Devotional Word for Tuesday, October 20, 2020
Last week we discussed the substance of true faith and the summary of that faith found in the Apostles’ Creed. This week we are going to turn our attention to the creed in more detail. Question 24, speaking about the articles of the creed, says, “How are these articles divided?” The answer says, “Into three parts: The first concerns God the Father and our creation; the second, God the Son and our redemption; and the third, God the Holy Spirit and our sanctification.”
Perhaps you have never thought about the members of the trinity and the manner in which they function in creation. In his letter to the Ephesians, Paul writes a wonderfully long sentence. Verses 3-14 in chapter 1 in Greek is one long sentence. As any grammar teacher would point out the run-on character of such a sentence in English, translators have broken it into different sentences. These verses, like the Apostles’ Creed is divided into three sections.
Verses 3-6 describe the work of the Father. Paul writes that the Father has chosen us in Christ before the foundation of the world. Just stop and think about that for a moment. We think of reality in terms of time and space. That is part of being a created being. There was a time when I was not. There is now a time when I am living. Further, I am living in Souderton Pennsylvania. My body cannot exist in both Souderton Pennsylvania and Jamestown New York at the same time. I am bounded by time and space. Yet, God is not. Even before the creation of the world, the Father chose me and all believers down through the ages. That is an amazing reality. Note, in verse 6 it says that the Father does all that He does to the praise of the glory of His grace.
Verses 7-12 describe the work of the Son. Paul writes that in Christ we have, redemption, the forgiveness of trespasses, and the revelation of the mystery which Paul describes to the Colossians as Christ in you the hope of glory. In short, God the Son has taken on the sins of His people (from every tribe, nation, and language) and placed His righteousness upon the people. In this way, when the Father looks upon Christians, He sees His sons and daughters. Verse 12 says that the Son has done all this so that we would be to the praise of His glory.
Paul continues in verses 13-14 to describe the work of the Holy Spirit. There he writes that Christians have been sealed with the Holy Spirit as a down payment of their inheritance. Another way to understand this is to say that the Spirit is now at work in believers as the beginning of the promises of God. As the Spirit is working in believers, He is directing them to the person and work of Christ, He is turning hearts of stone into hearts of flesh, and He is helping Christians understand and believe the Scriptures. As verse 14 says the work of the Spirit is also to the praise of His glory.
Christians believe that God is Triune or three persons in one God. Next time we will look more closely at the manner in which the members of the Trinity interact. Today as we close we need to see that the idea of the Trinity was not a scheme of man or a product of the Heidelberg Catechism. It is part of the Scriptures throughout. In Ephesians 1 we see the God calling, redeeming, and sealing believers all to the praise of His glory. May we all remember that Father, Son, and Spirit is working even now in us and may we rejoice! Let us pray.