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Who is God? Creator, Redeemer, Sanctifier

​The past two weeks our adult education hour has discussed Luther’s explanation of the Apostle’s Creed found in his Small Catechism. In the 10 Commandments we are told what to do, but who is this God that is ordering us around? The Apostle’s Creed is a good summation of what the Bible teaches us about who God is.

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1st Article of the Apostle’s Creed: I believe in God, the Father almighty, creator of heaven and earth.

Luther’s Explanation: I believe that God has created me together with all that exists. God has given me and still preserves my body and soul: eyes, ears, and all limbs and senses; reason and all mental faculties.

In addition, God daily and abundantly provides shoes and clothing, food and drink, house and farm, spouse and children, fields, livestock, and all property—along with all the necessities and nourishment for this body and life. God protects me against all danger and shields and preserves me from all evil. And all this is done out of pure, fatherly, and divine goodness and mercy, without any merit or worthiness of mine at all! For all of this I owe it to God to thank and praise, serve and obey him. This is most certainly true.

What we discussed: This is a nice reminder that God did more than create the universe. God is still creating everything in our lives today. This is all the way from the big and small things, things we can see and cannot see.

In the midst of all the stuff we buy and earn in our lives it can be hard to remember this part of the Creed. In remembering that God created everything we gain perspective on the fact that we do not truly own anything.

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2nd Article of the Apostle’s Creed: I believe in Jesus Christ, God’s only Son, our Lord, who was conceived by the Holy Spirit, born of the virgin Mary, suffered under Pontius Pilate, was crucified, died, and was buried; he descended to the dead. On the third day he rose again; he ascended into heaven, he is seated at the right hand of the Father, and he will come to judge the living and the dead.

Luther’s Explanation: I believe that Jesus Christ, true, God, begotten of the Father in eternity, and also true human being, born of the virgin Mary, is my Lord. He has redeemed me, a lost and condemned human being. He has purchased and freed me from all sins, from death, and from the power of the devil, not with gold or silver but with this holy, precious blood and with his innocent suffering and death. He has done all this in order that I may belong to him, live under him in his kingdom, and serve him in eternal righteousness, innocence, and blessedness, just as he is risen from the dead and lives and rules eternally. This is most certainly true.

What we discussed: Jesus is not strictly God or strictly human. Jesus is both God and man. This article expressed belief that Jesus Christ is our Lord. That means Jesus is our ruler. Who was our ruler before Jesus? Sin and death. There are the rulers of the world that would only lead us to destruction. Luckily, Jesus paid for the rights to rule over us with his blood. Because of this, we have hope that the kingdom we live in is one of love, peace, and eternity.

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3rd Article of the Apostle’s Creed: I believe in the Holy Spirit, the holy catholic church, the communion of saints, the forgiveness of sins, the resurrection of the body, and the life everlasting.

Luther’s Explanation: I believe that by my own understanding or strength I cannot believe in Jesus Christ my Lord or come to him, but instead the Holy Spirit has called me through the gospel, enlightened me with his gifts, made me holy and kept me in the true faith, just as he calls, gathers, enlightens, and makes holy the whole Christian church on earth and keeps it with Jesus Christ in the one common, true faith. Daily in this Christian church the Holy Spirit abundantly forgives all sins—mine and those of all believers. On the last day the Holy Spirit will raise me and all the dead and will give to me and all believers in Christ eternal life. This is most certainly true.

What we discussed: Simply put…the Holy Spirit makes us holy. How does this happen? It is through the Holy Spirit that we receive faith, forgiveness, and resurrection. Luther’s explanation is a strong point that we cannot and will not come to know and believe in Jesus Christ without the Holy Spirit sharing us the gospel. Therefore, the Holy Spirit is an active member in the Lutheran train of thought because it is the only way we can have faith. On top of all that, the Holy Spirit enlivens us with gifts such as wisdom, desire to help, compassion, and the ability to live a godly life.

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​In this Creed we see who God is. Martin Luther felt the Creed contained everything we need to know about God. Upon understanding that, a Christian can then delve deeper into Scripture to find out even more who God is. We find in the Creed that God is constantly giving of God’s self in all three persons. “…the Father gives us all creation, Christ all his works, the Holy Spirit all his gifts.”[1]

[1] Martin Luther. Book of Concord, “Luther’s Large Catechism”. (Fortress Press: Minneapolis, 2000). Page 448, Paragraph 69.