Friday, July 1, 2016

Our Creed to Believe

Mark 9:24b “Lord, I believe!”

I heard that the new claim of many believers today is “No creed but Christ”, but they forget that the word “creed” comes from the Latin word “credo”, which means “I believe”. A creed is defined as simply brief summary of the articles of Christian faith; a statement on faith. Sometimes, in the haste to jettison the traditions of the past, we throw the baby out with the bathwater.

In the years that I attended the local Lutheran church here, each week’s liturgical service included common prayers and creeds that belong to divine service. One of the oldest and best statements of faith that we recited was the Apostle’s Creed (written in about 390 A.D.). It is a creed that virtually every Christian group can agree on ans has united Christians through the ages. It does not argue. It is an affirmation, a declaration, and a manifesto of a Messiah who has come to conquer the world and save it from sin and death. Pour your heart and soul into their words: "I believe in God, the Father Almighty, Creator of heaven and earth. I believe in Jesus Christ, God’s only Son, our Lord, who was conceived by the Holy Spirit and born of the Virgin Mary. He suffered under Pontius Pilate, was crucified, died, and was buried; he descended to the dead. On the third day he rose again; he ascended into heaven, he is seated at the right hand of the Father, and he will come to judge the living and the dead.
I believe in the Holy Spirit, the holy catholic (meaning “universal”) and apostolic Church,
the communion of saints, the forgiveness of sins, the resurrection of the body, and the life everlasting. Amen."

Romans 6:23 “For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.”

Do you know what the key to Jesus’ life was? I noticed long ago that in the affirming facts about Christ’s life, the statement of faith above makes a tremendous leap from the birth of Christ to His suffering and death. There is not one word about Jesus’ great teachings, about His marvelous example for us, His ministry or about the incredible miracles He performed. Why? Because, Christ came into a suffering world as a suffering Savior. Christ’s sufferings are held up before our eyes, so that we will first see the hideousness of our own sin, which nailed Him to the cross in our place.

Ephesians 2:1-5 “Once you were dead because of your disobedience and your many sins. You used to live in sin, just like the rest of the world, obeying the devil—the commander of the powers in the unseen world. He is the spirit at work in the hearts of those who refuse to obey God. All of us used to live that way, following the passionate desires and inclinations of our sinful nature. By our very nature we were subject to God’s anger, just like everyone else. But God is so rich in mercy, and he loved us so much, that even though we were dead because of our sins, he gave us life when he raised Christ from the dead. (It is only by God’s grace that you have been saved!).

Christ’s death was the greatest act and event in history.. Death did not end the work of Jesus Christ. Death was the work of Jesus Christ. Three things made His atonement necessary: (1) The abominable wickedness of our sin, (2) the justice  and holiness of God, and (3) the love of God. When you think of Christ’s suffering and death, remember one thing: He came to die in your and my place. Jesus suffered, was crucified, died, and was buried for me and you! May that be our creed.

In Christ, Brian

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