Well, I’m back. I know its been a while since I posted, but frankly, I was
terrified scared I was going to have another migraine with auras (see above artwork from those who have suffered these interesting phenomena). I thought maybe all the time I spent on the computer led up to the last one, so I flew under the radar for a while. I experienced my first classic migraine with auras over a month ago and it threw me for a loop. Thankfully I have not had another one and pray I do not have another one, although if I do, I have an understanding now of what to expect.
This whole experience has given me a new appreciation for the gift of faith that Jesus has given me, and also a new humility that, even though I have the precious gift of faith, I am very much a weak fallible human being, susceptible to fear and panic, who desperately needs her Savior. As 1 John 4:18 reminds me
“There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love.”
I caught myself the other day admonishing my husband, “Where’s your faith?” and then the Holy Spirit immediately brought to my mind my own weakness and panic during my migraine experience. Talk about eating humble pie. I confessed to my husband my own weakness and then we thanked God together that He gave us each other to help us through our personal times of weakness.
Shifting gears, I want to share what the Lord has shown me about preaching the Gospel. When he drew me out of darkness He drew me to a Lutheran Church, Missouri Synod, and periodically I have struggled with some of the things they teach, BUT, as I submit to the Holy Spirit’s direction in His word I am finding that this particular denomination really has an ordered understanding of scripture. As I read scripture and discern the teachings I am receiving, they do not contradict God’s word.
One I have struggled with recently is the preaching of the Law AND Gospel. As I reasoned in my mind from reading Matthew 28:18-19 and Jesus’ command to go and preach the gospel
He said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. So wherever you go, make disciples of all nations: Baptize them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit.”
I struggled with the LCMS’s preaching of not just the Gospel, but the Law AND Gospel. I remember how the Lord showed me His Gospel and the great love I experienced when I surveyed the cross and all that it meant; when He opened my mind to understand. Shouldn’t we just preach the Gospel – doesn’t the Law bind – because isn’t it the Gospel that sets men free?
As I prayed about this and searched, the Lord made it very clear to me that it is empirical that the Law and Gospel both be preached. He showed me as I read 2 Timothy 3:16
“All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness.”
As I continued my search the Holy Spirit led me to Galatians, particularly chapter 5
“The entire law is summed up in a single command: “Love your neighbor as yourself.””
Paul preached the law. What I’m learning though is to preach it in its proper place. The entire letter to the Galatians is one example, especially chapter 3
“So the law was put in charge to lead us to Christ that we might be justified by faith.”
As a wise Pastor once told me…and I’m paraphrasing…”Preach the law when someone is living in willful disobedience and sin, and preach the Gospel to those with repentant and broken hearts. BUT!!! It is never wrong to always preach the Gospel!”
And as Martin Luther teaches in his small catechism
“What purposes does the Law then serve?”
First, the Law helps to control violent outbursts of sin and keeps order in the world (a curb).
Second, the Law accuses us and shows us our sin (a mirror).
Third, the Law teaches us Christians what we should and should not do to live a God-pleasing life (a guide). The power to live according to the Law comes from the Gospel.”
Somewhere else it states the the Law is “an opportunity for obedience.”
Finally, the Holy Spirit led me right back to where I began in the Great Commission. He tied that chapter up with a neat and tidy ending by showing me the rest of Matthew 28:20
“Teach them to do (other translations: observe; obey) everything I have commanded you. “And remember that I am always with you until the end of time.”
I was praying with my Godly friend yesterday and as she prayed the Holy Spirit worked this cool thing in my mind. He stressed that we are no longer UNDER law, but we stand IN Grace!!! UNDER brings a weight that can be unbearable, but Jesus fulfilled the weight of the law on the cross so that we can stand unhindered IN Grace!!! God is amazing! God is love!
“So if the Son sets you free, you will be absolutely free.” John 8:36
I encourage you to read the Book of Galatians today. It is a powerful word that breaks the bondage of sin, death, and the devil. And it’s not that long! 🙂
Father God, Help us to order your word properly; to rightly divide the word of truth. I hereby declare that I will preach the Gospel and the Law. The Gospel -the GOOD GOOD NEWS – is that we are no longer under law because Jesus Christ, the Messiah, bore our disobedience to the law on the cross, died and was buried, and on the third day rose again!!! In Jesus’ name, Amen!