Applying Law & Gospel, The Highest Art For A Christian

Thesis III of Walther’s Law and Gospel in Laymen’s Terms:

Understanding the differences between God’s demanding words and God’s words of promise is easy enough a child can pick up on it, however, the practical application of these two words is something that is so difficult that the greatest of all theologians cannot master it.  Thus the application of Law and Gospel is the highest art for the Christian.

Mastering the art of properly applying Law and Gospel is not something that takes place in the quiet comfort of a theory or a cookie cutter methodology but happens in the school of experience taught by the Holy Spirit.  This art is taught in the realm of every day life.

Now, as you hear this you may be thinking, “Can this really be true?” Yes, it is true. Understanding Law & Gospel is one thing, but applying it is a whole different ball game.

Martin Luther once said,

“It is not difficult to say what the contents of Law and Gospel are, nor at what persons they are aiming. But it is difficult to say whether a particular statement is part of the Law or part of the Gospel, or, in real life, who needs to hear the Law and who needs to hear the Gospel.”

May God grant us grace as we learn Law & Gospel in the school of experience.


About Pastor Matt Richard

Rev. Dr. Matthew Richard is the pastor at Zion Lutheran Church of Gwinner, ND. He was previously a Senior Pastor in Sidney, Montana, an Associate Pastor of Spiritual Care and Youth Ministries in Williston, North Dakota, and an Associate Pastor of Children and Youth in Rancho Cucamonga, California. He received his undergraduate degree from Minot State University, ND and his M.Div. from Lutheran Brethren Seminary, MN. His doctor of ministry thesis, from Concordia Seminary, St. Louis, MO, was on exploring the journey of American Evangelicals into Confessional Lutheran thought. Pastor Richard is married to Serenity and they have two children. He enjoys fishing, pheasant hunting, watching movies, blogging, golfing, spending time with his family and a good book with a warm latte! To check out more articles by Pastor Matt you can visit his personal blog at:


Applying Law & Gospel, The Highest Art For A Christian — 1 Comment

  1. “Thus the application of Law and Gospel is the highest art for the Christian.”

    Has anyone ever evaluated this claim critically? What other Christian arts are there? Is the praise of God a higher art?

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