PART FOUR OF A SERIES ON THE SECOND ARTICLE
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)
“Take and Own Us…”
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
I remember when I received my first paycheck. When I was thirteen, I detasseled corn in the rural areas around Red Wing, Minnesota. I had been eying a new baseball glove for some time, so it didn’t take me long to spend $29 of that check on a Spalding glove.
Ownership felt sweet. Perhaps you have felt a similar feeling after a car or home was bought and paid for. Sometimes the more difficult the challenge in acquiring something, the more appreciative one is to own it.
This feeling is compounded, no doubt, when it comes to having children. We usually do not speak of “owning” children, but anyone who has had them knows the feeling of having one or more of your “own.” I’m told it is the same with parents of adopted children. Perhaps unable to conceive their own children, the expectant couple may have to endure years of patiently waiting for their opportunity to have a child all their own.
How does our Heavenly Father feel about having us as His own?
In Martin Luther’s explanation to the Second Article he says: “He did this that I should be His very own….” The “this” referred to is Jesus giving His holy, precious blood in suffering and death for us on the cross. Adoptive parents are often willing to spend thousands of dollars to acquire a child. The price tag Jesus was willing to pay for us is beyond comparison–the suffering of hell itself in our place. Whenever we are tempted to feel that our lives are of no value, remember how much our Savior valued our souls.
Jesus “gave Himself for us, that He might redeem us from every lawless deed and purify for Himself His own special people, zealous for good works” (Titus 2:14). Luther describes this ownership in this way in his Large Catechism: “He has delivered us poor, lost people from hell’s jaws, has won us, has made us free, and has brought us again into the Father’s favor and grace. He has taken us as His own property under His shelter and protection so that He may govern us by His righteousness, wisdom, power, life, and blessedness” (Part II, paragraph 30).
How may we as God’s children feel about being His own? After the American Civil War former slaves in the South had freedom of movement. They were no longer forced to stay and work for their old masters. The majority of former slaves chose to leave in search of greener pastures and new opportunities. Only a small percentage decided to stay and work for their former masters. They did this because they had been treated with a level of respect.
How often don’t we forget just how wonderful our Master is? We are so easily lured away by the false hopes and dreams of this world and its master, the devil. We are tempted to trade the green pastures of heavenly bliss for the fleeting and shallow pleasures of the day. At times like these we need to heed the words of the Apostle Paul: “Do you not know that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God, and you are not your own? For you were bought at a price; therefore glorify God in your body and in your spirit, which are God’s” (1 Corinthians 6:19-20).
My high school graduating class chose the following for our class hymn. I believe these words serve as a fitting conclusion.
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)
Let us ever walk with Jesus,
Follow His example pure,
Flee the world, which would deceive us
And to sin our souls allure.
Ever in His footsteps treading,
Body here, yet soul above,
Full of faith and hope and love,
Let us do the Father’s bidding.
Faithful Lord, abide with me:
Savior, lead, I follow Thee.
Let us gladly live with Jesus;
Since He’s risen from the dead,
Death and grave must soon release us.
Jesus, Thou art now our Head.
We are truly Thine own members;
Where Thou livest, there live we.
Take and own us constantly,
Faithful Friend, as Thy dear brethren.
Jesus, here I live to Thee,
Also there eternally.