MY RELATIONSHIP TO GOD THE FATHER
1 John 3:1 (NET) (See what sort of love the Father has given to us: that we should be called God’s children—and indeed we are! For this reason the world does not know us: because it did not know him. — We as believers in Christ are God’s children! My relationship to God the Father is that of a Beloved Son, because of God’s Only Begotten/Unique (Generated, or proceeding from God, not created) Son. In the book called “The Lutheran Difference,” page 89 states that “The unique teachings and emphases of Jesus have not only taught the world about the Fatherhood of God but also have encouraged our modern ideas about justice, freedom, and mercy, because these are characteristics of our Father in heaven.” The very first words of the Lord’s prayer are directed to the Father: Matthew 6:8-10 New English Translation (NET Bible) 8 Do not be like them, for your Father knows what you need before you ask him. 9 So pray this way: Our Father in heaven, may your name be honored, 10 may your kingdom come, may your will be done on earth as it is in heaven. Through baptism, we’ve been adopted as sons and daughters by the Father. I know understand why Lutherans baptize infants. We baptize infants so that they can come into a relationship with our Heavenly Father as early as possible. Plenty of biblical passages, such as Jeremiah 1 and Psalm 71 describe children being known by God at a very young age, even from birth. Lutherans also hold to the three eucemenical creeds: the Apostle’s Creed, Athanasian Creed, and the Nicene Creed. Each of these documents describe the Triune Godhead and our relationship to the Father. The Father is our provider, as the classic hymn “Great is Thy Faithfulness” by Thomas Chisholm (1866-1960) states. The Father gives us good gifts according to James 1:17: James 1:17 (NET) All generous giving and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or the slightest hint of change. The Father is my Preserver and Protector. He is blessed forever, amen!! The ultimate self-disclosure of our Heavenly Father is none other than the Incarnated of His Beloved Son. We will explore my relationship to the Son in our next paragraph.
MY RELATIONSHIP TO GOD THE SON
Christ is my redeemer (Gal. 3:13). Christ is my Advocate (1 Jn. 2:1). Christ is my High Priest, attested to by numerous verses in the book of Hebrews. Christ is the second person of the Holy Trinity, and the fullness of God dwells in Christ (Col. 1:19, 2:9). As a Lutheran, I stand at the reading of the Holy Gospels in Divine Service. Christ has given his Body and Blood on behalf of my sins, and I encounter Him every Divine Service through the Sacraments, as the bread and wine are his True Body and True Blood; the True Presence of Christ is in the bread and wine. I don’t have to understand it; but I believe it. Christ is my joy and hope. He is the founder and perfecter of my faith (Hebrews 12:2). He is my Lord and my God (John 20:28). He was born for ME. The Incarnation of Christ, the biblical title of “Emmanuel” that the Bible gives Jesus, these things all tell us that God did the unthinkable. Instead of having us blindly grope around in hopes of “finding” or “discovering” God, he came to us. Christ came to us. Jesus humbled Himself to the point of death, all for my sins. All for me. I love the “Jesus Christ For YOU” culture of Lutheranism. Christ born FOR ME. Christ crucified FOR ME. Christ resurrected FOR ME. Christ ascended FOR ME. Christ provided atonement for me, or at-one-ment. He restored my relationship to the Father. Christ is my Sinless Savior, and I receive his righteousness by faith. Because Jesus was tempted like I am but didn’t sin, I can relate to Him. I can identify with Jesus. And I am not the only one who can identify with Christ. We need to tell the world about the powerful fact that He is the propitiation for our sins, and not for our sins only, but also for the sins of the whole world (1 John 2:2). Blessed be my Lord and Savior! And now, I will move on to talk about the Precious Holy Spirit.
MY RELATIONSHIP TO THE HOLY SPIRIT
The Holy Spirit is my Comforter. He is my Helper (John 16). He is my Advocate. He is the Third Person of the Trinity. I love, and worship Him. The Holy Spirit produces the character of Christ in me; I constantly pray for the fruition of His presence (Galatians 5:23-24). All of the fruits of the Spirit, love, joy, peace, patience, etc., are the fruition of the Spirit. Therefore, as a Christian, I pray to grow in these things simultaneously. The Comforter produces faith in me through the Word and Sacraments. In LC (Large Catechism), II, 38, Luther says that God has caused the Word to be published and proclaim, yet the Holy Spirit offers and applies this great treasure of salvation to us. Also, in the Augsburg Confession, Article V, it is stated that the ministry of the Spirit is the ministry of the Gospel. The Spirit of God brings to my remembrance all of Christ’s words (John 14:26). He helps me to memorize and retain scripture. The Spirit of God gives me the ability to grow in godliness, and he does so by constantly bringing the words of Jesus to the forefront of my mind. This is a far cry from different sects and denominations who claim to have ecstatic experiences and encounters with the Holy Spirit. However, how many are converted during these outbursts? Of course, I am not saying that God cannot perform miracles today; he definitely can. I am not saying that God cannot cause someone to speak in an unknown language, because God can. However, the Spirit of God always leads us back to Christ in the Gospels, and so the Gospel should be what we desire to hear, meditate upon, learn, read and study the most. Yet we are all human; wrapped in frailty. But we have this treasure in jars of clay, the treasure of the Spirit of God taking up residence in our very souls. Well I hope you enjoyed this blog, the next one will be a robust discussion on the proper distinction between Law & Gospel, classic confessional Lutheran thinking!