The Law and The Gospel
It is a marvelous display of God’s wisdom, grace and truth that, by way of the Gospel, the justification of sinners is brought into intimate connection with the same law by which sinners are convicted and condemned! The law works wrath; the Gospel proclaims reconciliation. The two are connected by means of redemption!
The glorious truth of salvation revealed in the Gospel presupposes the reality of sin revealed by the law. Since we are all sinners, there can be no salvation based upon our works. Sin exists wherever perfect obedience to God’s law is not found. There is no perfect obedience among men, “for all have sinned and come short of the glory of God.”
The law condemns a person based upon his character and conduct and cannot pronounce him holy and righteous based upon anything he does or is enabled to do. Yet, the Scripture tells us that God’s law must pronounce the sinner holy and righteous if God is to be both a just God and a Savior. It is evident, then, that man’s works of obedience must be excluded from forming any part of the ground of salvation.
The Gospel, therefore, reveals another righteousness altogether which the sinner has no part in producing–the righteousness of a Divinely appointed Substitute, Christ Jesus. This righteousness was established solely by the obedience and death of Christ as the Substitute and Representative of God’s elect, and it is based upon this righteousness alone that God saves sinners and remains just to do so.
Nothing else will do, and nothing can be added to it as to the ground of salvation. His righteousness alone satisfies God’s law and justice, so much so that when this righteousness is imputed and received by God-given faith, the same law which curses sinners based on their best obedience, pronounces that sinner holy and righteous in Christ.