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What Christians Believe: Confessing the Apostles' Creed - 2 Timothy 1:13-14

One of the key ways that the Church “guards the good deposit” is through the use of creeds and confessions like the Apostles’ Creed that summarize the pattern of sound words that we have in the Bible. The Apostles’ Creed is not God-breathed Scripture, but because it faithfully summarizes what Scripture taught about God and salvation, it became known as the regula fidei, the rule of faith by which someone’s Christian belief could be verified. This is what all Christians believe!

The first thing we should notice is that it is Trinity-shaped. Christians believe that our faith is founded on the God who is one-in-three. The Apostles’ Creed affirms that we believe in God the Father Almighty, Jesus Christ, His only Son, our Lord, and in the Holy Ghost. These affirmations introduce the three sections of the Creed, which is what I mean by Trinity-shaped. This is a key doctrine that distinguishes our God from all others: believing in “God” identifies you as a theist; believing in One God who is Father, Son, and Holy Spirit marks you out as a Christian.

Second, in addition to being Trinity-shaped, the Creed also attributes to each person their special part of God’s work. God the Father Almighty is the Maker of heaven and earth. Jesus Christ His only Son is Lord and Savior. The Holy Ghost is the one who unifies and sanctifies the Church. This shows us not only who God is in Himself, but also His relationship to us. God the Father is your Creator. Jesus the Son is your Redeemer. The Spirit unites us and makes us holy.

The Creed is Trinity-Shaped; it tells us what the Trinity has done; and it is also Christ-focused. The longest paragraph has to do with the person and work of Jesus, highlighting His central place in our redemption as it recounts His unique status as the only Son, His Lordship, His supernatural incarnation and birth, His suffering and death, His resurrection and ascension, His present rule, and His future coming in judgment. Our faith is focused on Christ because He is the one who has done all of this for us and for our salvation.

The Apostles’ Creed has served as a powerful tool to unite the Church and protect her from error because it tells us who God is, what He has done, and it focuses our attention on Jesus. That’s what makes it such a useful and wonderful gift to the Church, and why it found such a major place in Christian discipleship and teaching.

Here are six ways to use the Apostles’ Creed in your Christian life: First, use the Creed as a guide to what’s most important. The Bible is a big book, and even Bible scholars can’t manage the whole thing all at once. For normal Christians, what should you focus on? The Creed tells you: focus on the Triune God and what He has done. Fix your eyes on Jesus!

Second, the Creed is a guard against false doctrine. Christians can disagree about many things, but if a person disagrees with any of the truths here in the Creed, they aren’t a Christian! Guard the good deposit by affirming the truths of the Apostles’ Creed.

Third, the Apostles’ Creed helps you identify God’s people. There are other marks as well, like baptism, but if you meet someone who has been baptized and believes the Creed, then you’ve found a brother or sister in Christ!

Fourth, the Creed is food for your soul. It’s more than just a password into God’s secret club – confessing the Creed should strengthen your faith and lead you to worship God for the things you’re talking about!

Fifth, the Apostles’ Creed provides a way to confess your faith personally and corporately. “I believe” is an individual statement of trust, and when we confess the creed together with one voice in worship, we express both the personal and corporate dimensions of our faith.

Sixth, the Creed can help you articulate and explain the gospel. You’ll need to explain how these truths can be applied individually to bring about salvation by grace through faith, but the Creed will ensure that you don’t leave out any necessary truths when sharing the gospel.

For nearly two thousand years, Christians have confessed this Creed as accurately following the pattern of sound words that we have heard from the Spirit-inspired Apostles, and by the grace of the Holy Spirit, it has been one of the means by which the Church has guarded the good deposit that has been entrusted to us. As a Christian, you should know it, understand it, believe it, memorize it, confess it, sing it, and pray it, so that you too can follow the pattern of sound words that expresses the true Christian faith.

Posted on Thursday, June 11, 2020 by CJ Bowen