Sunday, July 14, 2013

The Apostles' Creed

Taken from Luther’s Catechism
(3rd edition 1998)

Do you know the Apostles’ Creed? I have recited it in church every Sunday all my life. It truly sums up who I am and what I believe. It tells me where I came from and where I am going.

Where I came from (Creation):

I believe in God the Father almighty, maker of heaven and earth.
What does this mean?
·         I believe that God created me and all that exists, and that he gave me my body and soul, eyes, ears and all my members, my mind and all my abilities. And I believe that God still preserves me by richly and daily providing clothing and shoes, food and drink. Property and home, spouse and children, land cattle, and all I own, and all I need to keep my body and life. God also preserves me by defending me against all danger, guarding and protecting me from all evil. All this God does only because he is my good and merciful Father in heaven, and not because I have earned or deserved it. For all this I ought to thank and praise, to serve and obey him. This is most certainly true.

I am a redeemed child of God (Redemption):

He lived
I believe in Jesus Christ, his 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 into hell. The third day he rose again from the dead. He ascended into heaven and is seated at the right hand of God the Father almighty. From there he will come to judge the living and the dead.
What does this mean?
He died
·         I believe that Jesus Christ, true God, begotten of the Father from eternity, and also true man, born of the virgin Mary, is my Lord. He has redeemed me, a lost and condemned creature, purchased and won me from all sins, from death and from the power of the devil, not with gold or silver but with his holy, precious blood and with his innocent suffering and death.
All this he did that I should be his own, and live under him in his kingdom, and serve him in everlasting righteousness, innocence and blessedness, just as he has risen from death and lives and rules eternally.
This is most certainly true.

I have been made holy through the blood of Jesus (Sanctification):

He rose from death
I believe in the Holy Spirit; the holy Christian church, the communion of saints; the forgiveness of sins; the resurrection of the body; and the life everlasting. Amen
What does this mean?
·         I believe that I cannot by my own thinking or choosing believe in Jesus Christ, my Lord, or come to him. But the Holy Spirit has called me by the gospel, enlightened me with his gifts, sanctified and kept me in the true faith. In the same way he calls, gathers, enlightens, and sanctifies the whole Christian church on earth, and keeps it with Jesus Christ in the one true faith. In this Christian church he daily and fully forgives all sins to me and all believers. On the Last Day he will raise me and all the dead and give eternal life to me and all believers in Christ. This is most certainly true.

What beautiful words these are. They are filled with hope, light and life. They tell us where we came from and how we are to live. They tell us that Jesus redeemed all people from death and the power of Satan and that through faith in Him we are forgiven and made holy by His blood. They tell us that death is not forever – that the bodies of all believers will be raised on the last day and be granted eternal life with Him in heaven.

I am His child
This truly is reason for rejoicing!

Heavenly Father, it is only by your wonderful grace that I was born into a Christian family. Words cannot express my thanks to you. Thank you also for the gift of baptism, by which you brought me to faith, forgave my sins and adopted me into your family. I believe your promise of life after this life and look forward to the day I will meet you face to face and live in your wonderful kingdom eternally. Take away my fears and help me to trust in your almighty power. Amen. 

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