1 Timothy 6:12
Fight the good fight of the faith. Take hold of the eternal life to which you were called and about which you made the good confession in the presence of many witnesses.
In part four of this series on worship service, we explored the confession of sins.
Now we explore a different type of confession – of our faith.
Making a bold confession of faith is the heart of carrying out the Great Commission of Jesus Christ to make disciples and teach other what Jesus has commanded us – to love God and to love our neighbors.
The previous devotions in this series are:
Part 1 – Hymnody
Part 2 – Invocation
Part 3 – Baptism
Part 4 – Confession of Sins
Part 5 – Absolution
Part 6 – Introit / Psalmody
Part 7 – Kyrie
Part 8 – Hymn of Praise
Part 9 – Scripture Readings
Part 10 – Sermon
When I was in college, my friends and I shared a lot of the same passions in music, in movies, and in cartoons.
We could recite the lines of a Bugs Bunny or Daffy Duck cartoon from memory and often amused ourselves by having “film festivals” of these cartoons and would speak the lines along with the TV.
To this day, all I would have to do is post the beginning of a piece of dialog on one of my friend’s Facebook page and he’ll be able to finish the line.
What does this have to do with the “Confession of Faith”?
To begin with, the word “confession” comes from a Latin word that means “speak together.” It took on the later meaning to “admit” – which is the meaning “confession” has with the “confession of sins.”
But in the “confession of faith” it has the meaning of “saying together what we believe.”
The Confession of Faith usually follows the sermon in the worship service. In some liturgies, it can precede the sermon. Wherever it shows up, however, it is important that we spend some time in worship talking together using words that convey what it is that we believe as Christians.
How could we all possibly say what we believe using the same words? If only there were some kind of saying we could use!?!?!?!?!
Of course, I’m being sarcastic here. There are three sayings we use for the Confession of Faith.
The Apostles’ Creed
The Nicene Creed
The Athanasian Creed.
The Apostles’ Creed (not actually written by the Twelve Apostles but was a summary of their teachings) usually is dated back to the Fourth Century AD. It is the Creed that Lutherans use in the Rite of Baptism and is the Creed Luther teaches in his Small Catechism.
The Nicene Creed was put together at the Council of Nicaea in AD 325 and has been used by the Christian Church since. It is the Creed used at Christmas and Easter and emphasizes the humanity, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ.
The Athanasian Creed usually dates back to the Sixth Century AD and is a longer statement of faith emphasizing the Trinitarian nature of God. In Lutheran churches it is usually only said on Trinity Sunday (the Sunday that follows the Day of Pentecost).
The reason we saying these things together is because Jesus has asked us, “Who do you say that I am?” (Matthew 16) We can answer that question, making what St. Paul calls “the good confession” and in doing so proclaim to the world not only what we believe but who Jesus is!
In our Confession of Faith we tell others about Jesus! This is what we “do” as Christians – we tell others about Jesus.
And one of the most profound ways of telling others about Jesus is to tell them what Jesus means to, and has done for, us.