I believe in God the Father Almighty,
Maker of heaven and earth
And in Jesus Christ His only Son, our Lord;
Who was conceived by the Holy Spirit
Born of the Virgin Mary,
Suffered under Pontius Pilate,
Was crucified, dead, and buried.
He descended into hades;
The third day He rose again from the dead;
He ascended into heaven,
And sits on the right hand of God, the Father Almighty
From there He shall come to judge the living and the dead.
I believe in the Holy Spirit,
The holy Christian Church,
the communion of saints,
the forgiveness of sins,
the resurrection of the body,
and the life everlasting.
We’ve come to the final phrases of the Apostles’ Creed.
1. I believe in…the forgiveness of sins
On Easter Sunday, the day Jesus rose from the dead, He told His followers:
Yes, it was written long ago that the Messiah must suffer and die and rise again from the dead on the third day. With my authority, take this message of repentance to all the nations, beginning in Jerusalem: ‘There is forgiveness of sins for all who turn to me.’ (Luke 24:46-47, New Living Translation 1996).
In this message from Jesus is the bad news that people of all nations have sin and that they need forgiveness.
However, there is also the good news that forgiveness comes to all who make Jesus the leader of their lives. He’s the solution, because He died to break the power of evil, sin and death and rose to prove that He had been successful. No one is excluded.
2. I believe in… the resurrection of the body
It was important to Jesus to demonstrate to His followers, in that Easter encounter, that He had physically, bodily risen from the dead.
36 While they were still talking about this, Jesus himself stood among them and said to them, “Peace be with you.”
37 They were startled and frightened, thinking they saw a ghost. 38 He said to them, “Why are you troubled, and why do doubts rise in your minds? 39 Look at my hands and my feet. It is I myself! Touch me and see; a ghost does not have flesh and bones, as you see I have.”
40 When he had said this, he showed them his hands and feet. 41 And while they still did not believe it because of joy and amazement, he asked them, “Do you have anything here to eat?” 42 They gave him a piece of broiled fish, 43 and he took it and ate it in their presence. (Luke 24:36-43)
For Jesus followers, death becomes a door on the other side of which is continued physical existence. And what is that existence like?
3. I believe in …the life everlasting
Jesu s spoke, in a story he told, about what life is like for His followers on the other side of death.
“His master replied, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant! You have been faithful with a few things; I will put you in charge of many things. Come and share your master’s happiness!’ (Matthew 25:21)
That story is a part of a series of three stories talking about what life will be like after death. The series of stories begins “At that time the kingdom of heaven will be like…” (Matthew 25:1, 14).
Dallas Willard writes, “We will not sit around looking at one another or at God for eternity but will join the eternal Logos (Jesus), ‘reign with him,’ in the endlessly ongoing creative work of God. It is for this that we were individually intended, as both kings and priests (Exodus 19:6); Revelation 5:10)….His plan is for us to develop, as apprentices to Jesus, to the point where we can take our place in the ongoing creativity of the universe.” Willard, The Divine Conspiracy, HarperSanFrancisco 1997, 378.
An eternity of learning and creativity!
That’s what Jesus of Nazareth, Creator of the universe, told us – and He should know!
How does that sound?