Beckett: 1st Article of the Creed – God’s Fatherly Goodness

In the 1st Article of the Creed, we believe, teach, and confess that God is our Creator who gives us all we need—large or small—and still takes care of them, defends us against all danger, and protects us from all evil. Lastly, we confess, “All this He does out of fatherly, divine goodness and mercy, without any merit or worthiness in me. For all this it is my duty to thank and praise, serve and obey Him” (SC, The First Article: Creation).

Prosperity gospel heretics like Joel Osteen teach and believe that in order to receive God’s favour, you need to give more money to His Church and if you do this, He will bless you with wealth. If He doesn’t, then you haven’t given enough and/or you must’ve done something to anger God and it depends entirely on you and your giving to make sure God is no longer at odds with you.

Conversely, in the Lutheran Church we believe, teach, and confess God loves you simply because He created you. And there is nothing you can do to earn His favour because all your works always fall short. The best you can bring to the table is a filthy rag (Isaiah 64:6). Rather, Christ has earned this favour for you by humbling Himself so much that He became “obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross” (Philippians 2:8). Therefore, we thank and praise, serve and obey Him. But we’ll save the topic of redemption for the blog posts on the 2nd Article of the Creed.

Rather than giving more and more to God in order to receive more from Him, in the 1st Article of the Creed we believe God has made us and all creatures, given us our body, soul, eyes, ears, and all our members, our reason and all our senses, and still takes care of them; as well as our clothing and shoes, food and drink, house and home, spouse and children, land, animals, and all we have to support this body and life; and defends us against all danger and evil freely out of His fatherly and divine love for us.

We often think God is called our Father because He reflects the love our earthly fathers have for us, but this is backwards. The men who sire their children are called fathers because they are to reflect the love God the Father has for all His human creatures. Our earthly fathers, therefore, give freely of themselves to us because this reflects the love of our heavenly Father. They do whatever is necessary to give us all we need because this is what the Father does every day to give us our daily bread, and ultimately what He did to give us salvation when He gave up His only-begotten Son to die for us that we might become children of God. There is nothing we can do to make sure God is no longer at odds with us because Christ has already done this in His death and resurrection, which we shall learn about in the Second Article.

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