Q31: What do we believe by true faith?
A: Everything taught to us in the gospel. The Apostles’ Creed expresses what we believe in these words: 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, died and was buried. He descended into hell*. The third day he rose again from the dead. He ascended into heaven, and is seated at the right hand of God the Father Almighty; from there he will come to judge the living and the dead. We believe in the Holy Spirit, the holy catholic (universal) church, the communion of saints, the forgiveness of sins, the resurrection of the body, and the life everlasting.
Jude 1:3 “I found it necessary to write appealing to you to contend for the faith that was once for all delivered to the saints.”
The Vertical Truth in Faith – What does this truth mean in my relationship with God?
We believe God is who He said He is. We put our faith in His word – the truth that activates our relationship with God. It is apparent God desires for us to have “faith” in Him in all things, even though we do not understand. Human nature pushes us to require satisfactory evidence before extending trust. Through life’s many seasons, God supplies ample opportunities for our faith to be tested. As we hold onto our faith through tough questions, He strengthens our faith and draws near to us.
- Hebrews 11:6 “and without faith it is impossible to please God, for whoever would draw near to God must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who seek him.”
- Romans 8:24 “Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen.”
- 2 Corinthians 5:7 “For we walk by faith and not by sight”
The Horizontal Truth in Love – What does this truth mean in my relationship with humanity?
As followers (disciples) of Christ, our faith in God should be the foundation of how we relate to all of humanity. Our faith in God, put into action, transforms us to be more like Him and serve as ambassadors of God on this earth.
- John 13:35 “A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this everyone will know you are my disciples.”
- John 14:12 “Truly, truly, I say to you, whoever believes in me will also do the works that I do; and greater works than these will he do, because I am going to the Father.”
Practical Truth in Action – How can I put this truth into action?
In our relationship with God, our view of ourselves and how we relate to the world around us, it is God’s plan that we live by faith and not by sight. This means being obedient to the things God said we should do, even when we don’t understand. It means having the mind and attitude of Christ, through the power of the Holy Spirit, as we relate to the world around us. It also means being aware that we are who God says we are and that we can do the things He says we can do, through His power and for His glory.
- 2 Corinthians 5:17 “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold the new has come.”
- Romans 12:2 “Do not conform to the pattern of this world but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is – his good, pleasing and perfect will.”
- Philippians 2:5-8 “Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus, who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied himself, by taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men. And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross.”
- Philippians 4:8-9 “Finally brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable-if anything is excellent or praiseworthy-think on these things. Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me, put into practice and the God of peace will be with you.”
- Matthew 28:19-20 “Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.”
*The aim of this blog is not to enter the debate of the meaning behind this controversial phrase of the Apostles Creed, that appears to state that Jesus literally “descended into hell”. However, a Zondervan Academic blog gives some insight to possible context of this phrase. The blog’s research found that the original versions of the Creed used in Rome and Africa did not include this phrase. Also Rufinus was the first person to include this phrase in a version the Creed in A.D. 390, and he intended it to communicate that Christ “was buried” or descended into the “grave” rather than “hell”.
(Zondervan Academic Blog, “Did Jesus Really Descend Into Hell?”, April 14, 2017)