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His Inexpressible Gift

Pastoral Letter
January 2010
2 Corinthians 9:15 “Thanks be to God for his inexpressible gift.”
As we celebrate the 50 th anniversary of the formation of the Church of the Lutheran Confession,
we give thanks to God for His “inexpressible gift” to us. We give thanks not for the CLC, but for
the Gospel ministry God has entrusted to us. We gift thanks for the “inexpressible gift” of God’s
Son, Jesus and the ministry of reconciliation entrusted to us by the grace of God. Grace is the
undeserved gift of forgiveness and life to lost and condemned sinners.
In this section of 2 Corinthians, the Apostle Paul speaks of the “grace” of thankful giving.
These believers were enabled by God to bring their offerings out of faith and to show their
thanksgiving to God in a concrete way. Chapters eight and nine of Second Corinthians remind
us of the value of grace-giving:
! We look upon giving as a privilege not a choice.
(2 Corinthians 9:7) “for God loves a cheerful giver.”
! We give cheerfully, not reluctantly or under compulsion or pressure.
(2 Corinthians 9:7) “So let each one give as he purposes in his heart, not grudgingly or
of necessity;”
! We give proportionally from what God has given to us.
(2 Corinthians 8:12) “For if there is first a willing mind, it is accepted according to what
one has, and not according to what he does not have.”
! We trust that God will supply what we need.
(2 Corinthians 9:8) “And God is able to make all grace abound toward you, that you,
always having all sufficiency in all things, may have an abundance for every good work.”
Chapter nine reminds us that our giving causes others to thank God. As you witness the grace
of God through the generosity of others, you cannot help but give thanks to God. There is a
double benefit when you cheerfully and generously meet the needs of others, (2 Corinthians
9:12) “For the administration of this service not only supplies the needs of the saints, but also is
abounding through many thanksgivings to God,”
True thanksgiving by its very nature is directed toward God. The essence of our worship, the
essence of our life is gratitude toward God. Much of man’s superficial thanksgiving especially
in connection with anniversary celebrations is a glorification of what he has done. Thanksgiving
becomes a listing of what we have accomplished, what we have accumulated.
In order to give thanks we have to appreciate the gift that we have received. Thanks be to God
for His “inexpressible gift.” Words cannot capture or convey the sense of this gift that God has
given to us. This gift is more than the earthly blessings God has so richly given us. It is more
than the comfortable life we enjoy, it is more than our heath, it is even more than our families.
God’s gift is the gift of His grace as revealed in Jesus Christ. This is clear from verse 14, (2
Corinthians 9:14) “while they also, by prayer on your behalf, yearn for you because of the
surpassing grace of God in you.” The Corinthians’ thankful giving to meet the needs of the
saints in Jerusalem was evidence of the surpassing grace of God in them. Their liberal giving
was proof of their “confession to the Gospel of Christ.” “Thanks be to God for His inexpressible
God’s gift to you is His Son Jesus Christ, (2 Corinthians 8:9) “For you know the grace of our
Lord Jesus Christ, that though He was rich, yet for your sake He became poor, so that you
through His poverty might become rich.” “Thanks be to God for His inexpressible Gift.”
God’s grace also caused you to believe in this Jesus as your Savior, contrary to human reason
or human expectations. (Ephesians 2:8-9) For by grace you have been saved through faith;
and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God; {9} not as a result of works, so that no one may
boast.” The Holy Spirit who brought you to faith as an act of God’s grace, keeps you in this true
faith. “Thanks be to God for His inexpressible Gift.”
God invites you this anniversary year to consider what He has given to you by grace. God
gives you channels or opportunities to say “thank you” by meeting the needs of others.
Thanks-giving is a way of saying, “I believe that God who has given me this inexpressible gift of
grace will provide me with everything I need to give to others. (2 Corinthians 9:10-11) “Now He
who supplies seed to the sower and bread for food will supply and multiply your seed for sowing
and increase the harvest of your righteousness; {11} you will be enriched in everything for all
liberality, which through us is producing thanksgiving to God.” “Thanks be to God for His
inexpressible Gift.”
I thank God for your faithful Gospel ministry.
John Schierenbeck
Please send in your CBP estimates to Pastor Mike Roehl immediately.