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Lessons in the Lutheran Confessions
The Small Catechism – part 119

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From the Word: And she will give birth to a son, and you shall call his name Jesus, for it is he who will save his people from their sins. (Matthew 1:21)

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: The name “Jesus” is the Greek form of the Hebrew “Joshua” (which later morphed into “Jeshua”) which means “the Lord saves.” When we say that we believe in Jesus, we do not merely mean that we believe there was a person who once lived whose name was Jesus. We are declaring him to be the Savior of the world, the one who delivers us from our sins. This was the reason he was born into the world: to save us from sin (John 3:17).

When we say that we believe in Jesus, we are confessing that Jesus is the Savior, the deliverer of the world. Salvation comes in no other way (John 14:6) than through faith in him as deliverer. Though there are many who will not believe, he is their deliver nonetheless. C. S. Lewis wrote in his novel The Great Divorce, “There are only two kinds of people in the end: those who say to God, ‘Thy will be done,’ and those to whom God says, in the end, ‘Thy will be done.’”

When we confess our belief in Jesus, we are saying to God, “Thy will be done”; deliver us!

Prayer: Jesus, Savior, deliver me. Amen.

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The Faith of St. Paul: Transformative Gift of Divine Power by Roy A. Harrisville III provides a fresh perspective on the letters of St. Paul by presenting the apostle's concept of faith as a transformative gift of divine power.


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