Friday, April 26, 2013

Daily Devotional Thought--From the Confessions (The Augsburg Confession)

Since the Friday devotional thought will be taken from the Lutheran Confessions (or an ancient Church Father), I thought it would be helpful to take up one of the documents contained in the Book of Concord and focus on one article each Friday.  Since all confirmed Lutherans should be familiar with the Small Catechism, I thought we would start with the Augsburg Confession.  I pray this little series, along with the other daily devotional thoughts, are a benefit to you in helping us to fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfector of our faith.  Enjoy!

Article I (God)
1 Our churches teach with common consent that the decree of the Council of Nicaea about the unity of the divine essence and the three persons is true. 2 It is to be believed without any doubt. God is one divine essence who is eternal, without a body, without parts, of infinite power, wisdom, and goodness. He is the maker and preserver of all things, visible and invisible [Nehemiah 9:6]. 3 Yet there are three persons, the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit [Matthew 28:19]. These three persons are of the same essence and power. 4 Our churches use the term person as the Fathers have used it. We use it to signify, not a part or quality in another, but that which subsists of itself.
5 Our churches condemn all heresies [Titus 3:10–11] that arose against this article, such as the Manichaeans, who assumed that there are two “principles,” one Good and the other Evil. They also condemn the Valentinians, Arians, Eunomians, Muslims, and all heresies such as these. 6 Our churches also condemn the Samosatenes, old and new, who contend that God is but one person. Through sophistry they impiously argue that the Word and the Holy Spirit are not distinct persons. They say that Word signifies a spoken word, and Spirit signifies motion created in things.[1] (Concordia: The Lutheran Confessions)

Martin Luther never intended to start a new church, but rather to purify the one, holy, catholic, and apostolic Church. The Augsburg Confession strongly affirms the doctrine of the Trinity confessed at the Council of Nicaea (325), and later affirmed by the Council of Constantinople (381). God is one divine essence in three distinct persons—Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.  The Scriptures reveal this great mystery, confessed by all Christians.

During the Reformation, radical groups espoused various forms of earlier heresies.  The Augsburg Confession condemns the ancient heresies concerning God.  Article I proves that Lutheranism is deeply anchored in the historic doctrine of biblical Christianity.  It embraces the faith of the Church through the ages and rejects all the errors the Church has rejected (Editor’s Note from Concordia: The Lutheran Confessions).

Keep us, O Lord, in the true faith. Send Your Holy Spirit to use Your Word to create, sustain, and strengthen faith in the hearts of Your people that.  Amen.

[1] Concordia : The Lutheran Confessions. Edited by Paul Timothy McCain. St. Louis, MO : Concordia Publishing House, 2005, S. 31

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