This is our final week of 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: 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.
The central thought for this final week is: “All people yearn for a better future and hope that things in their lives and in the world will improve.”
What sort of future do you hope and long for?”
Dr. Luther writes:
As Christians, we yearn for the resurrection of the body and life eternal in the new heaven and new earth—the time when we will be “perfectly pure and holy people…free from sin, death, and all evil, in a new, immortal, and glorified body” (LC (Large Catechism) II 58).
One Small Catechism question is: What happens to me as a Christian when I die?
There are various views to answer this question. Most popular among Lutheran Christians is: ‘When I die, the God-given unity of my body and spirit will be broken, I will immediately be in the presence of Christ, in heaven, but my body will remain in the grave until the resurrection.’
I am reminded of the thief on the cross next to Jesus who says, ‘Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom.’ I hear Jesus respond to me through this question, ‘Truly I tell you, today you will be with me in paradise (Luke 23:42-43).’
Another Small Catechism question: Do we know when all this will take place?
Jesus gives us this answer in Mark 13 when asked by Peter, John, James and Andrew, ‘When will the end come?’ Jesus’ reply, “But about that day or hour no one knows, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father. Be on guard! Be alert[e]! You do not know when that time will come.”
This is most certainly true!
Dear Father, thank You for Your Holy Spirit, through Whom we know we have forever life because of Jesus. Jesus said, ‘I go to prepare a place for you!’ Let all who read Your Word, be brought comfort in strengthening of faith, the forgiveness of sins and forever life! Amen.