The law still applies

Friends, as I was reading from the Gospel of John, these words struck me: “Whoever is of God hears the words of God. The reason why you do not hear them is that you are not of God” – John 8:47. And I began to wonder about those who seem to be unable or unwilling to bear God’s word. I fear that many have misconceptions about the Word of God, the Gospel, that the Good News of Jesus Christ whitewashes sin and that the law no longer applies to them.

However, Jesus made it quite clear that He did not abolish God’s Law but fulfilled it and that the law continues to apply. He came to bring forgiveness and salvation, to undo the consequences of sin, but He did not destroy sin; it continues to haunt and destroy humanity.

The root of my concern deals with those who attempt to deny the sinful nature of humanity and spurn the preaching of the law because they only want to hear the Gospel. Yes, we all need to hear of God’s love and forgiveness; but also, we must hear why we need to receive it.

Martin Luther cautioned about holding to a right understanding of law and Gospel and keeping a proper balance. I find this balance often neglected in the church’s teaching and preaching. Many are too concerned with making everyone “feel good” and of not offending anyone; thus they avoid the subject of sin and the true nature of humanity. They avoid the parts of Scripture that are too hard, that address the results or consequences of sin in the world. It seems that the church is more concerned with offending present or potential members than offending God, more about unity with one another than unity with God.

I perceive that contemporary, secular, humanistic society has caused the church to shift from God to human centeredness. This shift causes the church to view God’s Word through the eyes of the world rather than to see the world through the lens of Scripture; thus the church attempts to define or interpret God’s Word in such a way that it conforms to contemporary societal views. And this brings to mind … the words of Paul in 2 Timothy 4:3-4: “For the time is coming when people will not endure sound teaching, but having itching ears they will accumulate for themselves teachers to suit their own passions, and will turn away from listening to the truth and wander off into myths.”

The church must stand faithful to God’s Word and reject the arguments and alluring of society as society attempts to lead people away from God.

– Letscher is the pastor at Bethany Lutheran Church in Montoursville.