The second part of the Creed lists a number of Biblical truths about Jesus Christ.
i] God's Son. This doesn't mean that God the Father had a wife and Jesus is their Son. Jesus has always been with the Father. He is eternally God, of the same substance with the Father, intimately united to the other person's of the trinity. The Nicene Creed defines God's Son as "of the same being as God the Father."
ii] Lord. He is our master, our God, our all.
iii] Conceived by the Holy Spirit. Jesus did not have a human father. His conception was spiritual, from God. He came from heaven and took upon himself human form, being born as a human child.
iv] Born of Mary. Although Jesus didn't have a natural human father, Mary was his natural mother.
v] Suffered under Pilate. Pilate was the Roman governor who sentenced Jesus to death.
vi] Crucified, dead and buried. Jesus died as a common criminal and was buried.
vii] Descended to the dead (into hell). This just means that Jesus joined the dead in the ground at the cemetery. He truly died. It does not mean he went to some place of torment.
viii] Rose from the dead. On the Sunday morning, the followers of Jesus found the tomb empty and during that day saw Jesus alive.
ix] Ascended into heaven. Some weeks after his resurrection, Jesus left his disciples and went back to heaven, Acts 1:6-11.
x] Seated at God's right hand. Jesus now rules, bringing all things under his control.
xi] Will come to judge the living and the dead. One day Jesus will return to earth. In that day he will bring an end to all things and judge all humanity. Only those who have put their trust in Jesus will share eternity with him.
Secondly, I learn to believe in God the Son, who has redeemed me and the whole human race.
The phrase "God the Son" defines the second person of the trinity. Sometimes, when the Bible uses the phrase "Son of God", it is simply referring to Jesus as the special person sent by God to gather a group of people to be with him for eternity. The Bible word for this person is "Messiah". There were many other names given this person such as: the Christ, the Branch, the anointed one, son of David, Son of Man..... Yet, at other times the phrase "Son of God" is used with a far deeper meaning. It is used to link Jesus to the Father and is therefore letting us into a great mystery - Jesus is God.
God the Father actually used the phrase himself. At Jesus' baptism, Matthew 3:17, Mark 1:11, Luke 3:22, and at his transfiguration, Luke 9:35, God's voice was heard saying of Jesus Christ, "This is my beloved Son". Jesus Christ himself claimed to be the Son of God, John 10:36. He also claimed to be without sin, and his life story proved this to be so. Yes indeed, Jesus is God.
To "redeem", means to "buy back", as slaves are bought back, or redeemed from the bondage of their slavery and set free. In the same way, God the Son has redeemed or bought us back. What has he redeemed us from? In what sense are we slaves? The Bible tells us that we are redeemed from the slavery of sin and death - freed from the curse of sin, which is death.
As already pointed out in the notes, sin is one of those words we get confused with. Some wrongly think that sin just means having sex outside of marriage. In its simplest form, sin is ignoring God, either intentionally or unintentionally. We just do our own thing and forget about God, and when we do that we turn our back on the source of life itself. "The soul that sins, it shall die", Ezekiel 18:4. Humanity sinned (we read the story in Genesis 3), and the image, or likeness, of God in us was spoilt and marred, with death the inevitable end. This death was both physical (humanity faced corruption), and spiritual (we were now dead to God - no longer his friend).
It is a very real fact, and is true of the whole human race, that "all have sinned and come short of the glory of God", Romans 3:23. It is equally true, however, that God, in his great love, has provided a means of recreating or restoring and saving humanity from the curse of sin and its inevitable result, death.
All through the Old Testament we find God's children looking towards the coming of the Messiah, the one who would save his people, Isaiah 53. Only God could do this and he did it by coming to earth as our Redeemer. Jesus Christ is the redeemer of the whole human race, Galatians 4:4,5.
This rescuing, or saving, of humanity from the guilt of sin by the death of Jesus Christ, is known as "the Redemption". It is also spoken of in the Bible as reconciliation, atonement, and justification. Reconciliation and atonement give the idea of a person restored to the position of a son or daughter in their father's home, after having willfully gone from it, Luke 15:11-24. Justification expresses the thought that, because of the death of Christ, a person who recognizes their sin and turns to Jesus for help, is justified, or considered as right in God's sight. It's just-if-I'd never sinned. God does not look on the repentant sinner's guilt; He looks upon Christ's righteousness instead. The sinner who identifies self with Christ and all that he stands for, is regarded by God as perfect. When we hold onto Jesus, God no longer sees us the way we are, he sees us the way Jesus is. Through Jesus our Saviour a right relationship with God is restored.
All these terms, or words, mean one and the same thing - that the crucifixion of Jesus Christ has gained the forgiveness of God for those who believe. Death is the penalty, or price of sin. Christ died, and by his death the penalty was paid once and for all. Now God's forgiveness is for all. The Father's arms are open; He is waiting to forgive.
There is one condition for salvation, one rule or law we must obey. We often believe that to become a friend of God we must obey many laws. I remember in Sunday School being taught that "Jesus loves good little boys and girls", but the truth is he loves little boys and girls who want to be his friend, but can't because they know they're bad. So, what is the one law we must obey?
The sinner must come to God and ask for forgiveness. We must trust in Jesus that he is able to do as he has promised - gain our forgiveness in the sight of God. Both the Old and New Testament teaches that God hates sin, and that sin separates us from God. If, therefore, we are willfully doing what God hates, we are like the prodigal son in Jesus' parable, Luke 15:11-24. His father's forgiveness was waiting for him, but he could not have it while he stayed away and was separated from his father.
God's forgiveness is waiting for each one of us. When we come to Jesus and ask for forgiveness, the Father's forgiveness is ours, 1 John 1:9.
Not only are we forgiven, but through Jesus, we have the hope of heaven. By his resurrection and ascension, Jesus gained the victory over death, and now the gate of everlasting life is open to us. When we say in the Creed: "I believe in Jesus Christ", we are also able to say through him, "I believe in the forgiveness of sins, the resurrection of the body, and the life everlasting".
The Bible records, as historical fact, that the tomb was empty on the Sunday morning after Jesus' crucifixion, John 20:19-29. His apostles and many others knew for certain that he was alive, 1 Corinthians 15:3-8, Romans 1:4, Acts 2:22-24, 32-36. If Jesus didn't rise from the dead then our faith is worthless. So, the most profound symbol of the Christian faith is an empty tomb.
Some have suggested that the Jews stole the body, or the disciples stole the body, or the women and later the apostles got the tomb mixed up and went back to the wrong one, or that Jesus' resurrection just developed as a myth over the centuries. There are many theories. All history leads up to his birth, and all that came after, is dated from it. The church of today is founded on his resurrection. Countless men and women have given their very lives for Jesus, from the first century until now. They didn't do it for a dead Messiah, but for a living Lord.
When we tell of the good news (gospel) about Jesus we speak about his resurrection. This is the message we carry out into the world. Jesus is alive and because he lives we can live also. Any person who turns to Jesus and accepts him as their Lord and Saviour shares in his resurrection life - they move from death to life, new life, eternal life.
Revise the Apostles' Creed and continue to learn the Ten Commandments.
Almighty Father, who gave your only Son Jesus Christ to die for our sins that we might be forgiven, and raised him to life again that we might share in the hope of heaven: Give us grace that we may be always truly thankful for these great benefits: through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.