I believe in God the Father Almighty, Maker of heaven and earth.
What does this mean? — Answer.
I believe that God has made me and all creatures; that He has given me my body and soul, eyes, ears, and all my limbs, my reason, and all my senses, and still preserves them; in addition thereto, clothing and shoes, meat and drink, house and homestead, wife and children, fields, cattle, and all my goods; that He provides me richly and daily with all that I need to support this body and life, protects me from all danger, and guards me and preserves me from all evil; and all this out of pure, fatherly, divine goodness and mercy, without any merit or worthiness in me; for all which I owe it to Him to thank, praise, serve, and obey Him. This is most certainly true.
In the Name of Jesus, Amen.
The Lord gives His gifts. The One who created us, is also the Lord who sustains us. Every detail of our lives, every part of our person, even down to the very number of hairs on our head matter to our Lord. Jesus put it this way:
His care for you isn’t based on anything in you either. He doesn’t care for and provide for you based on karma, your goodness, or anything you do or have done, because truthfully, there is no good in you. Everything good is from God Himself, for He alone is good and is the giver of all good gifts. So, real goodness must be given to you, it’s not from inside your heart but from outside of you.
Everything we have that’s good, a great meal, great drink, nice clothing, friends, family, a house or apartment to shelter us and on and on, all of it we receive from the hand of our Lord as His gift to us and for us. Good is also not some arbitrary feeling. It’s not just something emotional or subjective, but according to Genesis 1, God calls His creation good and then when He creates man, He tells us for the first time that something is NOT good, when man is there alone. So, He creates the woman, and the two are one flesh, and now are called VERY good. Now there is life that comes from this created man and woman, and we see that our Lord, our Creator tells us good is something definitive, something objective, towards the giving of life. It is towards the giving of life, care of life and sustinence of life, therefore it is good. So, we give thanks, in fact for all of these things, knowing they are from the Lord who cares for us, and does so through other means and people, all of whom are also His created work.
In other words, our Lord uses His very creation to continue His blessings and order all towards life, care sustenance and enjoyment. An example of this is found when we pray for our Lord to “give us this day our daily bread” in the prayer He has given. He answers this prayer by means of His creation. Through what we may even look at as normal or natural means. He gives this bread through the vocation of a farmer, who grows the bread, the truck driver who delivers the bread, the grocery store and workers who stock the bread, and the clerk who checks us out to get the bread. He gives the job or money to be able to purchase the bread as well. So God works in what we may consider ordinary means to extrodinarily provide for us, His creation, and so we give thanks to Him for all things.
Not only does God use His gifts or creation to provide for our physical needs, but He gives to us that which we desperately need spiritually, through created or physical and material means.
Ultimately, we receive all that is needed for us, as sinners who are in need of the forgiveness of sins, justification, through physical means. The Gospel itself is given by way of God Himself entering into our created world, into physical and material time and space, becoming one of us, the Son of Man to redeem us from the devastating effects of sin, death and the devil. Jesus is the Gospel. It is Jesus, the One who has come to save us from our sins, as His name reminds us, who was born of the virgin Mary, suffered under Pontius Pilate, and was crucified as the Lamb of God who carries our sins and pays for them on the cross. He does so for us men and for our salvation as we confess I the Creed.
He ascends into heaven, as true God AND true man, the One who now speaks us righteous and feeds us His own true body and blood for the forgiveness of sin. He is the one, as the Son of Man who stands in for all of humanity, having taken upon Himself all of our sin and shame. The author of Hebrews tells us that He does so, “for the joy that was set before Him”. His redemption of you was not done begrudgingly or with any reluctance, but willingly and joyfully. He did it because He loves you.
All that Jesus has accomplished for you, the shedding of His blood to cleanse you, is given freely to you through created means as well. He gives to you through the work of the Holy Spirit, whom He gives through means that are material, or through the real or actual, so there is certainty in what our Lord gives. There is certainty to how these gifts of salvation are received, and where they are located in actual time and space.
He speaks this Gospel to you through a real preacher, who uses real words that you hear through your actual ears. The material or phyisically spoken Word is used by our Lord, not the hidden or subjective way of feelings or something secret. Preaching in the Lord’s service is His use of His own creation for your salvation. He has chosen that your faith is given to you through this preaching for Faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of Christ preached to you.
The Lord places His holy name upon you in Holy Baptism, where he uses real water, His creation, with His Word to cleanse you and deliver to you the victory of His cross and resurrection, His righteousness is now completely and certainly yours. All gift. Given to you physically and actually so that you certainly know that you belong to Him.
Our Lord give His true body and true blood to you through real wine and real bread with His supper where He speaks to you “This is my body given for you, and Drink of it all of you, this cup is the new testament in my blood which is shed for you for the forgiveness of sins.”
When our Lord speaks, He acts and gives, He accomplishes what He promises and delivers what He says, using the very things He created to recreate us as new men and women in Christ, and as His church, the people of His own making and remaking, Those whom He has repented and gathers to Himself, whom He will be with always, even unto the end of the age. Creation and Redemption, our salvation from sin is all His gift, His work, He’s done it all for you.
Isaiah 35:10 says:
“And the ransomed of the LORD shall return and come to Zion with singing; everlasting joy shall be upon their heads; they shall obtain gladness and joy, and sorrow and sighing shall flee away”
In the Name of Jesus, Amen.