Law & Gospel for Writers, Part I

Hello! Today I’m starting Day 1 of my first series: Law & Gospel for Writers. In this, I hope to explore elements of Law & Gospel discourse, of course, but it will focus on writers, writing, and common characteristics of writer’s life. Now, each post may not be as polished as I’d hoped but I hope that together we can come up with a helpful little course that maybe I can offer as an email course sometime. In part these are things it’s just good and helpful to hear. Just maybe it can be a more focused “consolation of the brethren” among fellow writers.

If I say something you disagree with, please do let me know.

Law & Gospel for Writers, Part I

I’m not going to suggest that writers need a different law than what God has already revealed to us in His Word. Certainly not. That law stands as it was written and given by the Holy Spirit. That law has been revealed to us in the detailed teaching, life, and death of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. And, as Jesus lived as God-made-Man on this earth, under the law, He fulfilled the law for our sake and demonstrates that that law is still very truly good.

In the discussion of Law & Gospel, we have already come upon a major distinction. 1) As sinners, we cannot fulfill the law, but, as those redeemed by Christ, the law has already been fulfilled. B) Still, the Word of God did not erase the law. Rather our relationship to it has, in certain ways, been changed.

How can we say it? Sinners can’t save themselves. They cannot, and should not, look to their own actions as earning God’s favor, faith, or salvation. At the same time, they should recognize that God’s law still matters and it can’t be minimized to “don’t murder,” “don’t get caught,” or “hide and disguise.”

To make our topic for today even more tricky, there is a difference between natural consequences and living under the law. Many of us buy into the thought that if we just do x, y will follow. Maybe x is a law from God or maybe x is man-made or man-sensed. Either way, things may not work out that way.

As wordsmiths/writers/wannabe writers, we may compartmentalize. We may be doing pretty well in our marriage, parenting, and other professions. Still, when it comes to writing, are we living under law? Are we solely looking to our own actions to achieve success? Defining ourselves according to our own standards? Are we looking to ourselves rather than God? Are we trusting methods over the Gift Giver?

In all parts of life, it is easy to burden oneself. In all vocations, we can succumb to temptations to look within or look elsewhere than our Lord and our neighbor.

One Indication of Law

One way to assess whether our approach is burdening is to ask, “Am I thinking in terms of enough?” I.e. Have I done enough? Am I strong or disciplined enough? Have I spent enough time, energy, passion, etc.?

Enough is a measurement word. What are you trying to measure? Because we do try to measure ourselves!

Are your goals really measurable? Success, respectability, focus?

How well can a person measure oneself?

When we measure ourselves against God’s Word, we are both sinner and redeemed. Note that GOD is doing greater works than we and that is rightly so. Also, our Lord has taken care of our salvation and continues to provide for all of our needs.

Are there things He asks us to do? Yes. Is living in a constant state of worry and grief one of them? No.

By all means, strive to love your neighbors. Trust God, and live the life He has given—and called—you to.

Applying Law & Gospel

As Christians, we can continually learn that this applies to our writing, too. Our Lord has fulfilled the Law on our behalf! He grants us His favor before we can even turn to ask for it! He clothes us with the righteousness of Christ so that He can bless us with every blessing Christ has earned for us, both now and into eternity!

Love your neighbor through your writing, but do not add burdens to yourself. Strive and rise up to challenges, but struggle against the tensions that can shake or alter faith’s perspective.

You are a baptized child of God. You are purchased and redeemed with Christ’s precious blood. Your words will not—and need not!—accomplish miracles or save the world. Only the Triune God through His Word does that! Thanks be to God!


Are there expressions of the Gospel that especially resonate with you as a writer? Do you have any momentos of those expressions near where you work?


Tomorrow we’ll address “writing everyday:” Is that binding? Defining? How can Christians understand “rules” of writing?

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Filed under As Christian Writers, Theological reflection, Writer's Life

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