With the understanding of the Holy Spirit not only being sent by God the Father with the Son, but that the Holy Spirit is an active part of the Holy Trinity, Christianity has a unique faith in the Trinitarian Godhead, with three persons with three distinct roles, yet all united as one God in their divinity and purpose. I’m not going to elaborate further on Trinitarian theology, I have thrown out enough heresies already in trying to illustrate the Trinity!
Five statements of faith follow to complete the Creed:
Faith in the “holy catholic Church”, that is, the worldwide body and bride of Christ defined by faith in Jesus Christ, and distinct from all who profess unbelief and heresy.
“Communion of saints” refers to the unity of the followers of Jesus made righteous through His blood on the cross, all who have turned to Jesus in faith throughout history to this day. We are in communion with these saints, as the Body of Christ.
“Forgiveness of sins” is recognition that we are in fact sinners, and only reconciled to God the Father because our sins are forgiven by Him through Jesus. We are assured of this because Jesus is risen, ascended, and sent the Holy Spirit as the seal and guarantee of His promise that this is so.
“Resurrection of the body” reminds us of the future promise of life in a perfectly formed body that has no infirmity, disease, pain or disability, and yet is as recognisable to the Lord and to one-another as we are now. How? It is an article of faith, but the Apostle Paul outlines his thoughts on it really well in 1 Corinthians 15.
“the life everlasting”… doesn’t have the same punch in our understanding as it did to the early Church. A better understanding is “life to the uttermost and fullest, always”. The emphasis is not on the length of time, but the closeness and intimacy of such time. The example used on Sunday was to contrast an hour on a cold, drizzly day alone waiting for a bus that never arrives, with an hour with the closest of friends or partner. The cold hour feels like ‘forever’ and not in a good way. The hour with our nearest and dearest feels like a moment of treasure, never enough and yet always remembered. Such will be “life everlasting”… everlasting closeness that we desire to never end.
“Amen”. We don’t say this lightly, as it affirms our agreement to all these beliefs. It is our “Yes”, “I say that these things are true”. But we do say ‘Amen’ because these are the life-changing and world-changing beliefs the Christian faith stands on.
To do as Jesus commanded and fulfil the Great Commission, it is time we took the Creed seriously. So take it seriously. Memorise it. Challenge it. Study it. Teach it.