We hear the terms Law and Gospel often but what is the Law and what purpose does it serve in a Christian’s life? The Law is often used to refer to the Pentateuch, the first five books of the Old Testament, the books of Moses. It is also more specifically used to reference the ten commandments and the rules regarding sacrifices, dietary requirements, and social interaction. The Law was never intended to provide salvation but instead points out our need for salvation. It is a measuring stick that shows us that we all fall short, that we all are in need of a savior.
Picture yourself living under the Law of the Old Testament for a moment. There were rules governing what you can and cannot eat, who you can relate with, and how you are to worship God. At first glance you might think that it would be an incredibly difficult place to live. Now think of all those rules and regulations as a foreshadowing of Jesus and what He provides for us. Think of each rule as a tangible reminder of what God is like and what He gives to His people. Each law causes me to trust in God in some way, to look to God for my help and my assurance.
The Law shows me that God is Holy and I am a sinner. The Law shows me that God is the only one who can cleanse me and purify my heart. The Law shows me that I am His and He is mine and our God is a jealous God. The Law shows me that I need the Gospel message to set me free. There is a time and place for both Law and Gospel because we live in a sinful world. The trick is learning when to bring the Law and when to apply the Gospel.