A Reading from the Book of Concord 1 year series December 24, 2013 - Christmas Eve: The Nativity of Our Lord
The following reading from the CONCORDIA edition of the Book of Concord is for the Gospel, Luke 2:1-20 for the Christmas Eve: The Nativity of Our Lord, December 24, 2013.
It is from Smalcald Articles, Part I & Part II, Article I.
There is but One God—Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. We know this God and come to Him only as drawn by the Holy Spirit to know and abide in the Son who was born of flesh and blood to a blessed virgin in a manger at Bethlehem; who died in the flesh, pouring out His blood for the forgiveness of our sins, and was buried; who descended into hell, rose again from the dead, and ascended into heaven in His glorified flesh to declare His victory and our salvation and send His Holy Spirit who keeps us with Him in the One true faith. This is love of God come down to earth--from heaven above, to Virgin and manger, to Church and baptized—all in flesh and blood, then, now, and forevermore.
THE ARTICLES ON THE DIVINE MAJESTY & THE CHIEF ARTICLE
PART I: THE AWE-INSPIRING ARTICLES ON THE DIVINE MAJESTY
1. The Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, three distinct persons in one divine essence and nature (Matthew 28:19), are one God, who has created heaven and earth (1 Corinthians 8:6). 2. The Father is begotten of no one; the Son is begotten of the Father (John 1:14); the Holy Spirit proceeds from Father and Son (John 15:26). 3. Neither the Father nor the Holy Spirit, but the Son became man (John 1:14). 4. The Son became man in this manner: He was conceived, without the cooperation of man, by the Holy Spirit (Luke 1:34-45), and was born of the pure, holy Virgin Mary. Afterward, He suffered, died, was buried, descended to hell, rose from the dead (1 Corinthians 15:3-4), ascended to heaven (Acts 1:9-11), sits at the right hand of God (Acts 2:33), will come to judge the quick and the dead, and so on, as the Apostles' and Athanasian Creeds and our children's catechism teach. Concerning these articles, there is no argument or dispute. Both sides confess them. Therefore, it is not necessary now to discuss them further.
PART II: THE ARTICLES THAT REFER TO THE OFFICE AND WORK OF JESUS CHRIST; THAT IS, OUR REDEMPTION ARTICLE I: THE CHIEF ARTICLE
The first and chief article IS THIS: 1] Jesus Christ, our God and Lord, died for our sins and was raised again for our justification (Romans 4:24-25). 2] He alone is the Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world (John 1:29), and God has laid upon Him the iniquities of us all (Isaiah 53:6). 3] All have sinned and are justified without freely, without their own works or merits, by His grace, through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus, in His blood (Romans 3:23-25). 4] This is necessary to believe. This cannot be otherwise acquired or grasped by any work, law, or merit. Therefore, it is clear and certain that this faith alone justifies us. As St. Paul says:
For we hold that one is justified by faith apart from the works of the Law. (Romans 3:28)
That He might be just and the justifier of the one who has faith in Jesus. (Romans 3:26)
5] Nothing of this article can be yielded or surrendered, even though heaven and earth and everything else falls (Mark 13:31).
For there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved. (Acts 4:12)
And with His stripes we are healed, (Isaiah 53:5)
Upon this article everything that we teach and practice depends, in opposition to the pope, the devil, and the whole world. Therefore, we must be certain and not doubt this doctrine. Otherwise, all is lost, and the pope, the devil, and all adversaries win the victory and the right over us.
Condensed from CONCORDIA: THE LUTHERAN CONFESSIONS, copyright 2005,2006 by Concordia Publishing House. Used by permission. All rights reserved. To purchase a copy of CONCORDIA, call 800-325-3040.
Lord grant you faith in His grace alone for your salvation unto eternal life. Amen