We believe, teach, and confess that the distinction between the Law and the Gospel is to be kept in the Church with great diligence as a particularly brilliant light. By this distinction, according to the admonition of St. Paul, God's Word is rightly divided.
We believe that the Law is properly a divine doctrine. It teaches what is right and pleasing to God, and it rebukes everything that is sin and contrary to God's will.
For this reason, then, everything that rebukes sin is, and belongs to, the preaching of the Law. But the Gospel is properly the kind of teaching that shows what a person who has not kept the Law (and therefore is condemned by it) is to believe. It teaches that Christ has paid for and made satisfaction for all sins [Romans 5:9]. Christ has gained and acquired for an individual—without any of his own merit—forgiveness of sins, righteousness that avails before God, and eternal life [Romans 5:10].
The term Gospel is not used in one and the same sense in the Holy Scriptures. The term Gospel [sometimes means] Christ's entire teaching (this is how it is used in Mark 1:15; Acts 20:21). It is correctly said that the Gospel is a preaching of repentance and of the forgiveness of sins. (paragraphs 2-6)
Condensed from CONCORDIA: THE LUTHERAN CONFESSIONS, copyright 2005,2006 by Concordia Publishing House. Used by permission. All rights reserved. To purchase a copy of CONCORDIA, call 800-325-3040.