We cannot appreciate the gift of God's Son until we recognize how corrupt and weak our human nature is and how important is God's forgiveness. God sent His Son to be the propitiation for our sins. That is the greatest expression of love.
Human nature is far too weak to resist the devil by its own powers. He holds as captive everyone who has not been freed through faith. There is need for Christ's power against the devil. For we know that for Christ's sake we are heard and have the promise. We may pray for the governance and defense of the Holy Spirit that we may neither be deceived nor be pushed to do anything against God's will. Christ has overcome the devil, and has given to us the promise and the Holy Spirit, in order thatóby divine aidówe ourselves may also overcome. So 1 John 3:8 says, "The reason the Son of God appeared was to destroy the works of the devil." We teach not only how the Law can be kept, but also how God is pleased. This is not because we satisfy the Law, but because we are in Christ. We require good works. In fact, we also say this: Our love for God, even though it is small, cannot possibly be separated from faith. For we come to the Father through Christ. When forgiveness of sins has been received, then we are truly certain that we have a God that cares for us. We call upon Him, we give Him thanks, we fear Him, we love Him as 1 John 4:19 teaches, "We love because He first loved us." In other words, we love Him because He gave His Son for us and forgave us our sins. In this way John shows that faith comes first and love follows. (paragraphs 17-20)
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.