we could not be liberated from it by anything, He sent His Son into the world, heaped all the sins of all men upon Him, and said to Him: “Be Peter the denier; Paul the persecutor, blasphemer, and assaulter; David the adulterer; the sinner who ate the apple in Paradise; the thief on the cross. In short, be the person of all men, the one who has committed the sins of all men. And see to it that You pay and make satisfaction for them.” Now the Law comes and says: “I find Him a sinner, who takes upon Himself the sins of all men. I do not see any other sins than those in Him. Therefore let Him die on the cross!” And so it attacks Him and kills Him. By this deed the whole world is purged and expiated from all sins, and thus it is set free from death and from every evil. But when sin and death have been abolished by this one man, God does not want to see anything else in the whole world, especially if it were to believe, except sheer cleansing and righteousness. And if any remnants of sin were to remain, still for the sake of Christ, the shining Sun, God would not notice them.

This is how we must magnify the doctrine of Christian righteousness in opposition to the righteousness of the Law and of works. . . . . If the sins of the entire world are on that one man, Jesus Christ, then they are not on the world. But if they are not on Him, then they are still on the world. Again, if Christ Himself is made guilty of all the sins that we have all committed, then we are absolved from all sins, not through ourselves or through our own works or merits but through Him. But if He is innocent and does not carry our sins, then we carry them and shall die and be damned in them. “But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ! Amen.” (1 Cor. 15:57).[vii]

Understanding the nature of substitution is essential to the understanding of Christianity. When we understand this concept, we receive immeasurable comfort because we know that Jesus did everything necessary for our salvation. His death is not a symbolic act. Christ’s work itself is the reconciliation.

C. F. W. Walther frequently depicted Jesus as our substitute in the same way Luther did. In a sermon on Mark 16:1–8, Walther preached on the theme “Christ’s Resurrection—Your Absolution.” In this sermon, he declared:

Jesus, when He was raised from the dead, was absolved for all sin, but since it was not for Himself but for all people that Christ died, who was it really that was set free, who was it really that was absolved when Jesus rose from the dead? It was all people! Just as all Israel triumphed when David defeated Goliath, so all humanity triumphed when Jesus defeated sin, death and Hell. And so we hear Paul saying in his second epistle to the Corinthians, “We are convinced that one has died for all; therefore all have died.” And again in his epistle to the Romans, “Then as one man’s trespass led to condemnation for all men, so one man’s act of righteousness leads to acquittal and life for all men.” Just as Christ’s condemnation was the condemnation of all mankind, Christ’s death the death of all mankind, Christ’s payment the payment for all mankind, even so Christ’s life is now the life of all mankind, His acquittal the acquittal of all mankind, His justification the justification of all mankind, His absolution the absolution of all mankind.[viii]

What a beautiful, comforting message! Not only has Christ taken on Himself all our sins and made them His own, but He has given to us His righteousness and made it ours. Luther called this the “blessed exchange” that occurs between Christ and the sinner. Because of this blessed exchange, Christ has taken our place and we take our place before God in Christ. In other words, the Father looks on His Son as if He were all sinners and the Father looks on us sinners as if we were His Son. In “The Freedom of a Christian,” Luther compares Christ to a bridegroom and the church to a harlot whom Christ has made his bride.

Here this rich and divine bridegroom Christ marries this poor, wicked harlot, redeems her from all her evil, and adorns her with all his goodness. Her sins cannot now destroy her, since they are laid upon Christ and swallowed up by him. And she has that righteousness in Christ, her husband, of which she may boast as of her own and which she can confidently display alongside her sins in the face of death and hell and say, “If I have sinned, yet my Christ, in whom I believe, has not sinned, and all his is mine and all mine is his.”[ix]

In a sermon entitled “Two Kinds of Righteousness,” Luther addresses the same theme:

Therefore a man can with confidence boast in Christ and say: “Mine are Christ’s living, doing, and speaking, his suffering and dying, mine as much as if I had lived, done, spoken, suffered, and died as he did.” Just as a bridegroom possesses all that is his bride’s and she all that is his—for the two have all things in common because they are one flesh [Gen. 2:24]—so Christ and the church are one spirit [Eph. 5:29–32]. . . .

Through faith in Christ, therefore, Christ’s righteousness becomes our righteousness and all that he has becomes ours; rather, he himself becomes ours.[x]

Clearly the righteousness of the Christian, the righteousness by which we stand justified before God, is not our own righteousness—it’s an alien righteousness, a righteousness that comes not from within us but from outside of us. It is the righteousness of Jesus. And if the righteousness of Jesus covers us, it cannot be imperfect or incomplete in any way because it is the righteousness of the Son of God. Therefore, it is a perfect and infinite righteousness. When God looks at you and me and sees this righteousness of Jesus that through faith has become ours, He actually sees perfection in us.

This is the Gospel – not what we have done, but what He has done for us. The Law deals with our behavior; the Gospel deals with His gracious behavior for us. When a preacher leads a person to believe that he is responsible for his own salvation, either entirely or in part, this is a terrible preaching of the Law. When a preacher leads a person to believe that God the Father, through His only begotten Son, has accomplished everything necessary for our salvation, and has indeed saved us, this is a precious preaching of the Gospel.

Franz Pieper, also one of the early fathers of the Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod, writes about how important it is to understand the distinction between the Law and the Gospel, if we are to understand properly the nature of Christianity. He says,

While all religions, except the Christian, teach that man himself must do that by which he is delivered and saved, the Christian religion teaches not only that all men should be eternally saved but also that they already have been saved.  According to the Christian faith, man is already redeemed; he is already delivered and freed from his sin and all its evil consequences.  He is already reconciled unto God.  The Christian religion proclaims: You need not redeem yourself nor secure reconciliation between God and yourself, for all this Christ has already accomplished for you. Nor has He left anything for you to do but believe this, i.e., to accept it!” Here indeed is the point of distinction between Christianity and all other religions.[xi]

In order to understand the Gospel properly, it is extremely important to understand that our salvation has already been accomplished. Jesus on the cross did not say, “It will be finished one day.”  He said, “It is finished.” What did He mean? He meant that the task the Father had sent Him to do – to save the world, to save all people – had been accomplished. There was nothing more to be done to bring about mankind’s salvation. Jesus had done it all. The gift of salvation has been purchased for everyone.

But, according to Walther, “One thing needs still to happen in order that you may have this gift and that one thing – is faith. For every person who wants to be saved must believe that this general absolution pronounced at Christ’s resurrection 1800 years ago was also pronounced upon him.”[xii]

Jesus has died for the world and the world has been saved, but unless one believes this, it is of no benefit to him. There is no final salvation apart from faith in Christ.  That which Christ has purchased through His substitutionary suffering, death and resurrection must be conveyed to the sinner in such a way that it becomes his own. In other words, the sinner needs to believe that all that Christ has accomplished for him is truly his.

Thus, there are these two aspects of our salvation – that which occurs outside us, which has been done by Jesus and that which occurs within us, which is accomplished by the Holy Spirit. That which is accomplished within us, namely, the creation of faith, is not our work. It is the work of the Holy Spirit. We do not believe because we choose to believe.  We do not believe because we are more pious than other people. We do not believe because there is something good in us that is not found in others. We believe because the Holy Spirit brings us to faith through the proclamation of the Gospel, which is the message about Jesus and what He has done for us through His life, suffering, death and resurrection.  It is very important for us to understand this truth. Otherwise, we will begin to preach faith as a new law. And if we do that, our hearers will be right back where they were – confronted by the Law – which they cannot keep.

Therefore, Luther stressed in his Small Catechism that faith is not created by the one who believes but by the Holy Spirit. You have learned these words of his from the Small Catechism: “I believe that I cannot by my own reason or strength believe in Jesus Christ, my Lord, or come to Him, but the Holy Spirit has called me by the Gospel, enlightened me with His gifts, sanctified and kept me in the true faith.”

And how does the Holy Spirit create this faith?  In only one way, through the Gospel, which is the message about what Jesus has done for our salvation. This truth must be strongly emphasized, that our faith is a gift of God. Otherwise, people will think that salvation is due, at least partly, to their decision or their choice or their will. And then we will not be saved by grace alone but by grace and works. Then Jesus will not be our only Savior but He will become a partial Savior and we, too, will become partial saviors. This must never be.

Therefore, we must learn to preach about faith in such a way that people are not directed to their own faith as the assurance of salvation. Rather they need to be directed to that to which faith always looks, namely Jesus the Savior.

Therefore, Walther states in his book on Law and Gospel, that,  “… the Word of God is not rightly divided when one makes an appeal to believe in a manner as if a person could make himself believe or at least help toward that end, instead of preaching faith into a person’s heart by laying the Gospel promises before him.”[xiii]  In explanation of this thesis, he says,

A preacher must be able to preach a sermon on faith without ever using the term faith.  It is not important that he shout the word faith into the ears of his audience, but it is necessary for him to frame his address so as to arouse in every poor sinner the desire to lay the burden of his sins at the feet of the Lord Jesus Christ and say to Him: “You are mine, and I am yours.”

Here is where Luther reveals his true greatness.  He rarely appeals to his hearers to believe, but he preaches concerning the work of Christ, salvation by grace, and the riches of God’s mercy in Jesus Christ in such a manner that the hearers get the impression that all they have to do is to take what is being offered them and find a resting-place in the lap of divine grace.[xiv]

Faith is created by the Holy Spirit speaking through the Gospel. Therefore, faith takes no comfort from the Law. The Christian does not reject the Law and he recognizes that the Law is God’s Word and is righteous and true. But the Law cannot comfort. The Law cannot save. Only the Gospel can comfort and save. It is therefore of utmost importance that we be able to distinguish properly between the Law and the Gospel.

I would like to conclude this afternoon by identifying some of the terrible mistakes that people can make in confusing Law and Gospel and how to avoid these mistakes so that the people will see Christ clearly in the sermons of the preacher and in the speech of the laypeople so that true faith may be created and preserved.


I have five pieces of advice.

Do not direct people to look inside themselves for assurance of God’s love. What does Jesus say in the Gospel of Matthew? “Out of the heart come evil thoughts, murder, adultery, sexual immorality, theft, false testimony, slander.” Matthew 15:19. Therefore, I should not be looking here in my heart for a certainty of salvation. In here, in my heart, is sin. So do not encourage people to trust their feelings or their emotions to get assurance of God’s love. One day, when all is going well, my feelings will tell me God loves me. The next day, when things are not going well, my feelings will tell me He doesn’t. So often you will hear preachers say something like this: “Can’t you just feel God’s love pouring down on you?” Or “Can you sense the power of the Holy Spirit in your heart?” What I feel or what I sense can never provide assurance of forgiveness and salvation. This assurance can never be found in me. It is found rather outside me in the Gospel, the message of God’s gracious act of sacrificing His Son to be my Savior. It is never in my heart that I should look for assurance, but always to Jesus.

But is it not true that in the heart of the Christian there is not only sin but also faith? Is it not true that with this faith there is joy and peace and wonderful feelings of happiness? Yes, that is true. But these feelings are the result of God’s gracious message of forgiveness in Christ. They are not proof of that forgiveness. The proof of God’s forgiveness, the evidence of His love for us is in the person and work of His Son. As Walther wrote, “Grace is not something for which I must look in my heart.  It is in the heart of God.  Grace cannot be found in me, but is outside of me.”[xv]  So if you want to convince people that God loves them, that He forgives them, that He saves them, don’t point them to their own hearts or to their feelings. Point them to Jesus because in Jesus God’s grace has been poured out upon the world

 My second piece of advice is related closely to the first. Do not direct people to their good works or Christian life for reassurance of their status before God. This is to teach them to depend on the Law for their comfort and assurance. The Bible says, “All have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.” Romans 3:22. The Bible says, “If we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us.” 1 John 1:8 The Bible says, “There is not a just man upon the earth who does good and never sins.” Ecclesiastes 7:20 Christians are sinners and if you encourage them to gain comfort from the way they live their lives, you will be pointing them to the law and the Bible says, “By the law is the knowledge of sin.” Romans 3:20 If a person does not steal or kill or commit adultery, that does not mean he is a Christian. If a person goes to church or gives to the poor or obeys his parents or speaks in tongues or prays, that does not mean he is a Christian. There is only one thing that makes a person a Christian. Jesus says, “God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten Son so that whoever believes in him will not perish but have eternal life.” John 3:16  The Apostle Paul says, “I am not ashamed of the Gospel of Christ for it is the power of God unto salvation for everyone who believes.” Romans 1:16 Faith in Jesus is what makes a person a Christian and only Jesus saves.

The point is: the Law can’t save us because we can’t keep it. So don’t point people to their behavior which is governed by the Law if you wish to comfort them. And that includes prayer, by the way. Prayer is not the way God comes to us with His mercy and grace. Prayer is something we do in which we plead to God for His mercy and grace. But prayer never earns God’s favor. God’s favor comes to us on account of Jesus.

Our Lutheran Confessions make another point on this matter. If you can gain God’s favor through your good works, why did God bring His Son into the world? The Apology to the Augsburg Confession asks the question, “If we merit the forgiveness of sins by these elicited acts of ours, of what use is Christ?”[xvi] Again, the Apology asks, “If we can be justified by reason and its works, what need is there of Christ…?”[xvii] And one more quote from the Apology. “The law works wrath and continually accuses. The preaching of the Gospel must be added, that is, that the forgiveness of sins is granted to us if we believe that our sins are forgiven for Christ’s sake. Otherwise what need would there be of Christ, what need of the Gospel?”[xviii] So do not point people to their conduct, their works, their life as assurance that they are among the saved. This is to point them to the Law and nobody can ever be saved by the Law. Point them instead to Jesus who is the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world. In Him you have salvation

My third piece of advice is closely related to the first and the second. Do not speak of faith in Jesus as a human work that merits God’s favor. Faith is a work of God the Holy Spirit who creates faith through the Gospel. Although we are the ones who believe, this belief is not our own creation. It is created by God. Therefore, we cannot take credit for it. Faith has no merit of its own. Faith only receives the merit of Jesus. Therefore, faith should never be preached as a command, but as an invitation. When Jesus says, “Come to me all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest,” is this an invitation or a command? Is this Law or Gospel? It’s an invitation; it’s Gospel. When the apostle Paul says to the jailer in Philippi, “Believe in the Lord Jesus Christ and you will be saved, you and your household,” is this an invitation or a command? Is this Law or Gospel? It’s an invitation; its’ Gospel.

You have heard preachers tell their hearers they need to make a decision for Jesus or that they need to choose Jesus or they need to make Jesus the Lord and Master of their lives. This is to preach faith as a command and it is a command that nobody is able to fulfill. As Luther says in his Small Catechism, “I believe that I cannot by my own reason or strength believe in Jesus Christ my Lord or come to him. But the Holy Spirit has called me by the Gospel, enlightened me with his gifts, sanctified and kept me in the true faith.”

So if you want people to believe, don’t tell them to do it. Point them to Jesus. Show them the life of Jesus who came into this world as one of them to keep the Law on their behalf. Show them the love of Jesus who went to a cross to bear their sins and their guilt and their shame. Show them the power of Jesus who in His resurrection conquers death and offers everlasting life to all who believe in Him. Show them Jesus and the Holy Spirit will create faith. Show them the Gospel because only the Gospel can create faith and only the Gospel can bestow that which faith receives.  Let me repeat that:  Only the Gospel can create faith and only the Gospel can bestow that which faith receives, namely the forgiveness of sins, life and salvation.  In fact, when the Gospel offers forgiveness of sins, life and salvation, at the very same time it gives that which it offers. “Accordingly,” Walther writes, “preachers who do not clearly and plainly proclaim the Gospel… are not faithful in the discharge of their ministry and inflict great injury on men’s souls.  Instead of advancing Christians in the knowledge of the pure doctrine, they allow them to grope in the dark, nurse false imaginations in them, and speed them on in their false and dangerous path.”[xix] 

My fourth piece of advice is this: Do not place conditions on the Gospel. Do not tell people that God will forgive them if they lead a holy life or that God will save them if they are faithful to Him or that God will be kind to them if they submit to him and obey Him. This is to make God’s forgiveness and salvation dependent upon our faithfulness and is to turn the Gospel upside down and make it into Law which can never save. You see, the law is always conditional. When a lawyer came to Jesus to test Him and asked Jesus what he must do to be saved, Jesus asked him what the Law said. The man replied, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your strength and with all your mind. And you shall love your neighbor as yourself.” Jesus then said to him, “You have answered rightly. Do this and you will live.” Luke 10:25-28  In other words, if you keep the Law you will be saved by it. If you keep it – that’s always the condition. And nobody can keep it. The Law always has conditions – but nobody can meet those conditions.

The Gospel, on the other hand, is always unconditional. There is nothing you can do to make it happen, to enhance, it to strengthen it, to make it better. In the Gospel God never says, “I will love you if, I will forgive you if, I will save you if.” “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life. For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world but that the world through Him might be saved.” John 3:16-17 Where are there conditions in this proclamation? There are none. It simply declares what God has done and whoever believes shall be saved. No one is denied God’s grace on the basis of color or sex or age or intelligence or even behavior. What happens when one adds conditions to the Gospel? Paul says, ?“But if it is by grace, it is no longer on the basis of works; otherwise grace would no longer be grace.”  (Ro. 11:6) In other words, when the Gospel is made conditional, it becomes law. And no one can be saved by the Law. So do not try to add conditions to the Gospel. Don’t try to change it; don’t try to make it better or stronger. Just preach it – the unconditional grace of God in Jesus that saves all who trust in Him.

Finally, my fifth piece of advice: Do not equate love with the Gospel. This is an extremely common mistake that people make. They think that if they have told people to love each other, they have proclaimed the Gospel. But what does the Apostle Paul say? “Love is the fulfilling of the Law.” If you are telling people to love each other or to love God, you are not proclaiming the Gospel, but the Law and the law cannot save.  It is very important for us when we talk about love, to distinguish between God’s love and our love. When we talk about God’s love for us in Christ, a love which sent the Son to earth to give His life as a ransom for you and me, then we are talking about the Gospel. But when we talk about that love which God demands from us, then we are talking about the Law. Now there is certainly nothing wrong with saying that Christians should love God and their neighbor. We should love God and neighbor. But we should never imply that our love toward God and neighbor is in any way responsible for salvation.

Christianity is about God’s love for sinners, His boundless grace toward those who had no right to expect mercy from Him, His gift of a Son who saves for all eternity those who trust in Him. To reduce Christianity to a simplistic message about the importance of loving people is to destroy the Christian faith completely. Of course you should love your neighbor but the central teaching of Christianity is not about our love but about God’s love. As the Apostle John says, “In this the love of God was manifested toward us, that God has sent His only begotten Son into the world, that we might live through Him. In this is love, not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son to be the propitiation for our sins.” 1 John 4:9-10


 If you make the mistakes against which I have just warned you, do you know what will happen? People will stop trusting Christ and will start seeking comfort from their own works or their feelings or their love for other people or something else inside them and they will either become Pharisees who are self-righteous and think they can justify themselves before God OR they will despair of God’s love and salvation knowing they can never earn these. We need to be careful in the message we bring to people and make sure we are not bringing them our own sinful ideas but the Word of God.

Now what are some of the things you should do? For example, is it OK to preach the Law? Of course, it is. But it must be preached correctly. You remember in our first session we talked about the three uses of the Law – as a curb, as a mirror and as a rule? You need to preach the Law as a mirror to show people their sin. I won’t spend much more time on this since we covered it before. I will simply say that the people need to hear about their sins if they are to desire a Savior. But you also need to preach the Law as a rule. Because you see, when people become Christians, what happens? When people learn of the precious gift of God’s Son and the complete forgiveness through Jesus of all their sins and of the eternal inheritance of glory and joy that God has prepared for them, what happens? People become joyful and grateful and they want to express their joy and their gratitude. And they want to know how to express their joy and their gratitude. And God gives them a way to do that.

“Do you want to show how you love me? Do you want to express your love for me? Let me show you how to do that: Here are my commandments. Here is how you can show your love for me. Keep my commandments. Worship only Me. Honor my name. Listen to my Word. Honor your parents. Do not kill and harm people. Honor marriage and do not commit adultery. Do not lie about people and damage them with your words. Do not covet the things you may not have. This is how you can honor me. Keep the commandments I have given you.”

And Christians who love God commit themselves to a life in which each day they repent of their sins and dedicate themselves once again to a life in which they glorify their Father in Heaven and rejoice in the good works which He has prepared for them to do.

So you should preach about the Christian life. You should preach about sanctification. But it will always be with the understanding that nothing the Christian does will ever merit God’s favor. Only Jesus could do that through His perfect life and His innocent suffering and death. The true Christian life of sanctification happens as a result of preaching the Gospel, not as a result of preaching the law. Because they see God’s love in Jesus and have “tasted that the Lord is gracious,” Christians now wish to live to his glory, not because they have to but because they want to.

I don’t do good works because God will damn me if I won’t. No, He won’t damn me. He has punished Jesus for me. So I do my good works because I love God and am happy to be His child. I don’t do good works because God will be angry if I don’t. No, He won’t be angry at me. He poured all His anger out upon His Son when He lay dying on the cross for my sins. And because of what Jesus has done God is no longer angry at me. And because He’s not angry at me, I am not afraid of Him. I love Him and I serve Him because I want to.

Consider the example of the love of a husband for his wife. Does he remain faithful simply because he is afraid of the consequences of being caught? In other words, is he always wanting to commit adultery but doesn’t  do it because the consequences if he is found out would be too unpleasant? What kind of love is that? Or is he faithful to his wife because he treasures her? This is the kind of love she wants. So God does not desire an obedience that is rendered only out of fear of damnation if one does not do it. He wants a life of praise that is lived in response to the message of His love and mercy and grace and forgiveness and life through Jesus Christ His Son.

How will you create this same attitude in the people to whom you preach? In the Apology to the Augsburg Confession we read, “Through Christ we come to the Father.”[xx]  Not through obedience, not through prayer, not through love, that is not through our love. No, through Christ and only through Christ we come to the Father. So preach about Jesus who is the Christ. You are not preaching Christianity if you are not preaching about Jesus. Preach about Jesus – about who He is, the almighty Son of God, the second person of the Holy Trinity who became a man to take my place under the Law. Preach about Jesus – about what He has done, living under God’s commandments perfectly on my behalf, suffering for my sins on the cross, bearing my punishment and dying my death so that through faith in Him I might be forgiven, become God’s child and by His grace inherit His everlasting Kingdom. Preach about Jesus whose nail-scarred hands are an eternal testimony of God’s never-ending love for you.

When you preach this message about Jesus, the Holy Spirit will speak through you to create faith in those who hear and when they hear and believe the precious Gospel of Jesus, they will rejoice in their forgiveness and salvation and they will dedicate their lives to the glory of their gracious God who gave His Son that they might belong to Him forever.

Pastor Daniel Preus

July 7, 2013

Soli Deo Gloria


[i] C.F.W. Walther, The Proper Distinction Between Law and Gospel, (St. Louis, Mo.: Concordia Publishing House, 1928), 1.  All subsequent references to this work will be abbreviated Law and Gospel.

[ii] Law and Gospel, 1.

[iii] Law and Gospel, 1.

[iv] Law and Gospel, 1.

[v] Law and Gospel, 2.

[vi] Concordia : The Lutheran Confessions. Edited by Paul Timothy McCain. St. Louis, MO : Concordia Publishing House, 2005, S. 556.

[vii] Jaroslav Pelikan, ed. and trans., Lectures on Galatians 1535, vol. 26 of Luther’s Works,(St. Louis: Concordia, 1963), 277-278, 280.

[viii] C.F.W. Walther, Christi Auferstehung: Unser Sieg, Translated by Daniel Preus (sermon preached Easter Sunday, 1846). Mark 16:1-8 apparently was one of Walther’s favorite texts. He preached on it no less than sixteen times.

[ix] W. A. Lambert, trans., “The Freedom of a Christian,” in Career of the Reformer I, ed. Harold J. Grimm, Vol. 31 of Luther’s Works, ed. Helmut Lehmann (Philadelphia: Fortress, 1957), 352.

[x] Lowell J. Satre, trans., “Two Kinds of Righteousness,” in Career of the Reformer I, ed. Harold J. Grimm, vol. 31 of Luther’s Works, ed. Helmut Lehmann (Philadelphia: Fortress, 1957), 297-298.

[xi] Franz Pieper, Dr. C. F. W. Walther as Theologian.  Concordia Theological Monthly, Vol. XXVI (December, 1955), 921.

[xii] 1846 sermon by Walther referred to above.

[xiii] Law and Gospel, 260.

[xiv] Ibid., 260.

[xv] Law and Gospel, 145.

[xvi] Ibid, 109.

[xvii]  Ibid.

[xviii]  Ibid, 145.

[xix] Law and Gospel, 276.

[xx] Tappert, 126.