With Martin Luther’s Explanation

On Confirmation Sunday, our confirmands recite the Apostles’ Creed with our congregation. In addition, they provide Martin Luther’s explanation of what the Creed meant. The following text outlines the Apostles’ Creed, along with Luther’s explanations.

Pastor: Do you believe in God?

All: I believe in God the Father Almighty, maker of heaven and earth.

Pastor: What does this mean?

Confirmands: It means that God has created me and all that exists. He has given me, and still preserves, my body and soul with all their powers. He provides me with food, clothing, home and family, daily work,and all that I need from day to day. God also protects me in times of danger and guards me from every evil. All this he does out of fatherly and divine goodness and mercy, though I do not deserve it. Therefore, I surely ought to thank and praise, serve and obey him. This is most certainly true.

Pastor: Do you believe in Jesus Christ?

All: I believe in Jesus Christ, his only Son, our Lord; who was conceived by the Holy Spirit, born of the Virgin Mary, Suffered under Pontius Pilate, was crucified, dead and was buried; he descended into Hades; the third day he rose again from the dead: he ascended into heaven and sitteth at the right hand of God, the Father Almighty; them thence he shall come to judge the quick and the dead.

Pastor: What does this mean?

Confirmands: It means that Jesus Christ – truly God, Son of the Father from eternity, and truly man, born of the Virgin Mary – is my Lord. He has redeemed me, a lost and condemned person, saved me at great cost from sin, death and the power of the devil – not with silver and gold, but his holy and precious suffering and death. All this he has done that I might be his own, live under him and his Kingdom, and serve him in everlasting righteousness, innocence and blessedness, just as he is risen from the dead and lives and rules eternally. This is most certainly true.

Pastor: Do you believe in the Holy Spirit?

All: I believe in the Holy Spirit, the holy Christian Church, the communion of saints, the forgiveness of sins, the resurrection of the body, and the life everlasting. Amen.

Pastor: What does this mean?

Confirmands: It means that I cannot by my own understanding or effort believe in Jesus Christ, my Lord, or come to him. But the Holy Spirit has called me through the Gospel, enlightened me with his gifts and sanctifies the whole Christian Church on earth and keeps it united with Jesus Christ in the one true faith and with the whole Church body on earth and in heaven. In this Christian Church, day after day, he fully forgives my sins and sins of all believers. On the last day, he will raise me and all the dead, and give me and all believers in Christ eternal life. This is most certainly true.