Devotional Word for Friday, October 16, 2020
On Monday, we looked at the faith that individuals must have to gain any benefit from the Lord Jesus as Mediator and Redeemer. Today, we are going to continue that discussion. Have you ever considered what exactly you have to believe? Think about it. Throughout the history of the Church, there have been many groups that arise and fall. Not everyone believes the same things. Even in our day we see a rise of denominations and various groups of churches. How do we evaluate which are right and which are wrong? First and foremost, we must hold our own beliefs (and the beliefs of everyone who calls themselves Christian) against the Scriptures. The Old and New Testaments are to be the final judge in our understanding of the Lord.
Even as we recognize that we are to believe in the Scriptures as God’s self-revelation, we need note that we are often wrong in our understanding of the Scriptures. How then shall we evaluate our ideas of faith. Let me try to present this in a different way. We as Christians know that there is no amount of righteousness that we can have in our thoughts, words, and deeds which will make us righteous. In short we are wholly dependent upon the work of Christ. What then do I have to believe in order to be saved? What if I get something wrong? What if I do not know something? Do we as a church believe that there is a base level of information that you are required to know and required to believe in order to be saved? Heidelberg Catechism Question and Answer 22 discusses this when it asks, “What, then, must a Christian believe?” The answer says, “All that is promised us in the gospel, a summary of which is taught us in the articles of the Apostles’ Creed, our universally acknowledged confession of faith.”
In short, the Heidelberg Catechism is saying that the basics of faith which are summarized in the Apostles’ Creed serve as a foundation for faith. If we were to attempt to have a basic summary of knowledge and faith, that would be the start. Because the Apostles’ Creed is such a good short summary of Christian faith, we recite the Creed as a confession of faith nearly every Sunday at Leidy’s Church. In case you are not aware of the Apostles’ Creed or its contents, it is the answer to question 23 and it says, “I believe in God the Father Almighty, Maker of heaven and earth; and in Jesus Christ, His only-begotten 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 hell; 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 there He shall come to judge the living 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.”
Over the next 15 weeks we are going to spend some time working through the Apostles’ Creed. As we look at the various sections we need to remember that this statement of faith has been around for many centuries and has helped the church through the ages sort through a basic understanding of Christian faith and what is required of man. As we think of it, we should not respond by thinking it is stuffy old paragraph of things you have to agree to. Instead, it is a wonderful tool which has explained the basic of Christian faith and we should give thanks for its help in our lives and through the ages. Let us pray.