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 Spirit;
the holy catholic church;
the communion of saints;
the forgiveness of sins;
the resurrection of the body;
and the life everlasting.
The Apostles' Creed has served as a summary of Christian teaching since the earliest days of Christian church after Christ. Through the centuries, it has been the standard of a basic Christian profession of faith, containing all key elements of Christian doctrine:
God is the Creator of heaven and earth. The book of Genesis tells us that God created all things out of nothing. He spoke, and the universe came into existance. God created a man and woman in His own image--in perfect and without sin. He made a covenant (promise) with them, requiring perfect obedience to his holy law. However, the man and woman rebelled against God. They sinned.
Jesus, the eternal Son of God, became man. Christians believe that God is a Trinity--Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. God is three Persons, but only one God. Jesus is the Son of God. He has always been God, and He will always be God. However, at a particular point in history, He became man also. He was born to the Virgin Mary as a human baby (although still also God). Jesus grew up in the town of Nazareth in Judea. For three years, he preached about the kingdom of God and performed many miracles to demonstrate His divine authority.
Jesus died on the cross to pay for our sins. Jesus became man for a particular purpose--to be our Redeemer (one who pays for our freedom). We were all slaves to sin because of our disobedience to God, but because of God's love for us, He sent His Son to die on the cross to pay for our sins. Through the blood of Christ, we are reconciled to God. Our sins are forgiven, and we are adopted as God's children.
Jesus rose from the dead and ascended into heaven. Jesus died, and He was buried, but He did not remain in His tomb. On the third day, He rose from the dead. He appeared to many people as the resurrected Lord, and then He ascended into heaven. Someday, He will return in great glory to judge the world.
The Holy Spirit has been sent to us. Jesus Christ is no longer here on earth where we may see visibly see Him, but He has sent the Holy Spirit (the third Person of the Trinity) as our Comforter. The Holy Spirit illuminates the hearts of those God has chosen for salvation. It is because of the work of the Holy Spirit in us that we love God and want to obey Him.
The Church is the government of God here on earth. As Christians, we are commanded to have fellowship with other believers under the lordship of Christ as members of His church. The Apostles' Creed refers to the 'catholic church.' This is not a reference to Roman Catholicism. In this context, 'catholic' means 'universal.' The church exists anywhere in the world and throughout the ages where there have been those who put their faith in God.
God has given His people special blessings. By His grace, we have forgiveness of our sins, fellowship with other believers, and eternal life. God has promised that on the day of resurrection, the dead in Christ will rise again. He will make a new heaven and new earth for us, and we will live forever in perfect holiness and fellowship with Him.
Being a Christian requires that someone believe these things and put their faith in Jesus Christ for salvation. The Bible promises us that when we acknowledge and confess our sins, God is faithful to forgive us and purify us from unrighteousness.
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