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1 Corinthians

Now I would remind you, brothers, of the gospel I preached to you, which you received, in which you stand, and by which you are being saved, if you hold fast to the word I preached to you-unless you believed in vain.
For I delivered to you as of first importance what I also received: that Christ died for our sins in accordance with the Scriptures, that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day in accordance with the Scriptures, and that he appeared to Cephas, then to the twelve. Then he appeared to more than five hundred brothers at one time, most of whom are still alive, though some have fallen asleep. Then he appeared to James, then to all the apostles. Last of all, as to one untimely born, he appeared also to me. For I am the least of the apostles, unworthy to be called an apostle, because I persecuted the church of God. But by the grace of God I am what I am, and his grace toward me was not in vain. On the contrary, I worked harder than any of them, though it was not I, but the grace of God that is with me. Whether then it was I or they, so we preach and so you believed.  (ESV)
No Need of Christ?
Monday of Lent 2
22 February 2016
The second article of the Apostles' Creed is the pivot of our faith. It focuses on the person and work of Jesus Christ, whereby He becomes our Lord by buying us back from sin and death by His suffering, death, and resurrection. What a costly thing the purchase price is! It is nothing less than the suffering, death, and resurrection of the Son of God. Only this could be a sufficient ransom price. He must die for our sakes. He does not die or suffer all this for Himself. He has no need of redemption for Himself. He has no sin to redeem. He has no death to be ransomed from.
This article makes clear the difference between law and gospel. For Christ had no need to die if, we by our works, could ransom ourselves from sin and death. If die He did, then He died for us. If He died for us, His death was required because we needed it and it became a full and complete ransom for the sins of the world. In fact, works righteousness would make Christ superfluous to sinners. If I could earn God's favor, then Christ need not earn it for me.


Martin Luther

"Let this, then, be the sum of [the second] article: the little word Lord means simply the same as redeemer. It means the One who has brought us from Satan to God, from death to life, from sin to righteousness, and who preserves us in the same. But all the points that follow in this article serve no other purpose than to explain and express this redemption. They explain how and by whom it was accomplished. They explain how much it cost Him and what He spent and risked so that He might win us and bring us under His dominion. It explains that He became man (Jn 1:14), was conceived and born without sin (Heb 4:15), from the Holy Spirit and of the virgin Mary (Lk 1:35), so that He might overcome sin.
Further, it explains that He suffered, died, and was buried so that He might make satisfaction for me and pay what I owe (1Co 15:3-4), not with silver or gold, but with his own precious blood (1Pt 1:18-19). And He did all this in order to become my Lord. He did none of these things for Himself nor did He have any need for redemption. After that He rose again from the dead, swallowed up and devoured death (1Co 15:54), and finally ascended into heaven and assumed the government at the Father's right hand (1Pt 3:22). He did these things so that the devil and all powers must be subject to Him and lie at His feet (Heb 10:12-13) until finally, at the Last Day, He will completely divide and separate us from the wicked world, the devil, death, sin, and such (Mt 25:31-46; 13:24-30, 47-50)....
"Yes, the entire Gospel that we preach is based on this point, that we properly understand this article is that upon which our salvation and all our happiness rests. It is so rich and complete that we can never learn it fully."
Martin Luther, Large Catechism, 2.31-33
O Christ, you are my Lord because You have paid the full redemption price for me. Grant that I might live in peace and joy all my days certain of my standing before You in holiness and righteousness for Your own name's sake. Amen.

For Matthew Harrison, President of the LCMS, that God the Spirit would lead him to confess the true faith
For the Board of Regents of Concordia Theological Seminary, meeting together today and tomorrow, that their labors would be productive and serve the gospel
For our fellow believers in Nicaragua, especially Pr. Marvin Donaire, President of the Nicaragua Lutheran Church
For the family of Alison Evers, as they mourn her passing, that they would be comforted with the message of the resurrection of the dead and the life of the world to come
For those ensnared in the bondage of drug or alcohol addiction, that God would rescue them and give them freedom from this slavery

Art: GRÜNEWALD, Matthias Isenheim Altarpiece (1515)

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