This week, we continue reviewing the Third Article of The Apostle’s Creed with Dr. Martin Luther’s comments, the Catechisms and some personal reflections.
The Third Article of The Apostle’s Creed:
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!
Dr. Martin Luther’s explanation of The Third Article from The Small Catechism answers the famous Luther question, What does this mean?:
I believe that I cannot by my own reason or strength 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, and sanctified and kept me in 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 richly forgives all my sins and the sins of 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.
This week, we focus on the first part of Dr. Luther’s explanation: In this Christian Church He daily and richly forgives all my sins and the sins of all believers. This is most certainly true.
Perhaps the most important question in consideration of our focus this week is, ‘Why must we firmly maintain this teaching of forgiveness—the doctrine of justification by grace, for Christ’s sake, through faith?’
The Small Catechism states: We must firmly hold to this teaching because it is the most important Christian doctrine. This teaching distinguishes the Christian faith from all other religions, since other religions teach salvation by works. This teaching alone gives enduring comfort to penitent sinners and all glory to God for His grace and mercy in Christ Jesus.
Read and consider the following Scripture:
Dear Father, thank You for Your Holy Spirit, through Whom we know forgiveness of all sins in Jesus. We give thanks and praise to you, Father, Son and Holy Spirit. Amen.