Day 249 - FOUNDATION STONES IN A YEAR
Unlike the Nicene Creed from the fourth century, the Apostles’ Creed doesn’t explicitly state the nature of Jesus’ divinity or define the relationship between members of the Trinity, which left room for heresies to slip into Christian churches. But it did play an important role in understanding baptism in the early church, and helped Christians establish orthodoxy.
The Apostles’ Creed isn’t just a statement of Christ’s past, present, and future life—it’s a reminder of our present and future lives too. It’s been used in more churches across more denominations and traditions than any other creed. You can also hear its influence in multiple Reformation-era catechisms, such as Martin Luther’s Small Catechism and the Heidelberg Catechism.
Let’s go through it in more detail, looking for the foundational truths as we go.
I believe in God the Father Almighty,
Maker of heaven and earth.
And in Jesus Christ, His only Son, our Lord;
who was conceived by the Holy Ghost . . .
The first thing you notice from that opening is how Trinitarian it is. Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. You see Christ the Cornerstone here.
. . . born of the Virgin Mary,
suffered under Pontius Pilate,
was crucified, dead, and buried;
He descended into hell.
The third day He rose again from the dead.
He ascended into heaven . . .
And then you begin to see that the focus of the Apostles’ Creed is on the headline facts of Jesus’ earthly life, atoning death, and His glorious resurrection and ascension. We see Christ’s humanity on display here, as well as the doctrine of the resurrection.
...He ascended into heaven,
and sits at the right hand of God the Father Almighty.
But the creed isn’t just about what Jesus has done in the past. It also considers the present situation of Jesus and his Lordship. looks ahead to what Jesus will do in the future. John Calvin explains what “sitting at the right hand of the Father” means. It means that “Christ was invested with lordship over heaven and earth, and solemnly entered into possession of the government committed to him—and that he not only entered into possession once for all, but continues in it.” That means that Jesus rules over all things today and will one day be seen by everyone to be ruling over all things.
From where He shall come to judge the quick and the dead.
“The quick” here simply means “the living.” In other words, when Jesus returns, He will judge all those who are living at the time of His return and all those who have already died, across the entire span of human history.
As you can see, just this first part of the Apostles’ Creed is a brilliant summary of the Gospel. Tomorrow we’ll continue looking at the remainder of the creed.
Thank You for preserving these deep truths for us Lord.