We are still on:
The doctrinal contents of the entire Holy Scriptures, both of the Old and the New Testament, are made up of two doctrines differing fundamentally from each other, viz., the Law and the Gospel.
Last time, we started the second lecture with the 5th difference (of 6) between the Law and the Gospel, by looking at the effects of the Law. Now we round out that 5th difference by looking at the effects of the Gospel.
The effects of the Gospel are of an entirely different nature. They consist in this, that, in the first place, the Gospel, when demanding faith, offers and gives us faith in that very demand. When we preach to people: Do believe in the Lord Jesus Christ, God gives them faith through our preaching. We preach faith, and any person not wilfully resisting obtains faith. It is, indeed, not the mere physical sound of the spoken Word that produces this effect, but the contents of the Word.
The second effect of the Gospel is that it does not at all reprove the sinner, but takes all terror, all fear, all anguish, from him and fills him with peace and joy in the Holy Ghost. At the return of the prodigal the father does not with a single word refer to his horrible, abominable conduct. He says nothing, nothing whatever, about it, but falls upon the prodigal’s neck, kisses him, and prepares a splendid feast for him. That is a glorious parable exhibiting to us the effect of the Gospel. It removes all unrest and fills us with a blessed, heavenly peace.
In the third place, the Gospel does not require anything good that man must furnish: not a good heart, not a good disposition, no improvement of his condition, no godliness, no love either of God or men. It issues no orders, but it changes man. It plants love into his heart and makes him capable of all good works. It demands nothing, but it gives all. Should not this fact make us leap for joy?
Eph. 2, 8–10 we have a brief description of The Gospel as seen in its effects. The apostle says: By grace are ye saved, through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God; not of works, lest any man should boast. For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them. The Gospel does not say: You must do good works, but it fashions me into a human being, into a creature of such a kind as cannot but serve God and his fellow-man. Verily, a precious effect!