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Lessons in the Lutheran Confessions
The Small Catechism – part 125

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From the Word: Because if you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord, and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. (Romans 10:9)

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 moderns, especially in Western cultures, tend to speak of the heart as being an emotional vessel. In the consideration of the ancient Hebrews, the heart was the seat of thought and will, as well as emotion. So it is, that the greatest commandment calls us to love the Lord our God with all our heart and soul and mind (Deut 6:5; Matt 22:37). When we confess Jesus to be Lord, we are professing that he is God, doing so with our heart—mind, will, and emotion.

The Septuagint, the Greek version of the Old Testament and the one we find Jesus and the apostles quoting in the Gospels and the New Testament, uses Kurios when it translates the sacred name of God. We use a Latin form of this word, Kyrie, in the liturgy. In the Apostles’ Creed, we say that we believe in a single God of three persons: the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. When we acknowledge Christ as God, he is called both Son and Lord.

This word “Lord,” in the Apostles’ Creed comes down to us through the Greek Kurios and the Latin Kyrios, meaning not only “sir” or “master,” but in this context, “God.” It can escape us in the English, but what we are actually confessing in the Creed is, “I believe in Jesus Christ, his only Son, our YHWH” (Yahweh or Jehovah, the name of God). Read the beginning of John’s Gospel again to see this illuminated in fine detail (John 1:1–14). Then read Thomas’ confession again to appreciate his amplification of the word “Lord” (John 20:28).

Prayer: My Lord and my God! Amen.

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