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;
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 universal church,
the communion of saints,
the forgiveness of sins,
the resurrection of the body,
and the life everlasting. Amen.
The gracious work of God the Holy Spirit includes giving new insight and a new heart. The Holy Spirit indwells a Christian to give power to believe and obey. The Holy Spirit seals the believer and guarantees her entrance into God’s presence. Still there is more.
The Holy Spirit also creates and sustains the church. The prophet Joel predicted a day when God would pour out his Spirit on all segments of society and on people from every nation (Joel 2:28-29). Jesus promised that after his resurrection he would send the Holy Spirit (John 16:7-9; Luke 24:49, Acts 1:8). In Acts 2, on the day of Pentecost, the Holy Spirit came visibly upon the small church and Peter announced that the fulfillment of Joel 2 was now beginning. This was the birth of the church. The Apostle Paul speaks of the church and its unity in terms of a temple, a family, and a living body (Ephesians 2:17-3:10). The purpose of the church as ‘the body of Christ’ is to represent Christ to the world.
We use the word church in two important ways. First, it refers to all believers in Christ. Second, it refers to a local gathering of believers who have committed to serve God and each other. The Apostle’s creed focuses on the first. It is called the holy universal church. Older forms of the creed used ‘catholic’ which also means universal. If you have trusted Christ, you have been included in a fellowship, family, temple, body with all believers wherever they may be. Jesus doesn’t have many families that fight and quarrel and do their own thing. He has one family that does His will. He is head of the church. Christians seek to live in that reality while doing his work in a local church.
Whoever has saving faith that aligns with the message of the gospel, is a brother or sister in Christ. The Apostle’s creed calls this the communion of saints. You have undoubtedly experienced this when you meet someone while on vacation, or in a different part of town. As you talk, you come to see that they are Christians. There is immediately a natural bond and a shared world view. The communion of saints refers to the dynamic relationship between Christians in which we love, encourage, serve, challenge, and care for each other. It is one of the great joyful realities of Christianity.