The Law as Appetite Builder for Gospel

What does effective ministry of the Law do for the new creation in Christ? Nothing in any direct way but it does create a powerful hunger and thirst for our Lord’s bread of life and living water of the Gospel. The Law itself imparts no spiritual nutrition or power for Christian living, even when its exhortations are softened and joined with words of inspirational encouragement. Rather it is intended to be God’s great appetite builder that sends us running for the Word of Life. Only through the ministry of the Gospel does our Lord nourish the new creation to sustain and mature our faith and life in Him. Full-strength Gospel can often by the simple Gospel – you are forgiven; God loves you and accepts you just as you are for the sake of Christ. It can even be as simple as, Jesus loves me this I know for the Bible tells me so. For our little ones in Christ, we must take care to continually feed them with the pure milk of the Gospel. And often the simple Gospel is what we need – just the plain but full-strength words that absolve: I forgive you all your sins. Yet it is also true that the Gospel is not simple. There is more to it in its implications and applications than we will ever grasp in a lifetime.

As we grow and mature in Christ, the Lord also intends for us to feed on the “meat and potatoes,” indeed the whole nine courses of the Gospel, not simply the milk and pabulum. The Spirit is working through Word and Sacrament to renew our minds and hearts to the full stature of the mind of Christ Himself. We need a mature understanding and trust of faith to handle the front lines of Christ’s warfare with the powers of darkness in our lives and in the world – maturity for battle and service at the tough outposts of life. The milk and pabulum of the Gospel alone will not provide that kind of growth and equipping. With a full-orbed Gospel the new creation becomes progressively built up for a fuller and deeper flow of the love and ministry of Christ through us to those He gives us opportunity to serve.

Dr. Steven A. Hein, “The Christian Life” pages 51-52

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