Sunday, April 28, 2013
Two Opposing Views Of The Good Shepherd
The original Apostolic Lutheran Church "Principles of the Doctrine of Christ" rightly divided sin and grace, law and gospel. However, certain men have crept in unawares and have perverted the old doctrines of our church to such an extent that the new edition of the "Principles" present to us a different Jesus Christ.
The new 'Principles' state that man is not awakened to the knowledge of sin by the Law, but is convicted "before the holiness of the Lord Jesus Christ." Let us consider this picture of the Good Shepherd. To be convicted of sin is to know that one is a sinner and under the judgment of eternal damnation by God. According to the modern Principles, the sheep of the Lord are not comforted by the Shepherd, but when they see Him they are filled with fear and terror because of their sin and must fall groveling upon the earth not daring to even look upon Him for fear of judgment and punishment. The sheep would rather flee and hide from the holiness of this Shepherd. Such is the Christ preached by the false prophets among us.
Scripture teaches that conviction of sin comes only by the Law, the Ten Commandments. "Nay, I had not known sin, but by the law: for I had not known lust, except the law had said, Thou shalt not covet" Rom 7:7. The sinner who trembles before a righteous God at Mt. Sinai is then led to Christ our Savior. Scripture states Jesus did not come into the world to condemn the world, but to bring grace. "And of his fulness have all we received, and grace for grace. For the law was given by Moses, but grace and truth came by Jesus Christ" Jn 1:17,18. He came unto us as a Brother, humble, bearing flesh and blood. When the accusers brought the adulteress to Jesus He did not convict her but said, "Neither do I condemn thee." Scripture give us a much different picture of our Good Shepherd and teaches that Jesus is the Good Shepherd who calls unto Himself all who are weak and heavy laden, all who are sick with sin, all who are lame, and all who fear the righteous judgment of God. To such ones our Good Shepherd promises healing, cleansing and forgiveness. He promises that he will not reject even the poorest and weakest sheep, but will tenderly care for it, and when one is too weak to walk He will carry it on His shoulders. He says that He will gently lead His little lambs, and all who come unto Him He will in no wise cast out. Scriptures states the sinner can freely approach this Good Shepherd because He knows our infirmities and has given His life for our sins. And most wonderfully our Good Shepherd says He gives unto His sheep eternal life, and they shall never perish because they are under the protection of the Father.
How can a church flourish when sin is not rightly comprehended and Christ is made into Moses? The single greatest error and cause for our current deplorable condition as a fellowship is that the holy Law of God has been rejected. When the true knowledge of our bondage to sin by natural birth is not known, neither can one come to know the wonderful life, liberty, and freedom we enjoy under the care of the true Good Shepherd. May God strengthen the remnant of true believers among us.
Steven E. Anderson