1 Corinthians 1:20–25
From the Confessions: The Defense of the Augsburg Confession
Concerning Human Traditions in the Church
Among the adversaries, in many regions, no sermons are delivered during the entire year except in Lent. Yet the chief worship of God is the preaching of the gospel. When the adversaries do preach, they speak of human traditions, of the worship of saints, and similar trifles which the people justly loathe. Therefore, they are deserted as soon as the text of the gospel has been recited. A few of the better ones are now speaking of good works, but they say nothing about the righteousness of faith, faith in Christ, or the consolation of consciences. Indeed, they rail with reproaches at this most wholesome part of the gospel.
Pulling It Together: The gospel of God’s grace through Christ was snubbed as something “Lutheran” in the 16th century. In the 21st century, other gospels persist in churches. In their roots, these various false gospels are the same that Luther contended with and that the Apostle Paul fought against. They are each the so-called gospel of works righteousness. The prosperity gospel and the social (or activist) gospel are two of many such false gospels in our world today. Giving in order to gain is obviously a works-centered belief. A church that rallies around the latest cultural correctness and that believes God favors them for doing so, is also focused on a righteousness of works.
But we teach a much different gospel than these. “We preach Christ crucified.” This is a point of stumbling and offense for many but to those who are called, Christ is the power and wisdom of God (1 Cor 1:23–24). Christ is our righteousness, and his cross our rallying point. This is what must be preached and taught in our churches, lest human traditions and Christless religion soon overtake us.
Prayer: Ever draw me, O God, to the power and wisdom of Christ crucified. Amen.
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Sola Publishing offers some free downloadable resources for congregations and leaders in developing a Stewardship Emphasis for 2016-17. The theme for this year's Stewardship Emphasis is "Growing in Faith." The key Bible verse comes from Luke 12:27: “Consider the lilies, how they grow...”