PART ONE OF A SERIES ON THE SECOND ARTICLE
“This is most certainly true!”
THE APOSTLES’ CREED
I believe in God the Father Almighty, Maker of heaven and earth.
And in Jesus Christ, His only Son, our Lord, who was conceived by the Holy Ghost, born of the virgin Mary, suffered under Pontius Pilate, was crucified, dead, and buried; He descended into hell; the third day He rose again from the dead; He ascended into heaven and sitteth on the right hand of God, the Father Almighty; from thence He shall come to judge the quick and the dead.
I believe in the Holy Ghost; the holy Christian Church, the communion of saints; the forgiveness of sins; the resurrection of the body; and the life everlasting. Amen. (TLH, p. 12)
A forward-thinking person has the unique ability to head off a problem before it occurs. By thinking outside the box and casting a discerning eye to the future, such a person is able to take steps to ward off disaster.
The Five SECOND ARTICLE Installments:
1) Jesus is true God
2) Jesus is true Man
3) Jesus has redeemed me
4) Jesus has made me His own
5) Jesus calls me to serve Him
Our sovereign God had forethought unimaginably greater than any human has ever achieved. Not only did He know the problem before it existed but He also had a Plan and Solution for the problem before anything existed—and it all centered on our Lord Jesus Christ!
Why did this divine plan have to focus on Jesus Christ? Was He simply the right man for the job? Many today think of Jesus as just that: an important man, a good example to follow, and a giver of great advice—but nothing more.
The Bible tells us differently, and so we believe something quite different. As we confess with Dr. Martin Luther in his explanation of the Second Article, we believe that “Jesus Christ, true God…is my Lord…”.
Before we can go forward to see God’s plan unfold, we need to go back to its inception in eternity!
Since God foreknew Satan would rebel and cause the downfall of mankind, He also knew that because of sin, heartache, disaster, and death would result for all people.
So why did God go through with His plans of creation, anyway? So He could show, could prove, the height and depth of His love for mankind. God took counsel with Himself, and the Plan came together.
The Scriptures clearly teach that Jesus was not only present at creation but was a participant as well. In the prologue to John’s Gospel we read, “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things were made through Him…” (John 1:1-3). John then emphatically states that this Word became flesh and dwelt with men.
Jesus, the Son of God, would be conceived by the Holy Spirit and born through the virgin Mary into His own creation! As was prophesied centuries before the event, “But you, Bethlehem Ephrathah, though you are little among the thousands of Judah, yet out of you shall come forth to Me the One to be ruler in Israel, whose goings forth have been from of old, from everlasting” (Micah 5:2).
Being a perfect Man would have been good for Jesus. It would have given Him a good standing with the Father. But in order for Jesus to redeem us, He needed to be true God as well so that His perfect life and innocent death were valuable enough to give us the blessings of His righteousness. Jesus would not only be despised and rejected by those He came to save, but His own Father would leave Him forsaken on the cross as payment for the sins of mankind.
God forsaking Himself! Oh, the depth of our God’s love!
The apostle Peter speaks of the eternal Christ and His redemptive work when he reminds us, “…knowing that you were not redeemed with corruptible things, like silver and gold–but with the precious blood of Christ–He indeed was foreordained before the foundation of the world, but was manifest in these last times for you”
(1 Peter 1:18-20).
Jesus, eternal God, creator God, fulfilled all He came to do and longed to be restored to His former state after His resurrection and ascension. Shortly before He went the way of the cross, Jesus prayed, “And now, O Father, glorify Me together with Yourself, with the glory which I had with You before the world was” (John 17:5).
God’s forethought in creating this Plan of salvation wasn’t, however, just some academic exercise. God had a specific purpose in mind—our salvation!
Though we would be born in sin and are guilty of sinning daily, God’s plan takes care of that. The Apostle Paul puts us sinners squarely into God’s eternal plan when he states, “[God] who has saved us and called us with a holy calling, not according to our works, but according to His own purpose and grace which He gave to us in Christ Jesus before time began…” (1 Timothy 1:9).
What a release from the bondage of sin! What freedom to worship and serve our Savior God! Oh, the height of our God’s love!
Now we can have some forethought as well. “(God) chose us in (Christ) before the foundation of the world that we should be holy and without blame before Him in love” (Ephesians 1:4). That’s a comfort, not only for the remainder of our days on this Earth but also for looking forward to the eternal blessings awaiting us in the home of our God.
Thank You, Jesus, our Lord and our God!