Augsburg Confession Article 1: God

Article 1: God

Our churches teach with common consent that the decree of the Council of Nicaea about the unity of the divine essence and the three persons is true. It is to be believed without any doubt. God is one divine essence who is eternal, without a body, without parts, of infinite power, wisdom, and goodness. He is the maker and preserver of all things, visible and invisible. Yet there are three persons, the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. These three persons are of the same essence and power. Our churches use the term person as the Fathers have used it. We use it to signify, not a part or quality in another, but that which subsists of itself.

Our churches condemn all heresies that arose against this article, such as the Manicheans, who assumed that there are two “principles,” one Good and the other Evil. They also condemn the Valentinians, Arians, Eunomians, Muslims, and all heresies such as these. Our churches also condemn the Samosatenes, old and new, who contend that God is but one person. Through sophistry they impiously argue that the Word and the Holy Spirit are not distinct persons. They say that Word signifies a spoken word, and Spirit signifies motion created in things.

How do you explain God in a blog? The analogy is used that trying to understand all there is to know about God is like trying to drink the ocean. The only way to attack such a task is to simply drink one glass at a time. Let this blog be one such glass from the ocean that is God.

What we know about God we learn from the Bible. We believe that the Bible is the word of God and that the teachings of the Bible will be forever relevant. The Bible tells us that there is only one true God and that he sent Jesus to die for our sins.

For every point that is confessed about God in the article above I have linked a Bible passage that clearly teaches what the Augsburg Confession confesses. For all of the facts confessed about God there are many other passages that could be quoted.

I am going to be straightforward and honest. God does not make sense to me; not in the way a delusional person does not make sense but in the way Einstein’s theories don’t make sense. Einstein’s theories don’t make sense because I am not smart enough to understand them. What God reveals about himself does not make sense to me, or any human for that matter, because we are not smart enough to understand how God operates.

I’m ok with that. I am comfortable admitting that God is smarter than I am and if he says something that I do not understand I am willing to take his word for it. Evidently David felt the same way, “My heart is not proud, O Lord, my eyes are not haughty; I do not concern myself with great matters or things too wonderful for me” (Psalm 131:1).

It does not make sense to our limited human minds that the Bible teaches that there is only one God but the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit are all God. There are not three gods but only one God. There are not three different masks that God puts on, each of the three is a person which exists separate from the others but there still is only one God. It does not make sense. With Job we confess “To God belong wisdom and power; counsel and understanding are his” (Job 12:13).

Why is it important to talk about this if we can’t understand it?

The Bible is a very cohesive book. Begin to doubt just one teaching from the Bible and like a torn sweater the whole thing begins to unravel. If Jesus is not true God, our sins are not forgiven. The Bible explains that the death of a mere man would not be enough to pay for the sins of the whole world. Jesus had to be true God, sent by the Father who is also true God. We talk about and confess the truths of God as explained in the Bible because we love our God and want to know more about him.

A note on the condemnation in this article of the Augsburg Confession: Recall that the Augsburg Confession was written to defend the budding Lutheran Church from false accusations by the Roman Catholic Church. It was necessary for the Lutherans to distance themselves from the false teaching to which they were compared. These condemnations are done in accord with Titus 3:10-11 “Warn a divisive person once, and then warn him a second time. After that, have nothing to do with him. You may be sure that such a man is warped and sinful; he is self-condemned.” Only God can read the heart and it is God’s to judge on the last day but public confessions of false doctrine, those we can and should condemn.

What tremendous comfort we find in studying our God and Father. Because of Jesus’ blood we can approach this all-powerful and perfect God with freedom and confidence. We can talk to him as we would a loving father. We can hold him to his promises to bless us because he will not fail us. The study of God can be confusing at times to our human minds. The study of God is a tremendously edifying task, one which serves to draw us closer to our Lord and Savior. This study is something that will never be completed. We will never fully know or understand God but don’t let that stop you from searching the face he has shown us in the Bible. He has so much to give us.

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About vicarhoff

I am thrilled and honored to be serving as vicar/intern at Christ the King Lutheran Church and School for a whole year!

Posted on January 18, 2012, in Church, Preschool and tagged , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 2 Comments.

  1. This is really great what you are doing here. I am learning and enjoying. Thank you for putting the time into doing this. It is appreciated and worthwhile.

    Steve Brown
    Messiah Lutheran Church (WELS)
    South Windsor, CT

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