The Explanation of the Apostles Creed...

The Structure of the Apostles Creed.  
24.    How are these articles divided?

Into three parts: the first is of God the Father and our creation; the second, of God the Son and our redemption; the third, of God the Holy Spirit and our sanctification.1

[1] 1 Pet. 1:2; *1 Jn. 5:7.

25.    Since there is but one Divine Being,1 why do you speak of three persons: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit?

Because God has so revealed Himself in His Word,2 that these three distinct persons are the one, true, eternal God.

[1] Deut. 6:4. [2] Isa. 61:1; Ps. 110:1; Matt. 3:16–17; 28:19; 1 Jn. 5:7; *2 Cor. 13:14.


"I believe in GOD THE FATHER Almighty, 
Maker of heaven and earth."

GOD THE FATHER

26.    What do you believe when you say, “I believe in God the Father Almighty, Maker of heaven and earth”?

That the eternal Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who of nothing made heaven and earth with all that is in them,1 who likewise upholds, and governs them by His eternal counsel and providence,2 is for the sake of Christ, His Son, my God and my Father,3 in whom I so trust as to have no doubt that He will provide me with all things necessary for body and soul;4 and further, that whatever evil He sends upon me in this valley of tears, He will turn to my good;5 for He is able to do it, being Almighty God,6 and willing also, being a faithful Father.7

[1] Gen. 1:31; Ps. 33:6; *Col. 1:16; *Heb. 11:3. [2] Ps. 104:2–5; Matt. 10:30; Heb. 1:3; Ps. 115:3; *Acts 17:24–25. [3] Jn. 1:12; Rom. 8:15; Gal. 4:5–7; Eph. 1:5; *Eph. 3:14–16; *Matt. 6:8. [4] Ps. 55:22; Matt. 6:25–26; Lk. 12:22–24; Ps. 90:1–2. [5] Rom. 8:28; *Acts 17:27–28. [6] Rom. 10:12. [7] Matt. 7:9–11; *Num. 23:19.

27.    What do you understand by the providence of God?

The almighty, everywhere-present power of God,1 whereby, as it were by His hand, He still upholds heaven and earth with all creatures,2 and so governs them that herbs and grass, rain and drought, fruitful and barren years, meat and drink,3 health and sickness,4 riches and poverty,5 indeed, all things come not by chance, but by His fatherly hand.

[1] Acts 17:25–26. [2] Heb. 1:3. [3] Jer. 5:24; *Acts 14:17. [4] Jn. 9:3. [5] Prov. 22:2; *Ps. 103:19; Rom. 5:3–5a.

28.    What does it profit us to know that God created, and by His providence upholds, all things?

That we may be patient in adversity,1 thankful in prosperity,2 and for what is future have good confidence in our faithful God and Father, that no creature shall separate us from His love,3 since all creatures are so in His hand, that without His will they cannot so much as move.4

 [1] Rom. 5:3; Jas. 1:3; Job 1:21. [2] Deut. 8:10; 1 Thess. 5:18. [3] Rom. 8:35, 38–39. [4] Job 1:12; Acts 17:25-28; Prov. 21:1; *Ps. 71:7; *2 Cor. 1:10.


"And in JESUS CHRIST, 
His only-begotten Son, our Lord:"

GOD THE SON
29.    Why is the Son of God called Jesus,” that is, Savior?

Because He saves us from all our sins,1 and because salvation is not to be sought or found in any other.2

[1] Matt. 1:21; Heb. 7:25. [2] Acts 4:12; *Lk. 2:10–11.

30.    Do those also believe in the only Savior Jesus, who seek their salvation and welfare from “saints,” themselves, or anywhere else?

No; although they make their boast of Him, yet in their deeds they deny the only Savior Jesus;1 for either Jesus is not a complete Savior, or they who by true faith receive this Savior, must have in Him all that is necessary to their salvation.2

[1] 1 Cor. 1:13, 30–31; Gal. 5:4. [2] Isa. 9:7; Col. 1:20; 2:10; Jn. 1:16; *Matt. 23:28.

31.    Why is He called “Christ,” that is, Anointed?

Because He is ordained of God the Father and anointed with the Holy Spirit1 to be our chief Prophet and Teacher,2 who has fully revealed to us the secret counsel and will of God concerning our redemption;3 and our only High Priest,4 who by the one sacrifice of His body, has redeemed us, and ever lives to make intercession for us with the Father;5 and our eternal King, who governs us by His Word and Spirit, and defends and preserves us in the redemption obtained for us.6

 [1] Heb. 1:9. [2] Deut. 18:15; Acts 3:22. [3] Jn. 1:18; 15:15. [4] Ps. 110:4; Heb. 7:21. [5] Rom. 5:9–10. [6] Ps. 2:6; Lk. 1:33; Matt. 28:18; *Isa. 61:1–2; *1 Pet. 2:24; *Rev. 19:16.

32.    But why are you called a Christian?

Because by faith I am a member of Christ1 and thus a partaker of His anointing,2 in order that I also may confess His Name,3 may present myself a living sacrifice of thankfulness to Him,4 and with a free conscience may fight against sin and the devil in this life,5 and hereafter in eternity reign with Him over all creatures.6

[1] Acts 11:26; 1 Jn. 2:27; *1 Jn. 2:20. [2] Acts 2:17. [3] Mk. 8:38. [4] Rom. 12:1; Rev. 5:8, 10; 1 Pet. 2:9; Rev. 1:6. [5] 1 Tim. 1:18–19. [6] 2 Tim. 2:12; *Eph. 6:12; *Rev. 3:21.


33.    Why is He called God’s “only begotten Son,” since we also are the children of God?

  Because Christ alone is the eternal, natural Son of God,1 but we are children of God by adoption, through grace, for His sake.2


[1] Jn. 1:14, 18. [2] Rom. 8:15–17; Eph. 1:5–6; *1 Jn. 3:1.


34.    Why do you call Him “our Lord”?


Because not with silver or gold, but with His precious blood, He has redeemed and purchased us, body and soul, from sin and from all the power of the devil, to be His own.1


[1] 1 Pet. 1:18–19; 2:9; 1 Cor. 6:20; 7:23; *Acts 2:36; *Tit. 2:14; *Col. 1:14.


 
"who was conceived by the Holy Spirit,
born of the virgin Mary,"


35.    What is the meaning of “conceived by the Holy Spirit, born of the virgin Mary?”

That the eternal Son of God, who is1 and continues true and eternal God,2 took upon Himself the very nature of man, of the flesh and blood of the virgin Mary,3 by the operation of the Holy Spirit;4 so that He might also be the true seed of David,5 like unto His brethren in all things,6 except for sin.7

[1] Jn. 1:1; Rom. 1:3–4. [2] Rom. 9:5. [3] Gal. 4:4; Jn. 1:14. [4] Matt. 1:18–20; Lk. 1:35. [5] Ps. 132:11. [6] Phil. 2:7. [7] Heb. 4:15; *1 Jn. 5:20.

​36.    What benefit do you receive from the holy conception and birth of Christ?

That He is our Mediator,1 and with His innocence and perfect holiness covers, in the sight of God, my sin, wherein I was conceived.2

[1] Heb. 2:16–17. [2] Ps. 32:1; *1 Jn. 1:9.


 
"suffered under Pontius Pilate,
was crucified, dead, and buried;
He descended into hell;

37.    What do you understand by the word “suffered”?

That all the time He lived on earth, but especially at the end of His life, He bore, in body and soul, the wrath of God against the sin of the whole human race;1 in order that by His suffering, as the only atoning sacrifice,2 He might redeem our body and soul from everlasting damnation, and obtain for us the grace of God, righteousness, and eternal life.

[1] 1 Pet. 2:24; Isa. 53:12. [2] 1 Jn. 2:2; 4:10; Rom. 3:25–26; *Ps. 22:14–16; *Matt. 26:38; *Rom. 5:6.

38.    Why did He suffer “under Pontius Pilate” as judge?

That He, being innocent, might be condemned by the temporal judge,1 and thereby deliver us from the severe judgment of God, to which we were exposed.2

[1] Acts 4:27–28; Lk. 23:13–15; Jn. 19:4. [2] Ps. 69:4; 2 Cor. 5:21; *Matt. 27:24.

39.    Is there anything more in His having been “crucified” than if He had suffered some other death?

Yes, for thereby I am assured that He took upon Himself the curse which lay upon me,1 because the death of the cross was accursed of God.2

[1] Gal. 3:13–14. [2] Deut. 21:22–23; *Phil. 2:8.

40.    Why was it necessary for Christ to suffer “death”?

Because the justice and truth1 of God required that satisfaction for our sins could be made in no other way than by the death of the Son of God.2

[1] Gen. 2:17. [2] Heb. 2:9; *Rom. 6:23.

41.    Why was He “buried”?

To show thereby that He was really dead.1

[1] Matt. 27:59–60; Jn. 19:38–42; Acts 13:29.

42.    Since, then, Christ died for us, why must we also die?

Our death is not a satisfaction for our sin, but only a dying to sin and an entering into eternal life.1

[1] Jn. 5:24; Phil. 1:23; Rom. 7:24–25.

43.    What further benefit do we receive from the sacrifice and death of Christ on the cross?

That by His power our old man is with Him crucified, slain, and buried;1 so that the evil lusts of the flesh may no more reign in us,2 but that we may offer ourselves unto Him a sacrifice of thanksgiving.3

[1] Rom. 6:6–8; Col. 2:12. [2] Rom. 6:12. [3] Rom. 12:1; *2 Cor. 5:15.

44.    Why is it added: “He descended into hell”?

That in my greatest temptations I may be assured that Christ my Lord, by His inexpressible anguish, pains, and terrors, which He suffered in His soul on the cross and before, has redeemed me from the anguish and torment of hell.1

[1] Isa. 53:10; Matt. 27:46; *Ps. 18:5; 116:3.
 
"the third day He rose from the dead;
He ascended into heaven,"

45.    What benefit do we receive from the “resurrection” of Christ?

First, by His resurrection He has overcome death, that He might make us partakers of the righteousness which He has obtained for us by His death.1 Second, by His power we are also now raised up to a new life.2 Third, the resurrection of Christ is to us a sure pledge of our blessed resurrection.3

[1] 1 Cor. 15:15,17, 54–55. Rom. 4:25; 1 Pet. 1:3–4, 21. [2] Rom. 6:4; Col. 3:1–4; Eph. 2:5. [3] 1 Cor. 15:12; Rom. 8:11; *1 Cor. 15:20–21.

46.    What do you understand by the words “He ascended into heaven”?

That Christ, in the sight of His disciples, was taken up from the earth into heaven,1 and continues there in our behalf until He shall come again to judge the living and the dead.3

[1] Acts 1:9; Matt. 26:64; Mk. 16:19; Lk. 24:51. [2] Heb. 4:14; 7:24–25; 9:11; Rom. 8:34. Eph. 4:10. [3] Acts 1:11; Matt. 24:30; *Acts 3:20–21.

47.    But is not Christ with us even unto the end of the world, as He has promised?1

Christ is true man and true God. According to His human nature He is now not on earth,2 but according to His Godhead, majesty, grace, and Spirit, He is at no time absent from us.3

[1] Matt. 28:20. [2] Matt. 26:11; Jn. 16:28; 17:11. [3] Jn. 14:17–18; 16:13; Eph. 4:8; Matt. 18:20; *Heb. 8:4.

48.    But are not, in this way, the two natures in Christ separated from one another, if the manhood is not wherever the Godhead is?

Not at all, for since the Godhead is incomprehensible and everywhere present,1 it must follow that the same is not limited with the human nature He assumed, and yet remains personally united to it.2

[1] Acts 7:49; Jer. 23:24. [2] Col. 2:9; Jn. 3:13; 11:15; Matt. 28:6; *Jn. 1:48.

49.    What benefit do we receive from Christ’s ascension into heaven?

First, that He is our Advocate in the presence of His Father in heaven.1 Second, that we have our flesh in heaven as a sure pledge, that He as the Head, will also take us, His members, up to Himself.2 Third, that He sends us His Spirit as an earnest,3 by whose power we seek those things which are above, where Christ sits at the right hand of God, and not things on the earth.4

[1] 1 Jn. 2:1; Rom. 8:34. [2] Jn. 14:2; 20:17; Eph. 2:6. [3] Jn. 14:16; Acts 2:33; 2 Cor. 5:5. [4] Col. 3:1; *Jn. 14:3; *Heb. 9:24.

 
"and sits at the right hand of 
God the Father Almighty;

from there He shall come to judge 
the living and the dead."

50.    Why is it added: “And sits at the right hand of God”?

Because Christ ascended into heaven for this end, that He might there appear as the Head of His Church,1 by whom the Father governs all things.2

[1] Eph. 1:20–23; Col. 1:18. [2] Jn. 5:22; *1 Pet. 3:22; *Ps. 110:1.

51.    What does this glory of Christ, our Head, profit us?

First, that by His Holy Spirit He pours out heavenly gifts upon us, His members;1 then, that by His power He defends and preserves us against all enemies.2


[1] Eph. 4:10–12. [2] Ps. 2:9; Jn. 10:28–30; *1 Cor. 15:25–26; *Acts 2:33.


52.    What comfort is it to you that Christ “shall come to judge the living and the dead”?


That in all my sorrows and persecutions, I, with uplifted head, look for the very One who offered Himself for me to the judgment of God, and removed all curse from me, to come as Judge from heaven,1 who shall cast all His and my enemies into everlasting condemnation,2 but shall take me with all His chosen ones to Himself into heavenly joy and glory.3


[1] Lk. 21:28; Rom. 8:23–24; Phil. 3:20–21; Tit. 2:13. [2] 2 Thess. 1:6, 10; 1 Thess. 4:16–18; Matt. 25:41. [3] *Acts 1:10–11; *Heb. 9:28.


52.    What comfort is it to you that Christ “shall come to judge the living and the dead”?

That in all my sorrows and persecutions, I, with uplifted head, look for the very One who offered Himself for me to the judgment of God, and removed all curse from me, to come as Judge from heaven,1 who shall cast all His and my enemies into everlasting condemnation,2 but shall take me with all His chosen ones to Himself into heavenly joy and glory.3

[1] Lk. 21:28; Rom. 8:23–24; Phil. 3:20–21; Tit. 2:13. [2] 2 Thess. 1:6, 10; 1 Thess. 4:16–18; Matt. 25:41. [3] *Acts 1:10–11; *Heb. 9:28.
 
"I believe in the HOLY SPIRIT,
the holy, catholic Church, 
the communion of saints,"

GOD THE HOLY SPIRIT
53.    What do you believe concerning the “Holy Spirit"?

First, that He is co-eternal God with the Father and the Son.1 Second, that He is also given unto me:2 by true faith makes me a partaker of Christ and all His benefits,3 comforts me,4 and shall abide with me forever.5

[1] Gen. 1:2; Isa. 48:16; 1 Cor. 3:16; 6:19; Acts 5:3–4. [2] Matt. 28:19; 2 Cor. 1:21–22. [3] 1 Pet. 1:2; 1 Cor. 6:17. [4] Acts 9:31. [5] Jn. 14:16; 1 Pet. 4:14; *1 Jn. 4:13; *Rom. 15:13.

54.    What do you believe concerning the “holy, catholic Church”?

That out of the whole human race,1 from the beginning to the end of the world,2 the Son of God,3 by His Spirit and Word,4 gathers, defends, and preserves for Himself unto everlasting life a chosen communion5 in the unity of the true faith;6 and that I am and forever shall remain a living member of this communion.7

[1] Gen. 26:4. [2] Jn. 10:10. [3] Eph. 1:10–13. [4] Rom. 1:16; Isa. 59:21; Rom. 10:14–17; Eph. 5:26. [5] Rom. 8:29–30; Matt. 16:18; Eph. 4:3–6. [6] Acts 2:46; Ps. 71:18; 1 Cor. 11:26; Jn. 10:28–30; 1 Cor. 1:8–9. [7] 1 Jn. 3:21; 1 Jn. 2:19; *Gal. 3:28.

55.    What do you understand by the “communion of saints”?

First, that believers, one and all, as members of the Lord Jesus Christ, are partakers with Him in all His treasures and gifts;1 second, that each one must feel himself bound to use his gifts readily and cheerfully for the advantage and welfare of other members.2

[1] 1 Jn. 1:3. [2] 1 Cor. 12:12–13, 21; 13:5–6; Phil. 2:4–6; *Heb. 3:14.

"the forgiveness of sins,
the resurrection of the body,
and the life everlasting.  Amen."


56.    What do you believe concerning the “forgiveness of sins”?

That God, for the sake of Christ’s satisfaction,1 will no more remember my sins, nor the sinful nature with which I have to struggle all my life long;2 but graciously imputes to me the righteousness of Christ, that I may nevermore come into condemnation.3

[1] 1 Jn. 2:2. [2] 2 Cor. 5:19, 21; Rom. 7:24–25; Ps. 103:3, 10–12; Jer. 31:34; Rom. 8:1–4. [3] Jn. 3:18; *Eph. 1:7; *Rom. 4:7–8; 7:18.

57.    What comfort do you receive from the “resurrection of the body”?

That not only my soul after this life shall be immediately taken up to Christ its Head,1 but also that this my body, raised by the power of Christ, shall be reunited with my soul, and made like the glorious body of Christ.2

[1] Lk. 23:43; Phil. 1:21–23. [2] 1 Cor. 15:53–54; Job 19:25–27; 1 Jn. 3:2.

58.    What comfort do you receive from the article “life everlasting”?

That, inasmuch as I now feel in my heart the beginning of eternal joy,1 I shall after this life possess complete blessedness, such as eye has not seen, nor ear heard, neither has entered into the heart of man,2 therein to praise God forever.3

[1] 2 Cor. 5:2–3. [2] 1 Cor. 2:9. [3] Jn. 17:3; *Rom. 8:23; *1 Pet. 1:8.
 
The Benefit of Believing...
59.    What does it help you now, that you believe all this?

That I am righteous in Christ before God, and an heir of eternal life.1

[1] Hab. 2:4; Rom. 1:17; Jn. 3:36; *Tit. 3:7; *Rom. 5:1; *Rom. 8:16.

60.    How are you righteous before God?

Only by true faith in Jesus Christ:1 that is, although my conscience accuses me, that I have grievously sinned against all the commandments of God, and have never kept any of them,2 and am still prone always to all evil;3 yet God, without any merit of mine,4 of mere grace,5 grants and imputes to me the perfect satisfaction,6 righteousness, and holiness of Christ,7 as if I had never committed nor had any sins, and had myself accomplished all the obedience which Christ has fulfilled for me;8 if only I accept such benefit with a believing heart.9

[1] Rom. 3:21–25; Gal. 2:16; Eph. 2:8–9; Phil. 3:9. [2] Rom. 3:9–10. [3] Rom. 7:23. [4] Tit. 3:5. [5] Rom. 3:24; Eph. 2:8. [6] 1 Jn. 2:2. [7] 1 Jn. 2:1; Rom. 4:4–5; 2 Cor. 5:19. [8] 2 Cor. 5:21. [9] Jn. 3:18; *Rom. 3:28; *Rom. 10:10.

61.    Why do you say that you are righteous by faith only?

Not that I am acceptable to God on account of the worthiness of my faith, but because only the satisfaction, righteousness, and holiness of Christ is my righteousness before God;1 and I can receive the same and make it my own in no other way than by faith only.2

[1] 1 Cor. 1:30; 2:2. [2] 1 Jn. 5:10. *Isa. 53:5; *Gal. 3:22; *Rom. 4:16.

62.    But why cannot our good works be the whole or part of our righteousness before God?

Because the righteousness which can stand before the judgment seat of God must be perfect throughout and entirely conformable to the divine law,1 but even our best works in this life are all imperfect and defiled with sin.2

[1] Gal. 3:10; Deut. 27:26. [2] Isa. 64:6; *Jas. 2:10; *Phil. 3:12.

63.    Do our good works merit nothing, even though it is God’s will to reward them in this life and in that which is to come?

The reward comes not of merit, but of grace.1

[1] Lk. 17:10; *Rom. 11:6.

64.    But does not this doctrine make men careless and profane?

No, for it is impossible that those who are implanted into Christ by true faith, should not bring forth fruits of thankfulness.1

[1] Matt. 7:18; *Rom. 6:1–2; *Jn. 15:5.