From the Word: 3 For I passed on to you—as being of chief importance—that which I also received, that Christ died for our sins in accordance with the Scriptures, 4 and that he was buried, and that he was raised on the third day in accordance with the Scriptures. (1 Corinthians 15:3–4)
From the Confessions: The Small Catechism
The Second Article
I believe in Jesus Christ, his only Son, our Lord. He was conceived by the power of the Holy Spirit and born of the Virgin Mary. He suffered under Pontius Pilate, was crucified, died, and was buried. He descended into hell. On the third day he rose again. He ascended into heaven, and is seated at the right hand of the Father. He will come again to judge the living and the dead.
What does this mean?
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 creature, and has freed me from sin, death, and the power of the devil, not with silver and gold, but with his holy and precious blood and his innocent suffering and death. He has done all this 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. This is most certainly true!
Pulling It Together: We cannot live with Jesus in eternity if he is not there. If God’s Christ is still dead and buried in the ground, we cannot live with him in heaven—nor can we live there without him. Our lives are bound to his, come good or bad. Because Christ was resurrected, as the Scriptures proclaimed he would be raised, we too will be raised from the dead (Rom 6:4). Jesus himself foretold his resurrection (eg: Matt 17:22–23), and in doing so, foretells the resurrection from the dead of all who believe in him.
Resurrection from the dead is not something that happens only in the future, in eternity. Even now, having left the dead man in the font, we have been raised from an old, corrupt nature to live the new life in Christ.
Prayer: Lord Jesus, thank you for your overwhelming grace that enables me to begin to know the joys of eternity even in this life. Amen.
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The Smalcald Articles are often considered Luther's theological Last Will and Testament. Written in easy-to-understand language, this study is presented in a discussion formation with assigned readings from the Scriptures and the Book of Concord. Included in the study is a shorter work by Philip Melanchton called "The Treatise on the Power and Primacy of the Pope."