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Unit 3-C: The Apostle's Creed
     The First Article

             "I believe in God, the Father Almighty, Maker of
                              Heaven and earth."
                                    The First Article--Apostles' Creed


The First Article:
   God, The Father Of All


God, Our Father

Perhaps the most remarkable thing about God is that He is called "Father." He is called "Father" for several reasons.
   1) As Creator of all things in the universe...and beyond,
         He is the Father of everything that ever existed.
   2) He is "Father" because Jesus Christ is His Son.
   3) He is "Father" because He is "Our Father."

That He is our "Father" necessarily means that God, the Father, desires a relationship with us. He is not just some abstract "Holy Other" or "Universal Force." He is our Father who, as any good Father, continually demonstrates His love for us.

Martin Luther, in his explanation to the First Article, recognized the Father's great love for us. He wrote,

"..That He has given me my body and soul and all my members. My reason and all my senses...and all that I need to support this body and life. Also clothing and shoes, house and home, wife and children, fields, cattle and all my goods....That He richly and daily provides for me and all believers....And all this purely out of fatherly divine goodness and mercy--without any merit or worthiness in me."

What is our response to all of God's gifts? We should "thank and to praise, serve and obey Him." This is, as Martin Luther emphasized, "most certainly true."

The Father's Works

1) Creation: The Book of Genesis describes how God, the Father, created the universe in just seven days. God didn't need billions of years to create the world. If He did, He wouldn't be the all-powerful, omnipotent God the Bible describes.

Working with the two other members of the Trinity--Jesus and the Holy Spirit--all things simply came into being just by God saying it. Now THAT'S a powerful God. Isn't that the kind of God you want?

Yes, our God is One who can make anything happen...simply by speaking His Word!

2) Sustaining Creation: As Luther pointed out, God didn't just create the world and then leave. Every single day He watches over creation, guiding it and replenishing it according to His purpose. Nothing is left to coincidence in this world. Everything that happens in this world--and in our lives--is part of God's remarkable plan for us, a plan He made before the world was even created (see Ephesians 1).

God sustains creation by providing the sun and the ground to produce crops in their season to feed us. He provides us with food by providing meat and vegetables...and an environmental system that provides them.

Immediately after creating the world, God charged Adam and Eve with the proper care of the world God made.

"Be fruitful and increase in number; fill the earth and subdue it. Rule over the fish of the sea and the birds of the air and over every living creature that moves on the ground" (Genesis 1:28 NIV).

That responsibility rests on all people. We must manage all that God has given in our environment as God calls us. This means we don't misuse, abuse or pollute the world God has given. Instead, we manage and utilize in such a way as to maximize the blessings it provides (such as plants, meat and drink) while minimizing the thoughtless destruction of vital resources necessary to maintain the earth.

God, The Father's Greatest Work

What do you think the Father's greatest work is? Is it making trees to grow from seeds? Is it making living human beings from a simple joining of two small cells? It is the constant, regular, dependable rotation of the planets which never collide?

As remarkable as these are, God's greatest work is sending us His only-begotten Son, Jesus. As our Savior, Jesus died on the cross for our sins. But it was the Father who sent Jesus to us. That is what John 3:16 teaches:

"For God [the Father] so loved the world, that He gave His only-begotten Son that
whoever believes in Him should not perish but have eternal life."

Yes, God, the Father, demonstrated His greatest love to us by giving us the greatest sacrifice He could give: His one and only Son.

We know it is difficult to give up things. It's even harder when the thing we are giving up is the only one we have. But, in giving up even the only--and most precious--thing we have, we demonstrate the highest form of love: sacrificial love.

Once God tested His faithful servant Abraham. He called Abraham to sacrifice his only son, Isaac. Though this testing, Abraham understood first-hand the kind of love the Father had for him. Read Genesis 22:1-18 and reflect on how the Father's love for you is even greater than Abraham's love for God!

That's the love God gives us each day. A totally undeserved sacrificial love which provides for us and non-believers even though we sin daily...and much. By sending Jesus, the Father showed us why He is our Father: Because He loves us so much.

How do we respond to God's love? Martin Luther wrote that all we can do is "thank and praise, serve and obey Him." Since He is our Father, we simply love Him as children love their dear father--with all their heart, soul, mind and spirit.

Do you love God as your Heavenly Father?  How is this demonstrated in your life?


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