A Jagged Word


“That law is done away with wen the Gospel is preached is bound up with two realities with which we are well acquainted, conflict and time. We still await the annihilation of sin and the time of waiting is the time of conflict. Sin existed before the birth of Christ in Bethlehem, just as conflict existed and law existed. The one thing that was wanting was conquest, and therefore the Gospel was also wanting in the strict sense of the word – news of victory. The Gospel was given in the form of a promise, not in the form of a herald’s cry about events that had taken place, about a conqueror who had appeared, an oppressor who had been beaten. Only when Christ had passed through his death and resurrection did the sending forth to all peoples take place, and the world-mission begin. The Gospel is the new thing, the only new thing, that the messenger brings. The law is old; it existed before. The law ruled not only in Israel, but it rules in all nations under the sun, for they all have rules and laws, which regulate their affairs in community living.  The Galatians came to the Gospel from heathenism, but their later conversion to Judaism would have meant a return to the same ‘elemental spirits’ that ruled them before (Gal 4:9 f.). The superior authorities among all peoples are the servant of God in an age of wrath, force and judgment (Rom 13:1-7). Secular authority, which everywhere exists, is God’s law. The Gospel always breaks into a world that has already got law, and for which law is not news, not a novelty. The preacher can make the law plain, can clarify it, and awaken the conscience of the people. However intensively that may be done, the work of the Church is not thereby carried out. Christ’s Word remains in every age first and last the Gospel, the Word of resurrection, the Word of forgiveness, which is not intended to improve the earth but to open heaven.”

– Gustaf Wingren, “”The Living Word” (140)