Law and Gospel

“Although the Gospel is bound to the Law as its polar opposite, although both Law and Gospel are functions of the same Word of God, and although the Law is illustrated and declared by the Gospel (Formula of Concord, Solid Declaration, V, 18), the Gospel as a principle stands wholly outside of and in paradoxical contradiction to the Law. It is God forgiving the unforgivable, accepting the unacceptable, justifying—in St. Paul’s bold image—the ungodly. Here there is no application of justice—attributive, distributive, retributive, or merely, with Tillich, “tributive.” Here is not even creative justice. Here is love, forgiveness, the Father so loving the world that He gave His only Son, the Son taking upon Him to deliver man from the curse of the Law and abhorring neither the womb of the Virgin nor the death of the Cross, the Holy Spirit communicating Himself anew to those that had lost the life of God.”

Arthur Carl Piepkorn, “What Law Cannot Do for Revelation,” unpublished essay, October 21, 1960, pp. 17-18.