For hundreds of years, Christians around the world (Lutherans included) have answered the question "Who is Jesus?" by repeating one of the church’s most ancient creeds: the Apostles’ Creed.

The word "creed" simply means "I believe." The Apostles’ Creed summarizes in a few short statements what the Bible teaches about the true God.

The creed begins: "I believe in God, the Father Almighty, Maker of heaven and earth." According to the Bible, there is only one God, the almighty, all-knowing Creator of all, who mercifully provides for the needs of His creatures. In love, God originally created human beings in His image: perfect and sinless.

In sinful pride, our first parents rebelled against God and brought sin, death and suffering to the entire human race. But God’s love for His sinful creatures could not be quenched. He sent His Son, Jesus Christ, to rescue sinful humanity by His perfect life, redeeming death, and glorious resurrection from the dead.

Thus, the creed continues: "I believe in Jesus Christ, His only Son, our Lord, who was conceived by the Holy Spirit, born of the Virgin Mary, suffered under Pontius Pilate, was crucified, died and was buried. He descended into hell. The third day he rose again from the dead. He ascended into heaven and sits at the right hand of God, the Father Almighty. From thence He will come to judge the living and the dead."

According to the Bible, Jesus is both true God and true man. He is one with the Father and the Holy Spirit from all eternity: three persons, but only one God (the "Triune God"). But He is also true man, a human being like us in every way–except for sin. As true God and true man, Jesus lived the perfect life that we could never live. He suffered and died on the cross to pay the price for all of our sins. He rose from the dead to seal and proclaim His victory over sin, death and the devil. Then He ascended into heaven where He rules in power and glory, until the day when He returns to judge the living and the dead.

Jesus has done everything necessary to accomplish the salvation of all people. Therefore, the Bible’s answer to the question, "How can I be saved?" is a very simple one: "Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved" (Acts 16:31). According to Scripture, salvation comes not by "living a good life" or "trying to be a good person," since "all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God" (Romans 3:23). Salvation is a free gift of God, which comes through faith alone in Jesus Christ alone. "For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord" (Romans 6:23).

The third and final article of the Apostles’ Creed explains how faith in Jesus is possible. The creed concludes: "I believe in the Holy Spirit, the holy Christian church, the communion of saints, the forgiveness of sins, the resurrection of the body, and the life everlasting." According to the Bible, we are not able to trust in Jesus by our own strength, power or wisdom. The Holy Spirit, working through the Gospel—the Good News about Jesus Christ as revealed in the Scriptures—enables us and empowers us to believe.

The Holy Spirit also sustains and strengthens our faith and makes us members of Christ’s body, the church. Joining with other believers to hear God’s Word and receive His sacraments (baptism and the Lord’s Supper), we receive forgiveness for our sins and strength to live lives that are pleasing to God and bring blessing to us and to others. We look forward in hope and eager anticipation to Christ’s second coming, when He will bring us and all believers to our true, heavenly home, where the glory and beauty of God’s creative work will be fully and perfectly restored.

The above text was taken from the Lutheran Church Missouri Synod’s WebSite. Be sure to check out their site at www.lcms.org for a more comprehensive message from the Synod.