Saturday, June 29, 2013

Meditation on the First Article of the Apostles Creed

The First Article
I believe in God the Father Almighty, Maker of heaven and earth.
What does this mean?
I believe that God has made me and all creatures; that He has given me my body and soul, eyes, ears and all my members, my reason and all my senses, and still preserves them; that He richly and daily provides me with food and clothing, home and family, property and goods, and all that I need to support this body and life; that He protects me from all danger, guards and keeps me from all evil; and all this purely out of fatherly, divine goodness and mercy, without any merit or worthiness in me; for all which I am in duty bound to thank and to praise, to serve and obey Him.  This is most certainly true.
The Ten Commandments have taught us the proper respect we are to have towards God and that we are to have only one God.  The question then that arises is “What sort of God do you have?” or “Who is God?”  The Creed then is that answer and confession of the Christian arranged in respect to the first commandment so that we know who the one true God is.
Psalm 139:13-14 For You formed my inward parts; You covered me in my mother’s womb.  I will praise You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made; marvelous are Your works, and that my soul knows very well.  In the First Article of the Apostle Creed, it focuses on what we know about God through the creation.  The opening words of Genesis speak very plainly of our origins and the origins of all life in the universe as we know it.  “In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth.”  It stands to reason then that the God who created us continues to preserve and care for us through the creation which he has made.  This is called God’s providence.  God still continues to provide for us through everything that he has made.  He gives us every thing that we need to sustain our lives.  All that we have is from Him.
Nor does God just let the powers of evil overtake us but he defends us from all evil and misfortune.  He directs all sorts of danger and disaster away from us.  We have not earned any such divine assistance or protection, but God does so simply because His nature is to love that which He has created.  He has knitted us together in our mothers’ wombs, he breathed life into us in a special way and has promised to continue caring for that life even amidst the struggles and trials that we face.  Yet God’s love for us is not based on the evidence of the material possessions we have, but our worth is derived out of His love for us in Christ as we will learn more about in the 2nd Article.
Because of His divine love for us in Christ, we could rightly say of ourselves that we have a face only a mother could love.  Because of our sins, we were alienated from God and from each other.  We have no worth of our own that would cause him to love us, but because of God’s benevolence, he continues to love the sinner, in spite of the sin.  The evidence of that love is found in the work of Jesus Christ.
Yet our duty toward God is not done.  Because he has loved us in such a way as to provide for us and care for us in all things we are duty bound to thank and to praise, serve and obey him.  Without God providing our oxygen, we would surely perish.  God, by his gracious hand, continues to provide those things necessary to sustain life and without them we would perish.  This article ought to keep us humble and terrify us all, because we cannot earn God’s willingness to preserve us.  Yet we are to thank him daily, even constantly for his blessings; the blessings of divine protection, food and clothing, home and family, property and goods, and all that we need to support this body and life.  By recognition of God as our creator and preserver, our hearts should be warm and kindled to be thankful and to use all such good things to the honor and praise of God.
Almighty God, through Your Word and Spirit You most wonderfully created all things, and through the Word made flesh You brought new life to fallen humanity.  Grant that in Your mercy we may be conformed to the image of Him who shares fully in our humanity, even Jesus Christ, our Lord. Amen.

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