A Jagged Contention: Is Law Opposed to Gospel?

“The effect that the law creates is not surprising. One has no trouble understanding what it means to rely on oneself and on one’s own deeds; the action-consequences relationship has its own logic. But the gospel is absolutely, completely incomprehensible. That God rescues one from, and brings one safely through, the deserved judgment is a miracle. Law and gospel cannot be plausibly intertwined together; their existence is hard and fast in opposition to each other. The gospel is literally a paradox: it stands against that which the sinner can reasonably expect; it stands against damnation.”

– Oswald Bayer, Martin Luther’s Theology: A Contemporary Interpretation., 228


What do you make of Bayer’s assertion that Law and Gospel are “hard and fast in opposition to each other?” Is this to stark a contrast? Or, does Bayer’s assessment hold up? What are the dangers or benefits of such a distinction?

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