PART FOUR OF THE SERIES
“This is most certainly true!”
The Five Installments:
1) God is my Father Almighty;
2) God is Maker of Heaven and Earth;
3) God is my Preserver and Provider;
4) God is my Protector;
5) God does all this for me by His grace.
Absolutes–weren’t we taught to never use absolutes?
Generally speaking, the use of absolutes make for sticky statements. A child may complain to its parent, “We never get to eat ice cream!” ‘Never’—really!? A church member may disagree with another, “But we always do it this way!” ‘Always’—really!? When a person uses an absolute, he better be sure the facts back up his claim under every and all circumstances.
THE APOSTLES’ CREED
I believe in God the Father Almighty, Maker of heaven and earth.
And in Jesus Christ, His only Son, our Lord, who was conceived by the Holy Ghost, born of the virgin Mary, suffered under Pontius Pilate, was crucified, dead, and buried; He descended into hell; the third day He rose again from the dead; He ascended into heaven and sitteth on the right hand of God, the Father Almighty; from thence He shall come to judge the quick and the dead.
I believe in the Holy Ghost; the holy Christian Church, the communion of saints; the forgiveness of sins; the resurrection of the body; and the life everlasting. Amen.
In our continuing study of the First Article from the Small Catechism, Martin Luther states emphatically that our Heavenly Father protects us from all danger and from every evil—‘all’ and ‘every’!? Is it true in every situation that ‘This is most certainly true!’?
Sometimes it appears we have been beset by evil and not ‘always’ been protected from danger. Cancer rates are not lower among Christians, and God’s children suffer in car accidents. Sad to say, divorce, teen pregnancy, and chemical dependency are often found among Christians too.
Where then is the protecting hand of God versus the ‘evil’ in our lives?
It is difficult to imagine a world such as Adam and Eve enjoyed in the beginning. Satan’s lie to Eve—“…you will be like God knowing good and evil” (Gen. 3:5)—proved to be more than they had bargained for. God knew evil as the polar opposite of Himself. He knew evil as Satan’s world, to be rejected, spurned, shunned, and done away with.
The First Article
I believe in God the Father Almighty, Maker of heaven and earth.
What does this mean?
I believe that God has created me and all creatures. He has given me my body and life, eyes, ears, and all my bodily members, my mind, and all my senses and still keeps them for me. God also preserves me by richly and daily providing clothing and shoes, food and drink, house and home, spouse and children, land, animals, and all my property and all I need to support this body and life. He protects me from all danger. He guards and defends me from every evil. God does all this because He is my good and gracious Father in heaven, not because of anything I have done to earn or deserve it. For all of this it is my duty to thank, praise, serve, and obey Him.
This is most certainly true.
(Martin Luther’s SMALL CATECHISM, Sydow edition, 2000)
Ever since our first parents’ steps into rebellion, mankind has known evil. But human
knowledge of evil is very different from God’s, for humans wallow and revel in evil. Is it then any wonder that unconverted sinners have a complete disconnect from God’s concept of evil (as well as
His concept of good)?
God knows our lives as a tale already told. God knows what our days will amount to even before they come to pass (Psalm 139:16). God desires that each of us be with Him in eternity (1 Timothy 2:4). Therefore, the good and gracious Lord is willing and able to use any means necessary to see that we reach our heavenly goal. Backing up that statement is the fact that God sent His only Son Jesus into this world as our Savior. Jesus paid in full our sin-debt and has given us His robe of righteousness to cover our unworthiness. Heaven is now ours! “Most assuredly, I say to you, he who believes in Me has everlasting life” [already now] (John 6:47).
From that standpoint things look pretty good for us. We have been redeemed and sanctified by our holy God. You would think people could pick us out of the crowd–our lives being full of nothing but goodness and blessing, all evil and trouble kept at bay. Yet it just isn’t so, is it? How then do we justify our claim about God’s complete protection of His own?
We could think of it like this: our Savior-God and our arch-enemy Satan often use the same tools while working for different results.
Satan on his part prowls about, peddling his deceptive lies. The devil uses cares and worries in our personal lives because he is seeking to cause us to despair. The old evil foe may entice us to focus on financial loss or the loss of a loved one as evidence that we serve an uncaring deity. Please remember, dear believers, that when Satan attacks us, it is for the express purpose of displacing our holy Christian faith, if not destroying it altogether.
By contrast, to accomplish His saving purposes for us, our gracious Creator God and Heavenly Father may send hardship and tribulation into our lives. His motivation and goal, however, is the eternal salvation of our blood-bought souls. Problems and troubles which come into our lives serve to teach us that His holy and saving Word is the only sure and true balm for our souls. Financial troubles may be used by God to remind us that He Himself is the Source of all blessings. If we suffer the loss of loved ones, we are reminded that the death of the Lord’s saints is precious in His sight (Psalm 116:15), for it leads to life eternal.
What a blessing to be children of such a good and gracious Heavenly Father who always protects us from all danger and every evil by turning troubles in our lives into His servants intended to aid in our salvation! “And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose” (Romans 8:28).
‘This is most certainly true’—absolutely!
“When thro’ the deep waters I call thee to go,
The rivers of sorrow shall not overflow;
For I will be with thee thy troubles to bless
And sanctify to thee thy deepest distress.”
“When through fiery trials thy pathway shall lie,
My grace all-sufficient, shall be thy supply.
The flames shall not hurt thee; I only design
Thy dross to consume and thy gold to refine.”
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