The Apostles’ Creed(1)
I believe in God the Father Almighty, creator of heaven and earth.
I believe in Jesus Christ, his only Son, our Lord.
He was conceived by the power of the Holy Spirit and born of the virgin Mary. He suffered under Pontius Pilate, was crucified, died, and was buried. He descended to the dead. On the third day he rose again. He ascended into heaven, and is seated at the right hand of the Father. He will come again to judge the living and the dead. I believe in the Holy Spirit, the holy catholic(2) church, the communion of saints,
the forgiveness of sins, the resurrection of the body, and the life everlasting.
(1) this version produced in 1970 by the International Consultation on English Texts
(2) catholic means general or universal and here denotes all Christians
God the Father
“I believe in God the Father Almighty, Creator of heaven and earth.”
God is the eternal Father of his beloved, preexistent Son who, with the Holy Spirit, are by nature forever one God in three equal persons. The Father is the Creator, Ruler, and Sustainer of all things visible and invisible in the universe. God is spirit but personal, active in the creation and relational with humanity. He is all-powerful, everywhere present, all-knowing, and morally perfect.
God the Son
“I believe in Jesus Christ, his only Son, our Lord. . .”
Jesus Christ is the preexistent, one and only Son of God, very God of very God, of one nature with the Father, humbly embodied as a man through the virgin conception of Mary by the Holy Spirit, fulfilling all the conditions of human nature, yet without sin. He humbled himself in serving, suffering, and a shameless death by crucifixion. God therefore honored him by bodily resurrection and ascension to heaven, and exalted him by subjecting all authority and power to him. Jesus Christ will also bodily return to judge every person and to establish God’s eternal kingdom.
God the Holy Spirit
“I believe in the Holy Spirit,”
The Holy Spirit is one of the three equal persons of the one Godhead and has all the attributes of full deity and complete personhood. He comforts, indwells, empowers, sanctifies, and teaches believers. He endows them with various supernatural gifts for ministry, enables prayer, and convicts persons of the nature of sin, righteousness and judgment.
“the holy catholic church, the communion of saints.”
The Church is the worldwide company of Christ’s followers called out of sin by God to love and serve him. By nature it is an interdependent fellowship, marked by the mutual love and unity of its members. The Church transcends all denominational distinctions. It is the spiritual body¹ of Christ who alone is its head and chief elder and into whose image it is being conformed.
“the forgiveness of sins,”
By grace God confers forgiveness, fellowship, and eternal life to everyone who in repentance from sin believes in Jesus Christ. Obedience to Christ as Lord for good works is a corollary and consequence, not the foundation, of one’s salvation.
“the resurrection of the body and the life everlasting.”
Eternal life is the privilege and duration of relationship with the one God in three persons. It begins with faith in Christ and is completed with the resurrection of the body in the presence of God and his people in the new heaven and earth.
The Apostles’ Creed is derived from the witness of Scripture to Jesus Christ. With the Holy Spirit as its ultimate author in collaboration with human writers, Scripture is divinely inspired and has been faithfully transmitted. It has nothing counterfeit or erroneous, and is commended for honor, obedience, righteousness and salvation.
Man and woman were created in the image of God with the capacity for relationship, exercising dominion in the earth, and of free will to obey him. But all have sinned and become estranged from God and each other. Our physical and spiritual natures are corrupted by sin and subject to death and eternal separation from God. By faith in Christ, God reverses the curse of sin and reconciles persons to Him and others.
“In essentials unity, in non-essentials liberty, and in all things love.” Consensus among Christians to the centrality of Jesus Christ is essential to our identity and mission. Essential matters relate to Christ and our salvation according to the consensus of the historic Church. In all other matters of disagreement among Christians, we must always be one in love, witness, and worship.