I saw these two posters not a foot apart in a subway station the other day. They are as stark a representation as any of the two words we hear in life: Law and Gospel (or: Requirement and Love).
The Law is the tagline of Extraordinary Measures: “Don’t hope for a miracle. Make one.” In other words, you are on your own. Your salvation, however you define that word, is up to you. Don’t hope, for there is nothing to hope in. Make your salvation, and if you fail…when you fail…you will have no one to turn to.
The Law is devoid of hope.
The Gospel is an answer to a plea like this one: “Deliver us.” The Gospel is God’s answer: “I have.” When we forget that miracles happen, when we believe that we must make our own, failure delivers a crushing blow.
The Gospel abounds in hope.
We can say, “Deliver us,” and hope…and know…that God has done it.
I need hope. I have been crushed under the weight of the expectation that I create my own miracles. I have tried. I have failed. I have called out to someone, “Deliver me.” He has done it.