Mission Harvest © 2011 William J. Brannan
The reason I wrote "The Law & Gospel" is to equip people to minister to the real needs of people today. I discovered that both of these two ministries, the law and the gospel, are meant to work together in society to bring blessing and liberty to people. I was very excited to discover that Scripture has real solutions to overcome the problems the world is facing today. It is not only through the ministry of the gospel but also through the ministry of the law that just and civil society is maintained. The influence of the wisdom of God's law being applied to social architecture is a powerful and effective way to fight evils such as crime and poverty. God's law by nature restrains what is evil and promotes what is good.
God's law, however, does not have the power by itself to bring the temporal and eternal blessings in the full measure which God desires. This is because it only has power to influence outward behavior but has no power to change the heart. Only the gospel has the power to change peoples' hearts. This is why the subtitle of the book is "Shadows and Substance of Heaven on Earth". The law only has the power to preserve a shadow of heaven, while the gospel has the power to cause heaven to rule on Earth. The way I like to summarize it is that God's law teaches what love is, the gospel gives us the power to love.
God's law is actually a reflection of the character and nature of who God is. The Bible sums up the character of God as love. Jesus summed up the whole content of God's law as loving God with all of our heart, soul, mind and strength and loving our neighbor as ourselves. The beauty of God's law is that it defines good and evil. When Adam and Eve sinned, they chose to become their own determiner of right and wrong. In other words, they chose to be their own source of law and therefore their own God. Ever since the fall of man, the tendency of humanity has been to lose a true definition of good and evil. This is why prophets often proclaimed woes upon those who call evil good and good evil. When society no longer knows what is right, it falls apart. The good news is that God's law forever codifies what is truly good and what is evil.
Not only does Scripture explain what real love is, it also provides a pattern for social architecture which will naturally promote good and discourage evil. It is based on a true understanding of the nature of people. Whenever societies structure themselves according to such wisdom, they experience the blessings that naturally follow. A great example of people applying God's law as the foundation of society was America's founding fathers. This is was the source of American exceptionalism.
One important aspect of Biblical social architecture is the fact that God law ordains institutions such as the Chruch and the State. In doing so it both defines and limits their spheres of authority. The Church and the State both have important roles to play in blessed society, but only when they are true to the calling ordained in God's word. Biblical social architecture is not limited to these two institutions, but it also provides patterns for family, education, economics and for every other sphere of life.
One of the important duties of the Chruch is to promote individual godliness and the fear of God. This is because all of the institutions of society can be corrupted and abused for selfish and ungodly ends when governed by unrighteous people. The power of the church to promote such godly character is through the power of the gospel. Before Jesus ascended into heaven, he told His disciples to wait in Jerusalem until they were endued with power from on high. This gift of the Holy Spirit writes God's law upon people's hearts and empowers them to become loving. The importance of restoring such godliness in the church today is the second aspect of the book, the emphasis on the gospel.
The goal of the book is to equip people promote good and fight evil through the ministries of the law and gospel.