A wellspring of hope, comfort, and encouragement, Luther’s Small Catechism has served as a devotional for centuries. Devotions on the Small Catechism builds on the catechism’s historical use and enhances its Gospel-centered message, helping Christians bridge the gap between the catechism and real life. This post is an excerpt from the book; at the end of the post, you can order the book to get seventy more devotions like this one.
Small Catechism Teaching
The Creed summarizes all of God’s work in creation and human history as taught in the Bible (SC, Question 104).
Related Bible Verse
“May [you] have strength to comprehend with all the saints what is the breadth and length and height and depth, and to know the love of Christ that surpasses knowledge, that you may be filled with all the fullness of God” (Ephesians 3:18–19).
Writing from Luther
To create and preserve all things, to make satisfaction for sin, to forgive sins, to raise from the dead, and to give eternal life are works of the whole Divine Majesty. Yet the Father is especially revealed in the work of creation, which proceeds originally from Him, as the first Person; the Son in the work of redemption, which He performed in His own Person; the Holy Ghost in the work of sanctification, for which He in particular is sent and in which He reveals Himself. These distinctions are made that Christians may have the simple and certain assurance of the existence of only one God and yet three Persons in the one Divine Essence. These are truths which the pious fathers have diligently gathered from the writings of Moses, the prophets, and the apostles and have maintained against all heretics.
This faith has come down to us as an inheritance, and until the present day God has maintained it with power in His church against all sects and devils. Therefore we must abide by it in simplicity and not be wise in our own conceit; for Christians are expected to believe things that seem foolish to reason. (What Luther Says § 1044)
Our God is no generic, least-common-denominator deity. Ours is a very particular God who did particular deeds for a particular reason. He created us from dust and His own breath. He redeemed us through the blood of His Son, Jesus. He pours out His Spirit on us to make us members of His household and heirs of eternal life. All this He does because He loves us with a love that is both undying as eternity and dies to give us life. His love and His deeds distinguish Him from every pretender to His throne, and they give us an eternal place around His throne.
It is therefore vitally important that we be very clear who our God is. Saying, “I believe in God,” is not specific enough. Many non-Christians say the very same thing. The Apostles’ Creed helps us get specific. We believe in one God—Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. We believe in the God who created all things, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. We believe in His only Son, our Lord, who gave His life to redeem us from sin, death, and the devil and who rose in glory on the third day. We believe in the Holy Spirit, whose divine power creates faith where there was none and warms our cold hearts. When we confess the Creed, we confess this God in all His uniqueness. It is this God alone whom we confess, because it is this God alone who saves.
Gracious Father, give us a clear confession of faith in Jesus by the power of Your Holy Spirit, so that we may rejoice eternally in the salvation You have prepared for us and boldly tell others the good news of Your love in Christ. In His name we pray. Amen.
From Devotions on the Small Catechism, pages 34–35 © 2019 Concordia Publishing House. All rights reserved. Contemporary devotion written by David Loy.
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