The Apostles’ Creed does not mean the Apostles wrote it, rather it states the fundamental truths of Scripture as given to us through the apostles. It is said to have been formalized by the Second Century but began to take shape with the Apostles as a Baptismal Confession of Faith. This is reverently spoken in many denominations which hold traditional values. It is however becoming a rarely spoken Confession in most Baptist churches today which is odd considering it was a Confession of Faith spoken by those about to be baptized.
I believe in God, the Father Almighty, Creator of heaven and earth; and 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, died and was buried. He descended into hell; the third day He rose again from the dead; He ascended into heaven, is seated at the right hand of God the Father Almighty; from thence He shall come to judge the living and the dead. I believe in the Holy Spirit, the holy catholic (some use Christian) church, the Communion of Saints, the forgiveness of sins, the resurrection of the body, and life everlasting. Amen.
Twelve Tenants of Faith
- I believe in God, the Father Almighty, Creator of heaven and earth;
We have a God that has a personal relationship with us. We are His Creation, His Children by heavenly adoption through His Mercy and Grace. It is He who created us, judges us, and saves us.
- and in Jesus Christ, His only Son, our Lord:
We believe in Jesus Christ as the Only Begotten Son of God. He is God Incarnate, Immanuel Savior, Redeemer. Jesus is fully God and fully man and the Way into heaven. He is our lawyer and our substitute who receives our punishment for our sins.
- Who was conceived by the Holy Spirit, born of the Virgin Mary;
The seed by which Jesus was conceived was not of this world but of the Holy Spirit, God’s Breath. Born of a sexually pure young woman (translated to Virgin), Jesus was born without sin.
- suffered under Pontius Pilate, was crucified, died and was buried.
Christians teach that the death of Christ was for the purpose of making propitiation for our sin, reconciling us to God, and paying the price for our sins in our place. This is essential to the understanding of how Jesus is able to do what He does in our lives. He had to be sacrificed to make amends for our sin.
- He descended into hell; the third day He rose again from the dead;
So is the final mission of Christ while on earth. To defeat death’s hold over us due to our sinful nature. It is crucial to the understanding of the nature of Christ, the importance of His death for our atonement, and what will happen to us after death. It is because He rose from the dead in His physical but elevated form, the Spirit in the flesh.
- He ascended into heaven, is seated at the right hand of God the Father Almighty;
Just as the Death and Resurrection are essential, the Ascension is vital to the faith because He returned to the Father to take His place at the witness stand next to God’s judgement throne. This is where He will witness us to the Father and erase our sins by speaking in our place.
- from thence He shall come to judge the living and the dead.
AS Jesus continues to watch over the flock we are judged. Jesus judges the living in matters of the heart (repentant heart) and of our faith activity after we die. The final judgement spoken here is upon Jesus return to earth He will reward the faithful and destroy the wicked.
- I believe in the Holy Spirit,
The Holy Spirit, Breath of God, Third Person of the Trinity is the Helper, Comforter, Savior, that dwells within us. He is revealed by our faith through the regeneration of our soul. The Holy Spirit grants us the Gifts/Fruit by which we are known as Believers. There is no peace within us without the Holy Spirit.
- the holy catholic church, the communion of Saints,
The One Church Body of Jesus Christ. In other words, all Believers are part of the same Body IN Christ. The catholic spoken here is non-specific to the Roman Catholic Church but the people, the Believers, the One Church with One Mission, and Many Gifts to accomplish it. The word catholic means “universal. The church is not the “New Israel” and we did not take the place of Israel as the nation is still God’s chosen. We are, however, an extension of Israel through our faith and belief in Jesus Christ who took over the mission that the Jews could not do.
The communion of Saints has nothing to do with the sacrament. It is the coming together in one accord as Believers in Jesus to worship, fellowship, and conduct the work of the Kingdom here on earth. When God created Adam and Eve, He had communion with them. Meaning He had a close personal relationship with them and worked with them to learn more about Him. When we commune with each other, we develop relationships, learn from one another about God’s relationship in our lives.
- the forgiveness of sins,
Christ pardons the sins of His people by His free grace. We are forgiven by the Blood of Jesus but we must Repent of our sins. That is, we must recognize that we are filled with sinful nature, admit to our sins and the lack of being able to rid ourselves of them eternally without the sacrifice of Jesus. Without Repentance there is no forgiveness. Another piece of this is: “But if you do not forgive, neither will your Father who is in heaven forgive your transgressions.”
(Mark 11:26 NAS) Meaning, if you cannot forgive, you will not be forgiven.
- the resurrection of the body,
Not the Physical body as we see each other right now but a Spiritual body that leaves the flesh yet in the form of the flesh and either goes to heaven or damnation. Resurrection of the “Spiritual” body is at the instance of death. We are not held in waiting as the ancient Hebrews believed but taken up upon the earthly shells death. Yes, Sheol is real as those before Christ could not truly save themselves and they awaited the Messiah to bring them to the Father for their reward. Yes Hell is real as the place of eternal torment. The Spirit goes the direction of the Judgement.
- and life everlasting. Amen.
The Spirit body, once again, is eternal and lives forever either in peace or in torment dependent on how the life was lived in the body. If repentance was made truthfully then the Spirit lives with God, If there was no repentance then the Spirit suffers in the darkness away from God.
The Apostles’ Creed is an important extra biblical document that should not be overlooked or forgotten as it has been part of the faith since the beginnings of the church. Saying it is one thing, believing the basis behind it is another. This Statement of Faith should be on all Believers hearts upon Baptism and spoken as a reminder of the tenants of faith.
So ends the 12 Days of Christmas and Epiphany begins tomorrow. This celebration begins with the Wise Men visiting the Christ Child and not reporting back to Herod thereby saving Jesus life.
This coming week we will begin looking into the Didache, the teachings of the Apostles and an early guide to presenting the Gospel to the masses. God Bless you all.