Tells us what to do and what not to do. In this use of the Law, it always threatens, accuses, condemns a person.
Tells us what God has done for us in Jesus, who took all the punishment of the Law that we deserve (Christ’s passive obedience for us). Jesus also lived the perfect life (Christ’s active obedience for us). The Gospel proclaims both aspects and forgives, renews, restores—Gospel never condemns.
It’s relatively easy to distinguish Law and Gospel when reading the Biblical text. Regarding salvation if a person is the subject of the verb then it is Law. If God/Jesus is the subject of the verb it is Gospel.
But in real life, when does this person across from me need to hear Law and when to hear Gospel? Now this becomes difficult, very difficult. In an earlier post I mentioned that we are quick make a judgment and think we have the solution and apply what we have imagined is the right “medicine.” In reality many times we don’t know the person well enough to know whether he/she needs Law or Gospel.
What about you? Can you identify a situation in which you had trouble determining whether Law or Gospel was needed? (Please, no names, just incidents).