The church of Pergamum struggled with several false teachings in Revelation 2. On Sunday we explored how easy it is to be deceived with lies in our world. While we might not struggle with teachings of Balaam or the Nicolations like Pergamum did, we saw how there are many viewpoints in our world that we might believe, yet these false teachings don’t square away with the truth of the gospel of Jesus Christ.
This is where things like the historical creeds of the church come into play. It is important for us to know these kinds of writings because in many ways, they help us as Christians define what following Jesus is all about. Disciples throughout history have used the creeds as a way to summarize and focus in on what it means to be a Christian. As we noted on Sunday, the Apostles’ Creed was compiled very early in the history of the church–perhaps as early as the year 120AD.
So what makes a creed like this so special? Is there anything magical about these words? Not exactly–but it does give us a significant summary of what the Christian faith is all about. Here is a commentary to explore the Apostles’ Creed, which we say most Sundays at Concord.
I believe in God, the Father Almighty,
maker of heaven and earth;
We believe that God created our world. God is also revealed to us as our heavenly parent (Father Almighty) as part of the trinity.
And in Jesus Christ his only Son, our Lord;
God’s son, Jesus Christ, is the second member of the Trinity, equal to God, and revealed to us through the incarnation. We also worship Jesus as our Lord and savior.
who was conceived by the Holy Spirit,
born of the Virgin Mary,
God became incarnate in our world through Jesus Christ. Jesus was literally born as a human baby.
suffered under Pontius Pilate,
was crucified, dead, and buried;
the third day he rose from the dead;
he ascended into heaven,
and sitteth at the right hand of God the Father Almighty;
from thence he shall come to judge the quick and the dead.
We believe that Jesus atoned for the brokenness of our world through suffering on the cross. His resurrection three days later showed us that God’s love is indeed stronger than death, and that God offers this hope of salvation to everyone. Jesus also ascended to heaven and will judge the world.
I believe in the Holy Spirit,
The Holy Spirit, the third member of the Trinity, is God’s spirit who is with us always. This was promised in the gospels and we believe God has guided the church throughout the ages through that Spirit.
the holy catholic church,
The word catholic means that we believe Jesus established a universal church. In other words, it doesn’t necessarily matter what denomination someone belongs to, only that they earnestly repent of sin and seek to follow Jesus.
the communion of saints,
As Christians, we are part of a fellowship of all believers in God’s kingdom. We often refer to this as the “communion of saints”, which signifies all the people who have passed on and entered into God’s eternal life.
the forgiveness of sins,
God offers us forgiveness through the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ. God gives us new life and does not hold sin against us as Jesus offered himself up for you and me.
the resurrection of the body,
As Christians, we believe that God makes all things new, and that also includes experiencing resurrection for our own selves.
and the life everlasting. Amen.
We also believe that God promises us abundant life, which in addition to renewal here on earth, also includes eternal life in God’s presence after we die.