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 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. This is most certainly true.
What do you think of when you hear the word, ‘church?’
The Greek word most commonly used in the NT when talking about “church” is ekklesia. Ekklesia is basically a combination of two Greek words: “ek” meaning “out of” and “kaleo” meaning “to call” so ekklesia, the church, is/are people God has “called out” to be His body, His presence in the world today. Three Scriptures passage come to mind:
You may be like most people when you hear the word church and think: building, congregation, denomination, worship service. That thinking is fine, but another term or metaphor commonly used by St. Paul in the NT is the “Body of Christ.” This was already mentioned in the Ephesian 1 passage. Here are a couple other passages.
Dear Father, through Your Holy Spirit, empower us to be Your hands, feet, voices, eyes and ears for Your Holy Gospel, Jesus. We give thanks and praise to you, Father, Son and Holy Spirit. Amen.