Recently, an organisation asked me to submit my personal statement of beliefs, not a copy-and-pasted version from a website. After reading the Nicene and Apostles’ creeds, I sent a very slightly abridged version of the following:
I believe in God. Not in just any god, a byword to which people attach whatever attributes they choose, but in one God- the Creator God who invites us to call Him “Father”.
I believe in Jesus Christ, His only Son. He’s not a part of creation, but God Himself. He collaborated with the Father at each step of creation and His fingerprints are on everything we see and don’t see.
On the sixth day God unveiled His magnum opus: mankind. Man and woman, not created out of necessity, but love. They were the only creations given the privilege of belonging to the Creator’s own family.
But man and woman thought God was holding out on them, so they staged a coup and declared independence. They gained the freedom to rule themselves but didn’t realise what it would cost. They gambled everything on a piece of fruit and lost. Disowning their Father, the only inheritance they could offer their children was an unpayable debt.
But God had a plan.
He wanted to reconcile the family. He knew that it mightn’t work, that they could still choose independence and exile, but He wanted to offer them (us, you and me) a way back into love and legitimacy.
It wouldn’t come cheap.
Jesus would have to enter enemy territory- all of His Godliness shrink-wrapped in human flesh- and live as one of us, fully human.
As Judge, He upheld the legal verdict against us. Then He stood up, took off His robes, stepped into the dock, and took the sentence- death- in our place. He settled the debt.
And so Jesus suffered.
He was crucified and He died.
But Death had no legal right to Him and spat Him back out. His authority over death and life was proven beyond measure forever! His credentials checked out, He had verified His right to rule earth and everything in it.
He could have forced every knee to bow to Him right there and then, every tongue to swear allegiance to Him. He had the right. But He didn’t.
Instead, He got down on one knee and invited us to a life of love: not as slaves but as friends, as family, as His bride. Everyone is invited but the offer is for a limited time only.
Jesus remains the only One who ever went to hell and back to make a way for the condemned to be pardoned. And not only pardoned but embraced.
He went back to sit at the Father’s right hand in heaven, leaving us with the promise that He’ll come back. And He will come back, this time as Judge, signalling the end of His offer and the beginning of balancing the accounts.
He will examine every defendant, dead and alive. He will hear every case, carefully checking to see how each person responded to His proposal. He will in no way interfere with anyone’s decision. He will come back as Bridegroom, to claim His bride.
I believe in the Holy Spirit, third person of the Trinity. He spoke through the Law, the Prophets, the Poets, the Gospel-writers: telling the whole story of God’s interaction with mankind. He rested upon the Old Testament saints, filled Jesus at baptism, filled the disciples at Pentecost, and makes His home in us, the Redeemed.
He was given to us as a token of God’s affection, but He is much more than a token! He is God Himself living in us, guiding us, comforting us, tenderly reminding us that the best is yet to come.
I believe in the Church, the united Bride of Christ. There is no value in playing the lone ranger. We were created for God and for each other, mutually dependent and glorious.
I believe in Baptism, the outward expression of the inward confession that we have turned from the seduction of sin to please the One who loved us when we were least lovable.
The more we look to Him, the more we desire to become like Him and to please Him. Together, the Church is getting herself ready for the Groom’s return.
In The End
I believe that everyone will rise from the dead, body and soul, each to receive the consequences of our confession. Some will rise to enjoy the wedding feast they eagerly desired in life, the rest will rise, not to unending, unfeeling, unknowing unconsciousness but to an existence devoid of the love, life, and meaning that is only found in union with God.
I have said “yes”. This is my confession.