Easter According to the Apostles’ Creed (Part 3)

The Apostles' Creed

The Apostles’ Creed

TEXT: 1 Corinthians 15:1-4

Today, we are continuing with the third message in this series as we look at the Biblical basis for the statement of faith known as the Apostles’ Creed. Today, we will begin by reading a newer version of the Apostles’ Creed. This version is based on the “Old Roman Symbol” which we read during our first two messages in this series. According to The Creeds of Christendom by Philip Schaff, “the individual statements of belief that are included in the Apostles’ Creed – even those not found in the Old Roman Symbol – are found in various writings by Irenaeus, Tertullian, Novatian, Marcellus, Rufinus, Ambrose, Augustine, Nicetus, and Eusebius Gallus.” This version of the Creed was put in written form sometime during the first half of the eighth century AD. Interestingly, it appears to have come from Christians in Spain and France unlike the Old Roman Symbol which was formulated by Christians in Rome. The French King Char-le-magne imposed it throughout his kingdom and it was eventually accepted in Rome which was still using the Old Roman Symbol at that time.

This creed is the one most widely used by Lutheran, Anglican, Presbyterian, Methodist, and Congregationalist churches today. Let’s read it right now:

I believe in God, the Father Almighty,
the Maker of heaven and earth,
and in Jesus Christ, His only Son, our Lord:

Who was conceived by the Holy Ghost,
born of the virgin Mary,
suffered under Pontius Pilate,
was crucified, dead, and buried;

He descended into hell.
The third day He arose again from the dead;

He ascended into heaven,
and sitteth on the right hand of God the Father Almighty;
from thence he shall come to judge the quick and the dead.

I believe in the Holy Ghost; the holy church;
the communion of saints; the forgiveness of sins;
the resurrection of the body; and the life everlasting.

Amen.

The Old Roman Form of the Apostles Creed reads as follows:

I believe in God, the Father Almighty; and in Jesus Christ, his only Son, our Lord, who was born by the Holy Spirit of the Virgin Mary, who under Pontius Pilate was crucified, and buried. On the third day rose again from the dead. He ascended into Heaven and sits at the right hand of the Father. From thence he will come to judge the living and the dead. And in the Holy Spirit, the holy Church, the forgiveness of sins, the resurrection of the body, the life everlasting. Amen.

Today, we are looking at the next line of the creed which reads, “Who was born of the Holy Spirit and the Virgin Mary…” Let’s turn to the Word of God and see the biblical basis for this part of the Apostles’ Creed.

1. We see the deity of Christ. In Luke 1:35, the angel Gabriel tells Mary, “The Holy Ghost shall come upon thee, and the power of the Highest shall overshadow thee: therefore also that holy thing which shall be born of thee shall be called the Son of God.” For Jesus Christ to be the perfect sacrifice for man’s sins, He had to be both God and man — divine and human.

2. We see the humanity of Christ. The Apostles’ Creed says Jesus “was born of the Holy Spirit and the Virgin Mary.” His birth of the Holy Spirit shows forth His deity, and His birth of the Virgin Mary shows forth His humanity. Luke 1:26-27 says, “the angel Gabriel was sent from God unto a city of Galilee, named Nazareth, To a virgin espoused to a man whose name was Joseph, of the house of David; and the virgin’s name was Mary.” The great miracle of the Incarnation is that God became man in the form of Jesus Christ approximately 2,000 years ago. That is what we celebrate at Christmas.

3. We see the unity of Christ. Colossians 2:9 says, “For in Jesus dwelleth all the fulness of the Godhead bodily.” At this junction, it is crucial to point out that Jesus Christ is not a hybrid being. He does not have “two sides.” His divinity and His humanity are each fully present — He is 100% God and 100% man. This was a major doctrinal issue for the early church fathers who helped formulate the Creeds which we have today.

Because of the union of deity and humanity in Jesus Christ, all that is needed for the accomplishment of salvation is present. Because Jesus is man, He has experienced the same things that we do. Thus, He was able to die for our sins. Because Jesus is God, He is all-powerful and He cannot be defeated. Thus, He rose from the dead to accomplish our salvation.

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