Welcome back to our blog! Today we will be covering the third part of our series on “Chief Articles of the Faith” and will take a look at the second article of the Apostles Creed along with Martin Luther’s explanation of it as found in the Small Catechism.
“And in Jesus Christ, His only Son, our Lord, who was conceived by the Holy Spirit, born of the Virgin Mary, suffered under Pontius Pilate, was crucified, died, and was buried. He descended into hell. On the third day He rose again from the dead. He ascended into heaven and sits at the right hand of God, the Father Almighty. From thence He will come to judge the living and the dead.”
What does this mean?
Luther answers, “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,
who has redeemed me, a lost and condemned person, purchased and won me from all sins, from death, and from the power of the devil; not with gold or silver, but with His holy, precious blood and with His innocent suffering and death,
that I may be His own and live under Him in His kingdom and serve Him in everlasting righteousness, innocence, and blessedness,
just as He is risen from the dead, lives and reigns to all eternity.
This is most certainly true.
In this second part of the Apostles Creed we confess, along with the entire Christian church, the center of the Christian faith – namely Jesus Christ. Here we confess that our salvation is dependent on just one man – Jesus. For while we are often tempted to put ourselves, our actions, and our decisions on center stage here we proclaim instead the actions of Jesus who for us took on flesh, suffered, died, was buried and on the third day rose again from the dead.
Jesus’ death on the cross speaks loudly a word of law and a word of grace. It speaks death and judgment upon the world who rejects the living God. It speaks judgment upon all those who are indifferent about their sin and upon those would be righteous according to their own goodness. In fact it speaks judgment upon the whole world! But for those who are in Christ there follows powerful words of hope and life – for Christ did not remain in the tomb but on the third day rose! For in our baptism we were joined to the death and resurrections of Jesus Christ (see Romans 6:3-5) and now in Christ, our living savior, we have eternal life! And this life is not dependent on ourselves but in our living Savior!
For the center of the Christian faith is Jesus. The message of the faith is the forgiveness of sins and eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord from God for you. It is a gift and you are the recipient.
On December 5th, the day after my birthday, we will cover the third article of the Creed. Blessings to you and have a wonderful day.