Explain why the preaching of the law and the gospel must accompany one another. Jesus Christ came to save poor, guilty, hell-worthy sinners. How does a person learn that he is a poor, guilty, hell-worthy sinner?
And He spake this parable unto certain which trusted in themselves that they were righteous, and despised others:
Two men went up into the temple to pray; the one a Pharisee, and the other a publican.
The Pharisee stood and prayed thus with himself, God, I thank Thee, that I am not as other men are, extortioners, unjust, adulterers, or even as this publican.
I fast twice in the week, I give tithes of all that I possess.
And the publican, standing afar off, would not lift up so much as his eyes unto heaven, but smote upon his breast, saying, God be merciful to me a sinner.
I tell you, this man went down to his house justified rather than the other: for every one that exalteth himself shall be abased; and he that humbleth himself shall be exalted.
Which one knew something in his heart's experience of the convicting work of God's law - of his actual sin, his original sin, and his lack of self-righteousness? Which did not? How can you tell?
Why did the work of God's law in the one produce a deep need and esteem for God's mercy, for His gracious Savior? Why did the Pharisee have no need or esteem for a merciful Savior?
Observe the following scene: A dog's master needs to leave his property for some time and therefore desires to chain up his dog. He brings the dog some food, and as the dog is eating, he clips a chain to its collar. The dog has never been chained before and does not notice. After its meal, it lies down to sleep in the afternoon sun. The dog has not yet noticed his chain, and therefore, has not struggled against, nor needed to be freed from it.
Later that afternoon, however, the dog is awakened. He starts to walk away as usual when he is suddenly stopped by the jerk of his chain. He turns and tries walking the opposite way, but again he is hindered by his chain. Back and forth he walks, then he runs, and finally he jumps, throwing his body weight against the chain.
Now that he is awakened to the reality that he is chained, he frantically works for hours to free himself. But finally, he is convinced that he can never free himself; it is hopeless in his own strength.