August 2015

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August 2015

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Credo Pt. 3

Vicar Mike Schwab

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.

These are the words that we say as part of our creed. In our creed we confess what we believe. What is the Holy Spirit? What is the holy Christian Church? The communion of saints? We say these phrases every Sunday, and I have to admit, often enough my mind goes on autopilot and my mouth does all the work. Sunday after Sunday the meaning is lost.

When we think about God, what comes to mind? We look around and we see God’s creation, and we are reminded of our heavenly Father. But what from God’s creation can tell us about the good news of Jesus our Savior? How can I come to know and believe in God’s saving work for the world if I was born into a sinful world?

The world into which we were born was fallen into sin. All people by nature are dead, (Eph 2:5) blind, (1 Cor 2:14) and opposed (Romans 8:7) to God.

The Holy Spirit is revealed to us in God’s Word as the sole provider for faith.

Therefore I want you to know that no one who is speaking by the Spirit of God says, “Jesus be cursed,” and no one can say, “Jesus Christ is Lord,” except by the Holy Spirit.

–1 Corinthians 12:3

Simply by grace are God’s people brought to glorify his name. Popular thought in some Christian circles today establishes faith as a work that man does. You have to make your decision for Christ! Accept Jesus as your Savior! While we might be able to understand these statements correctly, there is a misunderstanding to avoid. The danger in this philosophy is that man is still weak with sin. The seed of faith is planted there, but he sprouts up and relies on himself. Then when trials and persecution come, he starts to wonder, what is Christianity all about? I thought things were going to be better now!

If we rely on reason to be holy, if we rely on intelligence to be right with God, our confession of faith only scratches the surface. If we think that being part of the holy Christian Church is something that we’ve grasped with sheer willpower, we’ve put aside the source of all wisdom and knowledge just for the chance to say, “I did this.” What’s the point in satisfying the prideful man inside, when you don’t give the new man a chance to grow?

“For you have been born again, not of perishable seed, but of imperishable, through the living and enduring word of God.”

–1 Peter 1:23

Those who confess Jesus as Lord can only do so with the help of the Holy Spirit, and by the Holy Spirit we receive blessings that come through Baptism, Holy Communion, and the Word of God. We receive forgiveness of sins, we get to cheat death (resurrection) and we have eternal life. These are the gifts that come to us through the means of grace (Word and sacraments) so that we can glorify his name. That awesome task is something we can do with all our gifts and talents in whatever we do. We also have the specific opportunity to glorify God as we gather for worship.

When we say our creed, we confess with the whole Christian Church on earth the glory that is due to God for all his grace. To create us, preserve us, redeem us, and preserve the Church for the glorification of his name.

Take a moment to see God’s hand in everything you do, that he has bought you back and restored you to a new life to live in his glory. We are his saints, washed clean in the blood of Christ.

For we are God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.

–Ephesians 2:10

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