Lent has begun. While we repent of our sins and ponder Christ’s suffering and death all year round, we especially emphasize these things this time of year. So it is fitting that we have arrived at the Second Article of the Apostles’ Creed in our walk through Luther’s Small Catechism.
All the six chief parts of the Catechism revolves around the Apostles’ Creed, and particularly this Second Article. This is not to say that the Second Person of the Trinity is the most important, but that God the Father has made the Son the central revelation of Scripture. Christ, in His perfect righteousness, kept the Commandments for us (1st Chief Part). The Father provides for our spiritual needs by sending His Son (1st Article). The Holy Spirit gives us true saving faith which is faith in the person and work of Jesus (3rd Article). Jesus taught us the Lord’s Prayer (3rd Chief Part) and our prayers to the Father are heard for His sake. In baptism (4th Chief Part), we are baptized into Christ’s death and resurrection and given the blessings of His redemption. In Confession and Absolution (5th Chief Part), we live out our baptismal life, returning to Christ, our Savior in repentance, trusting that our sins are indeed forgiven for His sake. In the Lord’s Supper (6th Chief Part), we receive Christ’s true body and blood given and shed for us for the forgiveness of sins.
The explanation that Luther writes for the Second Article of the Creed is utterly beautiful. It’s my favorite paragraph in the Small Catechism, and in the few opportunities each year that I get to sit in the pew for a service, I think of these words before, during and after I commune.
Let’s break it up here. I believe that Jesus Christ is true God, begotten of the Father from eternity, and also true man, born of the Virgin Mary. The two natures of human and divine are united in the one Person Jesus Christ. The almighty Son of God chose to become our brother in the flesh. And that He is my Lord. Luther says in the Large Catechism, “Let this, then, be the sum of this article that the little word Lord signifies simply as much as Redeemer, i.e., He who has brought us from Satan to God, from death to life, from sin to righteousness, and who preserves us in the same.” Who has redeemed me a lost and condemned creature, purchased and won me from sin, from death, and from the power of the devil. We are creatures fallen from God, our Creator. Fallen from God, we are then under the power of our enemies. Christ has redeemed us, that is purchased us back. He buys us back from our enemies and brings us back to Himself. Not with gold or silver, but with His holy and precious blood and His innocent suffering and death. Christ willingly endured the suffering and gave up His own life as the payment price for our redemption. In order that I might be His own, live under Him in His kingdom, and serve Him in everlasting righteousness, innocence and blessedness, even as He is risen from the dead and lives and reigns for all eternity. Christ redeemed us, not because there was anything special in us. It was totally by His grace. He had compassion upon us, and He came down from heaven to earth to save us from our enemies in order that we may live with Him in eternity! There we shall be without the burden of sin, sorrow, suffering and death, but will be in our intended state of righteousness, serving and worshipping Him in the paradise of His presence. This is most certainly true. Amen.