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God the Father

The First Article of the Apostlesí Creed

Rev. Andrew Eckert

First Sunday in Lent
St. Paul's Lutheran Church  
Wellston, Oklahoma

Sun, Feb 10, 2008
First S in Lent

First, I want to insert a note here about the name, "Father."  The First Article of the Creed is all about God the Father.  He refers to Himself to us by that name, "Father," many times in Scripture.  Jesus instructed us to pray to "Our Father in heaven."

Now, God the Father is not male in the same way that human beings are male.  He is a spirit, which means that He has no physical body like ours.  So He is not biologically male. 

Yet He uses the name "Father," and never "Mother."  Why?  We are not really sure.  All we know is what He tells us in Scripture.  So we should not read too much into this.  We should not say that since God is Father that it means that men are superior to women.  Of course not.  Nor should we assume too little.  Since God does not call Himself mother, we should never call Him that.  He is NOT mother.  He is Father.

We should not give in to the pressures of society that want to honor women by calling God "Mother."  That is not to honor women at all.  It is to make an idol in their image.  It is blasphemy.  No greater dishonor could be given to the noble gender of woman.

Let us call God only what He teaches us to say.  Let us call Him Father.

But enough of this.  Let us move on to the Article itself.

I think that we often look at this Article of the Creed as the easy one to understand and take to heart.  It seems so straightforward.  God gives us blessings.  What can be easier than that?

But it's not really easy.  Although it seems like many people acknowledge the physical blessings of the Creator, yet in reality, all of us have trouble with this Article.  We easily confess the goodness of our Creator with our lips.  But in our hearts, we do not believe it as we should.

We all confess that we are not our own creator.  God alone made the heavens and the earth in six days.  The Father, the first Person of the Trinity, especially gets credit for this work of creating, although the Son and the Spirit were also present and active at the beginning of all things.

We know these teachings of Scripture.  But sometimes, we do not act like they are true.

We are aware that there should be a response of thanksgiving and praise on our part for all that God does for us.  Even more than that, it is our duty to not only thank and praise, but also serve and obey Him.

We certainly thank Him from time to time.  But do we thank Him every day?  Do we acknowledge His goodness whenever we receive His bountiful blessings?  Mostly, we are sporadic thankers.  The majority of the time, we do not give the Creator a second thought.  You can see this most clearly when you consider the millions upon millions of gifts the Father gives.  Who can even recognize and take in all that He gives, much less give thanks enough for them?

Because of our thankfulness, we ought to be serving Him selflessly and sacrificially.  We should be willing to give up anything for Him.  After all, everything belongs to God.  But too often we are hesitant or grudging in our obedience.

We know that all our money comes from Him.  Yet our hand trembles as we pass the check into the plate.  If we give very little to God in the offering, then we can usually justify our stinginess by thinking that it's only giving to a human organization, or only giving to support a man, or a set of programs.  We rationalize why it's okay to withhold from God what is His due.

We also, too often deny our Creator by our pride.  We may condemn the evolutionists for imagining a creation without a Creator.  But are we any better when we boast of our qualities and accomplishments?  We act as if these things came from us.  We forget that everything good comes from the Father above.

Worse than that, we actually use God's created things to sin.  We twist what is good into something used for wickedness.  Eyes are used for lust and envy.  Ears are used for gossip.  Mouths are used for hateful and filthy words.  Money and property and occupation are used to keep us from worship.  And so forth - hands, body, abilities, intelligence, beauty, strength, and on and on.  No blessing is so good that it cannot be corrupted into a tool for iniquity.

Even worse than that, people actually slander the goodness of the Creator.  Every time someone says that His Creation is not good, His grace is denied.  If you complain about your spouse, if you complain about your children or parents, your income, your house, your car; if you complain because everything does not work out as you want it to, or if you worry because you doubt whether you will have all that you need for this life; in all these ways, you are really saying, "God, you did a poor job as Creator.  You messed up."  You may not know that this is what you are saying by your thoughts and words and actions.  But it is true, nonetheless.

Such blasphemous thoughts come easily to human beings, because the flesh so easily doubts the First Article of the Creed.  The perfect love of God shown in His Creation is difficult for sin-blurred eyes to see.  Yet it is there nevertheless.  The whole earth is full of His glory, as the angels declare.  Even now, under the curse of sin, His majesty fills His Creation.

God provides an unending steam of blessings for you, without any merit or worthiness in you.  The Creation is pure grace.  He has freely given you everything that you are and do, and everything around you that works for your good.

Even the painful moments in life and the things that seem bad are really His rich blessings of grace through which He helps you.  So awesome is His creating love and power that nothing fails to work for a good purpose for you.

Furthermore, He has lifted up mankind to be the highest pinnacle of His visible creation.  You can take pride in this: not that you are so wonderful in yourselves, but that the Father has so richly loved you and crowned you with glory.  You are fearfully and wondrously made, shaped by His hand out of dust with special care and attention.  You are filled with His Spirit, and made in your Creator's own image.

In your greatest need of all, the Father has proven gracious.  Your nature was once created holy, yet now is twisted into sinfulness.  This nature in you should earn you the Father's wrath.  You have rebelled against His creative goodness, and shown your ungratefulness in unthankfulness, selfishness, and bitter complaint.

Yet He does not cease to love.  He has provided His two greatest blessings: His Son and His Spirit.  These are not created persons, but uncreated God, equal to the Father.  The Father sent His own Son to be punished for your twisted corruption.  For it was the Father's command that sent Jesus to Calvary.  The Spirit He sent to work forgiveness, life, and faith in your dead hearts.  As once Adam was made alive by the Spirit of God, so you are born to new life by the Spirit that He breathes into you.

Thus, the Father creates again, showing His grace to those who are undeserving.  He recreates you into deathless, eternal perfection.  Once, He created, and it was good.  Now, He recreates, and you are reshaped out of sin and death.  You are good once again, because you are covered in the image of the goodness of the Father's Son.

For you, His recreated people, He will make a new heaven and a new earth, free from any hint or taint of corruption, where you shall unendingly praise and thank Him with pure voices and hearts.  For the image of Christ, created in you through Baptism, will be visible and glorious, and all your moments will be filled with holiness and joy.

May you anticipate that glory with hope, and may you recognize by faith the Father's glory in all His creation.

In His Name alone, with the Son and the Spirit.  Amen.

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