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John Calvin puts forward a very simple reason why love is the greatest gift: “Because faith and hope are our own: love is diffused among others.” In other words, faith and hope benefit the possessor, but love always benefits another. In John 13:34–35 Jesus says, “A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.” Love always requires an “other” as an object; love cannot remain within itself, and that is part of what makes love the greatest gift.
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Law and Gospel

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The Law as ordained by God has three functions: #1: to serve as a curb on evil behavior, #2: to show us our sin and #3: after regeneration, to serve as a guide to that which pleases God. The law and Gospel must be kept separate. The Law is to convict one of sin and to terrify one before the richly deserved wrath of God. The Law urges repentance and shows us our own reflections as people dead in our trespasses, infected with Original Sin from the ground up and utterly helpless to respond to God. The teaching of the Law shows us our eternal guilt before the Lord. The Law can never be truly kept apart from a heart regenerated through the Holy Spirit, baptized, hearing the Word regularly and receiving the Sacraments regularly, for the forgiveness of sins and the bolstering of faith.


Once one's heart has been broken by the Law, once one has been driven to true contrition and repentance, one is then ready to hear the Gospel. The Gospel pronounces the forgiveness of sins through Jesus Christ. One has faith that one's sins are indeed forgiven by God through the redemption won by Jesus on the Cross. Both aspects of God's Truth must be taught. Law and Gospel must be taught, for the awakening of the indolent to the reality of their sin and the comfort of the terrified, who must be brought to grace through the Means of Grace, the Word and Sacraments. Law and Gospel are both taught in the Holy Bible and they are both necessary for living a Christian life.

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