The confession of Christ is not self-derived. It is not self-induced, self-revealed, or self-chosen. Rather, the confession of Christ is God-given, God established, God revealed, God made known.
No one on this earth would know of Christ crucified and resurrected the third day unless had God had made it known to us. And this, God, in His mercy, has done. Through the Holy Scriptures, God makes known your salvation through faith in the crucified and risen Lord. Therefore, does St. John write, “These are written that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that believing you may have life in His name” (John 20:31).
Also, St. Paul writes, “Whatever things were written before were written for our learning, that we through the patience and comfort of the Scriptures might have hope” (Romans 15:4).
Thus, God gives us His Word, the Bible (and the preaching of that Word), not so you can live a better life or “have a better life now.” God also does not give you His Word that you might know how to live your life apart from faith in Him.
The Ten Commandments (Exodus 20) are indeed commands about how God’s people are to live, but the Bible is not a “rule book” or a book of do’s and don’ts. The Bible is the book of salvation, and speaks of that salvation which is alone by God’s grace through faith in the Lord Jesus Christ.
As such, the preaching of the apostles following Christ’s ascension was not, “live this way” or “do these things” to get right with God. Christ’s preaching was not this way either. Christ’s preaching, and the apostles’ preaching after Him, and the Church’s proclamation today, is Christ crucified and resurrected for the forgiveness of sins.
If the preaching of the church becomes anything else than this, her preaching is false and not to be heeded (i.e. Rick Warren and trying to find a purpose, Joel Osteen and self-help rhetoric) [See Galatians 1:6-10]. Should the church preach this way, she leads the hearers away from the Gospel and away from eternal life to eternal death and hell.
Because Holy Scripture testifies of Christ, so do Christ’s people confess and bear witness to Him who purchased them with His own blood (Acts 20:28). This is their confession. And this is the confession of Christ’s body, the Church.
Therefore, with Thomas who went from unbelief to faith by God’s gracious word and work, we too confess and say of and to Jesus, “My Lord and my God” (John 20:28).
Filed under: Devotions, God-The Holy Trinity, Justification & Sanctification-The Christian Faith & Good Works, Law & Gospel-Rightly Dividing the Word of Truth, Luther & The Reformation, Office of the Holy Ministry-Pastors, Salvation-Soteriology, Son, Theology & Doctrine | Tagged: Christ, Christian, Confession, Faith, Gospel, Osteen, preaching, Warrne |