Pastor Wade Burleson
Hearing His Voice Today
"The Right Use of the Law and Gospel"
Audio version as heard on WSEW-WWPC
Matthew 5:17-20 (English-KJV)
- Think not that I am come to destroy the law, or the prophets: I am not come to destroy, but
- For verily I say unto you, Till heaven and earth pass, one jot or one tittle shall in no wise
pass from the law, till all be fulfilled.
- Whosoever therefore shall break one of these least commandments, and shall teach men
so, he shall be called the least in the Kingdom of heaven: but whosoever shall do and teach
them, the same shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven.
- For I say unto you, That except your righteousness shall exceed the righteousness of the
scribes and Pharisees, ye shall in no case enter into the kingdom of heaven. Ye are the salt of the
earth: but if the salt have lost his savour, wherewith shall it be salted? it is thenceforth good for
nothing, but to be cast out, and to be trodden under foot of men.
There is probably no greater confusion in the church today than that which arises from a wrong
use of God's law and God's gospel. God's law is to be used like a knife that cuts and reveals,
while God's gospel is to be used like a balm that soothes and heals. Hardened sinners need the
law, convicted and broken sinners need the gospel of grace. Do you know how to use the two?
- The Law of God is absolute and eternal . . . "till heaven and earth
- Everyone falls under God's law . . . "whosoever shall break
Some people may consider God's laws silly or stupid . . . (Illustration: ticket). (First table: Love
God fully ---- Second table: Love your neighbor completely). You may choose not to obey, but
"The wages of sin is death" (Romans 6:23).
- Jesus Christ did not come to destroy the law . . . "think
Some people think that the Bible displays two Gods --- an O.T. and a N.T. Not so, there is one
God and "I am the Lord, I change not" (Malachi 3:6). The Holy God of the
Old Testament that punished and destroyed lawbreakers lives.
- The Lord of Glory came to fulfill the law . . . "I am come . . . to
fulfill" (v. 17).
"Fulfill" means to "carry out, or accomplish.". Christ fulfills all the law
and the prophets.
- His Birth . . . the time, the place, the circumstances of His birth
Christ fulfilled every one of the O.T. prophecies concerning the coming Messiah. (Micah 4:2,
Isaiah 7:14, Psalm 72:10, Jeremiah 31:15, Hosea 11:1, etc . . . )
- His Life . . . made under the law of God, Christ Jesus perfectly obeyed the
"He did no sin, neither was guile found in His mouth" I Peter 2:22.
Whether it was the ceremonial, civil or moral law, Jesus fulfilled it to the letter. At the end of
His life, no one could find any fault in Him. He was blameless.
- His Death . . . Christ fulfilled the law on the cross of Calvary by receiving
punishment for the sin of man.
The law says, "the wages of sin is death" and Christ fulfilled it. God's grace
is not God deciding not to exact the punishment He has decreed, God's grace is God punishing
His Son in the place of sinners --- fulfilling the law.
- The Law and Gospel are both of God . . . "except your righteousness
The scribes and the pharisees were very zealous in the religious observances. An old Jewish
proverb, "If two men were to enter heaven, the one would be a scribe, the other a
Pharisee." What kind of righteousness did the scribes and the Pharisees have?
- They had wise heads . . . these people were some of the smartest in all of
- They had willing hands . . . they would go over oceans in order to make a
convert, and would do whatever it took to insure they did not miss a ceremony.
- They had wicked hearts . . . as Jesus said, "You are white-washed
- The right use of the law is to bring a sinner to brokenness . . .
- The right use of the gospel is to heal the broken sinner. . .
When a broken sinner turns to a sovereign Saviour, there is true healing.
- The righteousness of a believer does exceed the righteousness of the
Pharisees. . .
A righteousness obtained for me and imputed to me (through the obedience of Jesus).
A righteousness imparted to me and in me through the Holy Spirit (II Peter 1:4).