The President’s Column – If we forget the Gospel of Christ which has been preached to us by our pastors, then we shall be tossed to and fro by every wind of doctrine (Eph. 4:14).
From the March / April 1994 issue of The Concordia Lutheran
The President’s Column
Through the preaching of the Gospel of Christ by the Apostle Paul on his second missionary journey the Holy Spirit brought into existence a Christian congregation in the city of Corinth. The Apostle spent a year and six months with that congregation. Apollos continued the work begun by the Apostle and “helped them much which had believed through grace: for he mightily convinced the Jews, and that publicly, showing by the scriptures that Jesus was Christ” (Acts 18). But wherever a Christian congregation has been brought into existence, the devil is always there attempting to destroy. False teachers entered into the Corinthian congregation questioning the authority of the Apostle Paul and causing discord through the introduction of their false teachings. When the Apostle heard of this deplorable situation he wrote, by the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, the Epistle to the Corinthians thoroughly instructing them on how to deal with these conditions. Why did such errors gain hold in the Corinthian congregation? Simply because the Corinthians had gradually forgotten that precious Gospel which the Apostle Paul had preached to them.
What a very important and weighty truth for us Christians to ponder! If we forget the Gospel of Christ which has been preached to us by our pastors, then we shall be tossed to and fro by every wind of doctrine (Eph. 4:14).
There is only one pure Gospel of Christ. But there are the false teachers who are constantly coming up with impure gospels to deceive the hearts of the simple. Already at his time the Apostle complained about those who brought in such an impure gospel. He wrote to the Galatians, “I marvel that ye are so soon removed from Him that called you into the grace of Christ unto another gospel: which is not another; but there be some that trouble you, and would pervert the Gospel of Christ. But though we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel unto you than that which we have preached unto you, let him be accursed” (Gal. 1:6-8). Therefore we find the Apostle Paul writing to the members of the Corinthian congregation, “Moreover, brethren, I declare unto you the Gospel which I preached unto you, which also ye have received, and wherein ye stand; by which also ye are saved, if ye keep in memory what I preached unto you, unless ye have believed in vain” (1 Cor. 15:1,2). The use of this pure Gospel of Christ will expose all false gospels for what they really are – perversions!
The Apostle Paul gives us a brief summary of the true Gospel of Christ. “For I delivered unto you first of all that which I also received, how that Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures; and that He was buried, and that He rose again the third day according to the scriptures: and that He was seen of Cephas, then of the twelve: after that, He was seen of above five hundred brethren at once; of whom the greater part remain unto this present, but some are fallen asleep. After that, He was seen of James; then of all the apostles. And last of all He was seen of me also, as of one born out of due time” (1 Cor. 15:3-7). That precious Gospel message tells us that Christ died for our sins and rose again for our justification. The true Gospel speaks only of what God has done for our salvation and not what man has done! Those who pervert the Gospel of Christ invert this and preach man’s merit and worthiness, his accomplish-ments and virtues!
It is only by this true Gospel of Christ that we are saved! For this Gospel is the power of God through which the Holy Spirit works faith in the heart of a sinner. Hence we hear the Apostle declare, “I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth” (Rom. 1:16). That was the case with the Corinthians, but then they gradually forgot the Gospel because they did not steadfastly hold to it in sincere faith and fight against those who would pervert it.
In this Gospel of Christ we have the grace of God in Christ Jesus, the forgiveness of sins, the peace which passes all understanding, and the promise of an everlasting life with Jesus in the glorious mansions of heaven. Without that Gospel we have the just anger and wrath of God, the threat of eternal punishment in hell. And the more we ponder upon these truths, the more we shall insist that nothing but the Gospel in all of its purity be proclaimed from our pulpits. The Gospel is God’s love-letter to all mankind. “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him, should not perish, but have everlasting life” (John 3:16). Do we not like to be reminded of God’s love in Jesus? We surely give the appearance that we do not want to be reminded when we absent ourselves from the divine services in which our pastors proclaim the sweet Gospel message. Have you ever heard of a wife complaining to others that her husband was always telling her that he loved her? How little then should a Christian who claims to be a member of the Bride of Christ, the Church, become tired of being told by the Bridegroom, Christ Jesus, that He loves her. O may we, my dear fellow-believers, daily remind ourselves of the Gospel of Christ and steadfastly hold to it all of the days of our life. For only then can we die in peace, comforting ourselves with the blessed assurances from the Gospel that all our sins have been forgiven and heaven is now our Home!
Your servant in Christ,
Pastor M. L. Natterer, President