Pastor Alan Wollenburg writes a series of articles that have been published in his church newsletter. Looking for a way to introduce more of the members of his congregation and people of the community who happen across their parish newsletter on just what the Augsburg Confession is, he decided to write on the different articles of AC under the general theme: “Core Values for Christians”. Here is his articles on Article XIV of the Augsburg Confession.
(This article is taken from the July Newsletter of Concordia Ev. Lutheran Church of Sikeston, MO. That entire newsletter can be viewed as a pdf file here. At the end of the below article I will include the text – and introduction – of Article III of the Augsburg Confession — or, go to this link and read it yourself.)
The Augsburg Confession
“Chief Articles of Faith”
Article XIV â€” The Son of God
Our churches teach that the Word, that is, the Son of God (John 1:14), assumed the human nature in the womb of the Blessed Virgin Mary. So there are two natures â€” the divine and the human â€” inseparably joined in one person. There is one Christ, true God and true man, who was born of the Virgin Mary, truly suffered, was crucified, died, and was buried. He did this to reconcile the Father to us and to be a sacrifice, not only for original guilt, but also for all actual sins of mankind (John 1:29).
He also descended into hell, and truly rose again on the third day. Afterward, He ascended into heaven to sit at the right hand of the Father. There He forever reigns and has domininon over all creatures. He sanctifies those who believe in Him, by sending the Holy Spirit into their hearts to rule, comfort, and make them alive. He defends them against the devil and the power of sin.
The same Christ will openly come again to judge the living and the dead, and so forth, according to the Apostles’ Creed.
+ + +
Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ our Lord:
Yes, I know, to you who have been properly instructed and who gladly receive God’s Word in worship every Sunday, to say that Jesus is truly the Son of God is a “no-brainer.” For this fact, you should get down on your knees and give thanks to God that you have been properly taught. 🙂
You see, not every person has been thus properly taught. For that matter, not every person who calls him-/herself a “Christian” has been thus properly taught. And, sometimes, people who have been properly taught have rejected the true Christian doctrine which was given to them for their souls’ comfort!
As a result, there truly are people who do not realize that “The Son of God” is THE “core value” of the Christian faith. It is easy to become distracted by trends and fads which come along in Christendom, or to be distracted by our own “felt needs” to start to think that there are other “core values” than “The Son of God.”
+ ARTICLE III – THE SON OF GOD +
God has revealed Himself to us as three separate and distinct Persons in one God. He has revealed Himself as the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. This is the blessed and adorable Trinity. You are right: the word “Trinity” and “Triune God” are not in the Bible. Nevertheless the doctrine is plainly there.
Assuming that you have read Article III at the beginning of this post, what does it mean? In a nutshell it means that we call ourselves “Christian” because we know and worship the “Christ.” This “Christ” is the very Son of God who has accomplished not just our salvation but the salvation of every man, woman, and child in the world.
When did He become the “Son of God?” That would seem a logical question since, to our finite way of thinking, everything and everyone has to have come from somewhere. Nevertheless Jesus is called the eternal Son of God. He has no beginning nor does He have an end. He is God. To say that Jesus is the “only-begotten Son of God” is simply to use Biblical language. God has chosen to reveal Himself to us in this way so that we may have some sense of realization of the gift of God in the giving of His Son for our salvation!
+ WHY IT WAS NECESSARY FOR JESUS TO BE TRUE MAN! +
It was necessary for our salvation that Jesus be true Man because we are sinners. A man needed to satisfy the justice of God because of sin. It was, after all, man who had broken God’s Law in the Garden of Eden and who had cast the whole world into sinfulness.
According to Luther’s Small Catechism, (Question #122 in the 1991 edition – or go see this online at: https://www.lcms.org/graphics/assets/media/LCMS/explanation.pdf ), Jesus had to be true Man in order to:  “act in our place under the Law and fulfill it for us;” and  “be able to suffer and die for our guilt because we failed to keep the Law.”
The Law of God, of course, is holy and therefore demands our obedience. The problem is that we who are afflicted with Original Sin simply cannot, no matter how hard we might try, keep God’s Law perfectly.
So God takes our flesh and blood upon Himself (born of the Virgin Mary) and becomes the Man first who keeps God’s Law perfectly â€” He is tempted in every way just as we are tempted but He never sins â€” He is tempted and He never sins and He keeps God’s Law not just once, but all the time!
Then, because God’s righteous justice demands a sacrifice for the sins already and continually being committed, Jesus the Man suffers and dies in our place.
Want proof of God’s “commitment” to you? Want proof of God’s love for you? Go stand at the foot of Christ’s cross and refelct upon what He endured for you, me, and for the whole world!
+ WHY IT WAS NECESSARY FOR JESUS TO BE TRUE GOD! +
Even as Jesus had to be true Man in order to effect our salvation, He also had to be true God in order to effect our salvation. It is not hard to figure this out, is it? We naturally born people are sinners! We have inherited the problem of “sin” from our parents.
Because of that problem we simply could not keep God’s Law perfectly. We could, of course, suffer and die for our sins, but our sufferings and deaths would not be sufficient to pay for our own sins, much less for the sins of the whole entire world!
So, the Small Catechism (Question #122 in the 1991 edition – or go see this online at: https://www.lcms.org/graphics/assets/media/LCMS/explanation.pdf ) says that our Lord Christ had to be true God so that  “His fulfilling of the Law, His life, suffering, and death might be a sufficient ransom for all people;” and  so that “He might be able to overcome death and the devil for us.”
We do not need to stand around wondering, or lay on our sleepless bed in the middle of the night wondering, or be wracked with doubts while lying on our death bed wondering IF Christ has sufficiently paid for our sins and/or IF Christ has truly satisfied the almighty God! He is God. He has done it perfectly!
+ THE COMFORT OF JESUS AS TRUE MAN! +
There is also great daily comfort for you, dear reader, in the realization that Christ is true God and true Man. The fact that He is true Man is God’s reassurance to you that God truly can “relate” to you and me.
Ever had someone try to destroy you? Ever suffered innocently? Do you ever wrestle with temptation? God knows! Jesus is your Brother! Hebrews 4:14-16 is one of my favorite texts! Check it out.
+ THE COMFORT OF JESUS AS TRUE GOD! +
You do not ever need to wonder if Jesus has worked out your salvation “enough.” You and I often wonder if we have done some thing good “enough.” Not so with Christ! As God He never sins. Ever. He is never insufficient. He never only “comes close.” Because He is God you can rest in the sure knowledge of His work (for your salvation!) being complete.
+ Two Incredible Mysteries as The Church’s “High” Festivals +
The Son of God is true Man and true God! This is wondrous! Him we worship, for He has accomplished the whole world’s salvation.
AT CHRISTMAS the Church marvels in the truth and rejoices in the fact that God became a Man and, at a specific point in time, stepped into our world as a flesh and blood man! Oh, the ecstasy (and the agony) of knowing God’s love for us! Angels sang of it!
ON GOOD FRIDAY, we thankfully (but with overwhelming sadness in our hearts) watch God die nailed to a Cross as the bloody payment for mankind’s sins. Oh, the agony (and the ecstasy) of God’s suffering because of our sins. Oh, the joy of the forgiveness of our sins! And on Easter morning angels announced that He had risen! +
In Christ, /s/ Pastor Wollenburg
In Concordia The Lutheran Confessions A Reader’s Edition of the Book of Concord, there is this “forward” which is intended to help first time readers of the Augsburg Confession understand the context in which it was written:
“The Augsburg Confession teaches the historic, biblical doctrine of Christ. Many early controversies about Christ’s human and divine natures were resolved through careful study of God’s Word, and are reflected in the Nicene Creed. Article III echoes that creed – our Lord Jesus Christ is one person having two natures: truly God and truly man. This is another mystery of the Christian faith that we receive with thanks, bowing before Christ in humble adoration. His incarnation in the womb of His virgin mother, Mary, was for our salvation. He is, and remains, for all eternity the God-man, the One who appeased, or propitiated, God’s wrath against our sin and won for us eternal life. Even now He is present with us through His appointed means of grace – the Gospel and the Sacraments. He comes to strengthen, sustain, and support us, and to bring us safely to our heavenly home. (See also Ap III; SA II I; FC Ep VIII and SD VIII.)
(Source: CONCORDIA The Lutheran Confessions A Reader’s Edition of the Book of Concord. p. 57. © 2005, CPH, St. Louis, MO.)