One prominent Baptist preacher wrote concerning the proper distinction of Law and Gospel these confusing words, “The requirements of the Gospel are . . . ”It is important and probably one of the most important tasks in the study of the Word of God to properly distinguish between Law and Gospel. It is important not to co-mingle the Law and the Gospel because when they are confused and co-mingled, then works righteousness abounds. Thus, it is also imperative that when stating Biblical truths, these truths are stated properly as well.
So, first, let us distinguish Law and Gospel. The Law shows our sins. The Law makes demands. The Law serves as a curb or a deterrent to keep us away from sin, as a mirror to show us our sins when we do sin so that we might confess those sins, and as a rule or guide to help us to live in a God-pleasing manner.
The Gospel shows our Savior. The Gospel proclaims what Jesus did, does and will do for us. The Gospel shows us Jesus’ life for us, His taking our sins and paying their price for us, His dying for us, His rising for us, His promise to return for us, His ascending for us, His ruling over us, watching over us and interceding for us, and His promise to robe us with His robes of righteousness.
Now, to say there are requirements to the Gospel certainly attempts to put new constraints on the Gospel and turn it into a new Law, thus moving one into the direction of works righteousness, thinking one might do something in order to earn God’s free gift of salvation, meaning it is no longer a free gift, but something worked for, earned, etc.
Here again, then we see the importance of how things are said. Interestingly enough, however, when push comes to shove, one will find that certain Christian denominations must say what they believe in certain ways, including misleading and works righteousness leaning ways in order to continue their own doctrines and teachings, yet the whole while attempting to explain that what they say is not necessarily what they meant, that what they meant was what you said. Perhaps is we all said it the right way, the same way, we might all be Lutherans! :)