There are three articles in the Nicene Creed, on the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. The second article on the Son is the longest. As we’ve seen, the first part of the second article articulates the identity of the Son and his relationship to the Father. The second part turns our attention to the Son’s relationship to creation, which we considered last week, and his relationship to us, which we will consider over the next several weeks.
The Nicene Creed is a theological confession. It’s about God. It is also a soteriological confession: we confess what the “One Lord, Jesus Christ, the only-begotten Son of God” has done “for us men and for our salvation.” The Creed is a summary of what the Apostle Paul calls “the doctrine of God our Saviour” (Titus 2:10).
God our Saviour is the God who “for us men and for our salvation came down from heaven.” For us: this short prepositional phrase orients our whole theological outlook. God is for us. We know God is for us because the Son of God came down from heaven, was incarnate, became man, was crucified for us under Pontius Pilate, suffered, died, was buried, and on the third day rose again according to the Scriptures.
He is for us, because he loves us. Again, the Apostle Paul declares in Titus 3:4 that the appearance of the Son of God in the flesh was the appearance of the “lovingkindness of God.” Lovingkindness translates the Greek word philanthropia. Jesus is the manifestation of God’s love for humanity. God so loved the world he sent his only Son.
For this reason, Martin Luther insisted on the centrality of the sacrament of the Lord’s Supper, which declares “God is for us,” for the church and the believer. For this reason, Charles Wesley composed the great hymn “And Can It Be?”, which we continue to sing today. For this reason, the Apostle Paul writes, “I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing with the glory that is to be revealed to us” and “that for those who love God all things work for good,” because “if God is for us, who can be against us? He who did not spare his own Son but gave him up for us all, how will he not also with him graciously give us all things?” (Romans 8:18, 28, 31-32).
Finally, remember that “us” includes you. If God is for us, then he is for me. I pray that you can testify with the Apostle Paul, “the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me” (Galatians 2:20b).