Easter is a significant event in our church calendar that we commemorate. Our faith rests on the facts of Easter. And so, for Hermon, we capture it in two documents: the Apostles’ Creed and the Westminster Confession of Faith (the Larger and shorter Catechisms). These are referred to in Article 4 of our constitution. To us, a confession is a statement of our belief in the essential religious doctrine. To confess means to affirm, declare and acknowledge what one believes is true.
The Apostles’ Creed is the earliest extra-biblical Christian confessional document and it has stood the test of time as the preeminent testament to creedal orthodoxy. Sincere recitation of the creed requires faith in the God who has accomplished these great things and belief that these great things were accomplished. On Easter Sunday, let we affirm what we believe is true:
We 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 at the right hand of God the Father Almighty;
from which he will come to judge the living and the dead.
We 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.
According to Jared Wilson, the creed is a narrative of the gospel story and he shares that it begins with the one true God, who is self-sufficient and needful of nothing, creating the universe. It then goes on to detail the incarnation of God in flesh, giving us the historical details of Christ’s birth, life and death. It then it moves on to the next plot point in the grand tale of redemption: the resurrection; then the ascension.
This then explains why the Holy Spirit, who is the third person of the triune Godhead, doesn’t appear until the latter portion of the creed. Confession of the Spirit coincides narratively with the sending of the Spirit at Pentecost after the ascension of Christ. The Spirit empowers the gospel of Christ then to build the church, unite the saints in their spirits and save the lost.
Finally, the creed ends with the new beginning when the dead in Christ are raised incorruptible and the Lord’s return ushers in the eternal joy of the new heavens and the new earth. This is what “the life everlasting” corresponds to – Jesus’ renewing all things, not simply our receiving a ticket to heaven when we die.
This Easter Sunday, may we look at the Apostles’ Creed with renewed eyes, affirming that this creed is a necessary summary of what it means to be a Christian, and at the same time, considering how we can use it to explain the gospel to those who have yet to know our risen Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ.
– Ps Daniel Tan