PART THREE 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)
Coupons. People clip, cut, and save them.
They can be redeemed at the participating establishment that issued them. But when you look closely at many coupons you come across, they may read, “no cash value.”
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
Just as a coupon needs to be brought back to its original issuer, so mankind needed to be redeemed or bought back as well. Although Adam, our first ancestor, was created in the image of his issuer, God, Adam and Eve rebelled against God when they fell into sin. Now, all of Adam’s descendants have been born in his broken, distorted, sinful image. We were all under the condemnation of the law and now under the “ownership” of Satan.
God already had a plan in place to purchase us back. There was no cash value or worthiness found in us, but the price would be precious nonetheless. Just what does it take to redeem or buy back a human soul? No doubt a payment must be involved, but at what price?
Luther explains, “…He [Jesus] has redeemed me, a lost and condemned person, purchased and won me from all sin, from death, and from the power of the devil, not with gold or silver, but with His holy precious blood and His innocent suffering and death” (Explanation to the Second Article).
God’s holy Law is perfect and unchangeable. He demands perfection: “You shall be perfect, just as your Father in heaven is perfect” (Matthew 5:48). He promises punishment: “The soul who sins shall die” (Ezekiel 18:20). And He sets the price: “Without shedding of blood there is no remission [release from penalty]” (Hebrews 9:22).
Not all the gold of all the Pharaohs could pay the price nor all the diamonds of Africa nor mountains of platinum or silver. Only blood would work as payment, and not just any blood, but only that of an innocent Man.
THE SECOND ARTICLE
[We print Luther’s Explanation only.]
I believe that Jesus Christ, true God, begotten of the Father from eternity, and also true man, born of the virgin Mary, is my Lord. He has redeemed me, a lost and condemned person, purchased and won me from all sin, from death, and from the power of the devil, not with gold or silver, but with His holy, precious blood and His innocent suffering and death. He did this that I should be His very own, live under Him in His kingdom, and serve Him in eternal righteousness, innocence, and joy; just as He is risen from death, lives and reigns in eternity.
This is most certainly true.
(Martin Luther’s SMALL CATECHISM, Sydow edition, 2000)
After keeping the Law of God perfectly in every way, Jesus took our sins upon Himself—He became sin for us (see 2 Corinthians 5:21). Then He willingly went the way of the cross. Yes, He endured the physical pain of crucifixion—but even worse, He endured the rejection of His Father. God waited for the precious blood and innocent suffering and death of our Savior to complete the payment of our sins. Now each of us can hear “Paid in full!” in Jesus’ cry on the cross, “It is finished!” (John 19:30)
Better still, our Lord wasn’t content with just leaving us with a washed slate of sins forgiven. He as the unimpeachable Son of God placed His righteousness onto our account! We now have the perfection required to open Paradise for us. It is guaranteed that we will hear that precious invitation spoken to us, “Come, you blessed of My Father, inherit the Kingdom prepared for you…” (Matthew 25:34).
Even though we may often feel unworthy and of little value, and indeed we find no worthiness in ourselves, yet Christ still felt we were worth shedding His own precious blood. That is something truly worth boasting about!
My Jesus died for me–
He redeemed me!