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1 John 5:1-5

Everyone who believes that Jesus is the Christ has been born of God, and everyone who loves the Father loves whoever has been born of him. By this we know that we love the children of God, when we love God and obey his commandments. For this is the love of God, that we keep his commandments. And his commandments are not burdensome. For everyone who has been born of God overcomes the world. And this is the victory that has overcome the world-our faith. Who is it that overcomes the world except the one who believes that Jesus is the Son of God? (ESV)

Christ Is Our Religion

Monday of Epiphany 4

1 February 2016

Christianity is about who Christ is and what He does. Our whole faith and religion pivots on this one Person. He does not merely teach us "about religion." He is our religion. He is the one who binds us to God through His life, death, and resurrection. If He falls or fails, the Christian religion falls and fails. But that is a big "if." For if He is the eternal Son of the Father then either He must triumph or we must perish.
 
He does triumph over all our enemies in His own person. By taking the curse of our sin upon Himself He defeats it in our place. He does all this without benefit of guns or armies, or any other earthly power. He by Himself contends for us and defeats sin, death, and the devil. These things can no longer plague or harm us. We are free of the curse through the victory of Christ. When and where this is believed the victory becomes ours and there are Christians. There the church exists in all her splendor and righteousness through faith. Christ and His work for us is the chief doctrine of the Christian faith.

 

Martin Luther

"The curse (Gal 3:13), which is divine wrath against the whole world, has the same conflict with the blessing, that is, with the eternal grace and mercy of God in Christ. Therefore the curse clashes with the blessing and wants to damn it and annihilate it. But it cannot. For the blessing is divine and eternal, and therefore the curse must yield to it. For if the blessing in Christ could be conquered, then God Himself would be conquered. But this is impossible. Therefore Christ, who is the divine power, righteousness, blessing, grace, and life, conquers and destroys these monsters, sin, death, and the curse, without weapons or battle, in His own body and in Himself, as Paul enjoys saying: 'He disarmed the rulers and authorities and put them to open shame' (Col 2:15). Therefore they can no longer harm the believers.
 
"This circumstance, 'in Himself,' makes the duel more amazing and outstanding; for it shows that such great things were to be achieved in the one and only Person of Christ-namely, that the curse, sin, and death were to be destroyed, and that the blessing, righteousness, and life were to replace them and that through Him the whole creation was to be renewed. If you look at this Person, therefore, you see sin, death, the wrath of God, hell, the devil, and all evils conquered and put to death. To the extent that Christ rules by His grace in the hearts of the faithful, there is no sin or death or curse. But where Christ is not known, there these things remain. And so all who do not believe lack this blessing and this victory. 'For this,' as John says, 'is our victory, faith' (1Jn 5:4). This is the chief doctrine of the Christian faith.
 
Prayer
O Lord Christ, You and Your work are at the center of Christianity. Let me confess this good news of Your work for me as my salvation in Your presence that others might also know of Your work on their behalf. Amen.
 
For the family of Edith Bruce, that they might grieve as those who have hope in the resurrection of the flesh and the life of the world to come
 
For persecuted Christians throughout the world that they would boldly proclaim the good news of the gospel in Christ
 
For members of the Council of Presidents of the LCMS, as they travel to meetings this week, that the holy angels would watch over them
Art: GRÜNEWALD, Matthias  The Crucifixion (c. 1515)

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