The Good News
From the very beginning of the New Testament Church, the joy of the children of God has been in the gospel. The glorious good news teaches us of God's love and grace toward rebellious sinners. The gospel "is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes, to the Jew first and also to the Greek." (Romans 1:16). The gospel is the glorious message of our savior's work. Unfortunately, many who call themselves Christians think that this is a message that is only useful or necessary for becoming a Christian. Is this you right now? Have you thought that the gospel is a message for the unsaved only? If it is I want to encourage you to remember the gospel every day.
Confessing the Gospel
Throughout the history of the church, Christians have seen the need to confess the gospel their whole life. They have taken Paul's admonishment to Timothy seriously. If anyone in the history of the church was to think that they had moved beyond the need for the gospel it would be Paul. But that is not what we see. At the end of his life, as he writes his final letter to Timothy he reminds him, "Remember Jesus Christ, risen from the dead, the offspring of David, as preached in my gospel." (2 Timothy 2:8). Timothy had been disciplined by Paul himself, as the leader of the church in Ephesus, he was in charge of appointing Elders of the church. Surely he did not need to be reminded of the gospel. But that is not what we see in scripture. We see that the gospel is something we are to be constantly remembering.
The Churches Confession
One of the ways that the church has done this throughout its history is to come and confess this message together. From the beginning of the early second century all the way up to today, Christians around the world have confessed what is known as the Apostles Creed. It reads;
I 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 Ghost, born of the Virgin Mary, suffered under Pontius Pilate, was crucified, dead, and buried. He descended into hell. The third day he rose again from the dead. He ascended into heaven, and sitteth on the right hand of God the Father almighty. From thence he shall come to judge the quick and the dead. I believe in the Holy Ghost, the holy catholic Church*, the communion of saints, the forgiveness of sins, the resurrection of the body, and the life everlasting. Amen.
There are parts of this that many stumble over today, but I do not want you to.
The first place that you might stumble is when the creed says that "He descended into hell." It is easiest to start with what is not being said here. What is not being said is that Jesus descended into the place prepared by God for the punishment of the devil and all his angels. What it is saying is that Christ truly died. He was fully man and fully God. God cannot die, but in his human nature, he was fully dead. This is what the confession is attesting to. The second place that might cause you to stumble is the word catholic. It even has an asterisk to highlight it. What is not being said here is that everyone who confesses this believes in the Roman Catholic Church. The word catholic, notice that it is a lower case "c" means universal. What is being confessed here is that Christians believe in the Church of Jesus Christ. This church is not limited to one building but the true church exists in every place the gospel is faithfully believed and peached.
This week as you go throughout your day. Remember the gospel. If you are a Christian, remember how you were dead in your sin. Remember the state of despair that you were in before the light of the gospel came into your life. Remember the birth of our Lord. He was born of a virgin. That he was born the son of David. Remember that he lived a life completely without sin. He lived a life that fulfilled the prophecies of the Old Testament. He died a sinner's death. He died the death that you and I deserved for our sin. After three days he rose from the dead. He ascended in power and glory to sit at the right hand of the Father, and most gloriously he will come again. He will come to punish all the guilty and to call his children home.
This week remember this gospel, there is no other, but also think through the Apostle's Creed. What does it mean to confess the gospel and the Lordship of Christ? They are one and the same. To confess the gospel is to confess that Christ is Lord. Think over these things this week. Christian be comforted by your first love. Be comforted in the good news, that Jesus is LORD.
Soli Deo Gloria.