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From the Word: 5 Have this disposition among yourselves, which was also in Christ Jesus, 6 who, existing in the form of God, did not consider equality with God something to be grabbed, 7 but emptied himself, becoming the essence of a servant, coming in the likeness of men. (Philippians 2:5–7)
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: Why did God come to earth in human flesh? Why lower himself to such a level (if it really is such a low level [Psa 8:5])? God did so because love made him do it (John 3:16). As the incarnate God, Jesus did his Father’s will, suffering death for everyone (Heb 2:9) so that he may rightfully atone for the lives of all (Gal. 1:4; Heb 10:9–10). This is Jesus: the Son of God who emptied himself, becoming man, in order to take away the sins of the world he loves. Why did God come to earth in human flesh instead of destroying the earth and all its sinful inhabitants? Love made him do it (1 John 4:8–10).
Prayer: O Incarnate Love of God, thank you for not letting go of me. Amen.
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Why Did Jesus Have to Die? is a six-week Bible Study that examines the most profound event of salvation history — the crucifixion of our Lord Jesus Christ — exploring from a biblical perspective what is known as the doctrine of the atonement.