In the final verses in Hosea 2:19-23 we see a summary of the need for the Law and the Gospel. We began in a court with a charge of unfaithfulness. We have seen then God’s love and the lengths He will go to bring us to Himself. We’ve seen the threat of the great loss if we continue in sin. And now here is His gracious lovingkindness. 19 “I will betroth you to Me forever; yes, I will betroth you to Me in righteousness and justice, in lovingkindness and mercy; 20 I will betroth you to Me in faithfulness, and you shall know the Lord.

Imagine Hosea saying these things to Gomer. She has been unfaithful. She is destitute and hungry and thirsty. She is suffering the consequences of her choices and her sin. He provides for her and tells her he will bring her back and show her love and faithfulness and mercy. This is not what she deserves. This is probably not what she expects. But Hosea says this to Gomer because this is what God says to His people.

He goes on, 21 “It shall come to pass in that day that I will answer,” says the Lord; “I will answer the heavens, and they shall answer the earth. 22 The earth shall answer with grain, with new wine, and with oil; they shall answer Jezreel. (Remember Jezreel? A flip of the hand to scatter, to throw away, or to sow seed. Here it refers to sowing seed that will grow and produce a fruitful crop). They shall answer Jezreel. 23 Then I will sow her for Myself in the earth, and I will have mercy on her who had not obtained mercy; then I will say to those who were not My people, ‘You are My people!’ and they shall say, ‘You are my God!’”

Here we are reminded of the names of the last two children also. “No mercy”, and “Not My people.” But what does God say? When you come back to Me, “I will have mercy on her who had not obtained mercy; then I will say to those who were not My people, ‘You are My people!’

We see the Law and the Gospel here at work. Before Christ we were confined under the Law. We had no way to escape the judgment of God for our sin. Isaiah 40:2 tells us, “Speak comfort to Jerusalem, and cry out to her, that her warfare is ended, that her iniquity is pardoned; for she has received from the Lord’s hand double for all her sins.” The penalty has been paid. The requirements of the Law have been kept. Who kept the Law for us? Christ did because we could not keep it for ourselves. He kept it for us.

Again Galatians 3 explains it for us. But before faith came, we were kept under guard by the law, kept for the faith which would afterward be revealed. 24 Therefore the law was our tutor to bring us to Christ, that we might be justified by faith. 25 But after faith has come, we are no longer under a tutor. 26 For you are all sons of God through faith in Christ Jesus. 27 For as many of you as were baptized into Christ have put on Christ. 28 There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is neither male nor female; for you are all one in Christ Jesus. 29 And if you are Christ’s, then you are Abraham’s seed, and heirs according to the promise.

We were unfaithful. We were dead and bound in sin. And God by His grace sent His Son to pay the penalty and sent His Spirit to draw us to Himself.

To close I want to draw one more parallel. When we see in this chapter the hedge of thorns representing the judgment of God on sin it is no coincidence that we have the promise of a crown of life because Jesus wore a crown of thorns. He experienced the hedge of thorns, the judgment of God for our sin so that we might be crowned with righteousness and the beauty of holiness.  He wore the crown of thorns that we might wear the crown of life.

The good news of Hosea chapter 2 is that God’s love has redeemed us from the sin that had separated us from Him. We are guilty before God and we know that the “wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.” (Romans 6:23).