I Believe In the Resurrection
As we come to the end of the Apostles Creed, the last four lines for the most part are pretty self-explanatory, especially in the light of what we have talked about before. The communion of the saints makes more sense in light of a true understanding of the word catholic. It can be easily understood that we are talking about how the body of Christ interacts together. That we should interact together. Likewise, the forgiveness of sin is something we should be familiar with. Even the life everlasting makes sense. Those that are in Christ will spend eternity with him in the new heaven. But there is a line here that can be confusing. It is the confession that we believe in the resurrection of the body. This can be confusing because far too often it is thought to mean that we are confessing the resurrection of Christ's body.
With anything we read and seek to understand, the context of the thing is essential for understanding. When we are going through the Apostles Creed there is a progression of thought that happens. It starts with God the Father Almighty. It starts at the same place scripture starts with the confession that God is the all-powerful creator of all things both in the heavens above and the earth below. It then proceeds to its largest section, the section on our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. One of the lines in this section contains the confession that we believe that Jesus rose from the dead on the third day. So in the creed, there is already an attestation to the truth of Jesus's resurrection. This is a central point in the gospel. Without the resurrection of Christ, there is no eternal life for anyone for we are still in bondage to sin. When we come to the end of the creed though we again see the idea of resurrection. Is the creed simply repeating itself?
The Body of Christ
There is some repetition in this section in a way. The section is about the church that is established by Christ and indwelt with the Holy Spirit. We confess that we believe in the catholic church, which is the universal church. We confess the communion of the saints, that we are together in our faith. Then we confess that we believe in the resurrection of the body. This is the resurrection of the body of Christ, which is his church. Throughout the New Testament, there are all kinds of references to the church as the body of Christ. For example, 1 Corinthians 12:12-31 goes into detail about the body of Christ. Romans 12:4-5 says:
For as in one body we have many members, and the members do not all have the same function, so we, though many, are one body in Christ, and individually members one of another.
And he (Jesus) is the head of the body, the church. He is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead, that in everything he might be preeminent.
This mystery is that the Gentiles are fellow heirs, members of the same body, and partakers of the promise in Christ Jesus through the gospel.
A Final Word
As we come to a close in our deep dive into the Apostle's creed I hope you know and understand a little more about the depth that is conveyed in this short creed.
I believe in God, the Father almighty, creator of heaven and earth.
I believe in Jesus Christ, his only Son, our Lord, who was conceived by the Holy Spirit and born of the virgin Mary. He suffered under Pontius Pilate, was crucified, died, and was buried; he descended to hell. The third day he rose again from the dead. He ascended to 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.
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. Amen.
*that is, the true Christian church of all times and all places
Contained in this creed are the central points of orthodoxy. That is the central point of what is essential to be confessed by Christians. It contains the gospel message. It contains a high and exalted view of God. It is also a confession of a deep understanding of God's Church. That we are on church and one body. No matter how far apart we are spread by space and time, all those who have come to saving faith in our Lord and Savior Christ Jesus, are a part of one body, the body of Christ. We will be raised again physically on the last day and will get to experience the wonder and majesty of God for eternity. I pray that this short walk through the creed has helped you to understand something a little more and given you the hunger to dive even deeper. Pray with me this week for the church, not just the local church, but the whole church, in every time and place, being thankful for the wonderful blessing that Christ has given to us in his church.
Soli Deo Gloria
(For the Glory of God Alone)