Dear Members and Friends of IBCZ,
Last Sunday we began our study of the Apostles’ Creed. The earliest form of this statement of faith was used by the church as far back as the 2nd century as a means of teaching and proclaiming the central tenets of the Christian faith. To be clear, I am not preaching from the Creed. As always, I am preaching from Scripture, but using the Apostles’ Creed to guide as through some of the essential and core beliefs of our faith found throughout Scripture. If the Apostles’ Creed is new to you, I have pasted a copy below.
We began by considering just the first two words of the Creed – “I believe.” We saw that biblically, to believe involves our whole life. Of course, it starts with what we conclude in our minds to be true – that there is a God. But Christian faith also includes trust; we not only believe in this God but we trust this God, especially for our salvation through Christ (Rom. 3:23-25). Then we trust God to guide us through all of life.
We also saw that Christian faith includes commitment to God, for as James 2:19 points out, even the demons believe there is a God, but rather than committing themselves to this God, they have rejected Him. When Jesus called people, He called them to commit themselves to following Him into a new way of living.
And then Christian belief also is about obedience. James 2:17 reminds us that faith without action is dead. True faith manifests itself through our acts of obedience.
This broad nature of belief is summed up in the following quote: “Faith (to believe) is the response of the whole person to the person of God. It is a joyful response on my part to the overwhelming divine love I see revealed in Jesus Christ.”
While genuine faith is demanding, involving the whole of our lives, it should be seen as a joyful response. When we begin to grasp and experience the overwhelming love of God revealed and poured out for us in Jesus Christ, we can’t help but be filled with joy. So may we joyfully nurture our faith in Christ day by day.
Grace and peace,
THE APOSTLES’ CREED
I believe in God, the Father Almighty, Creator of heaven and earth. I believe in Jesus Christ, his only Son, our Lord. He was conceived by the power of the Holy Spirit, and born of the Virgin Mary. He suffered under Pontius Pilate, was crucified, died and buried. He descended into hell (to the dead). On the third day he rose again. He ascended into heaven, and is seated at the right hand of the Father. He will come again to judge the living and the dead. I believe in the Holy Spirit, the holy catholic church, the communion of saints, the forgiveness of sins, the resurrection of the body, and the life everlasting. Amen.