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Monday, January 30, 2012

Jesus' Creed

A creed is simply a statement of what we believe. Everyone has a creed because everyone believes something. Even atheists have a creed, which is their belief that God does not exist.

Every religion has a creed. Islam believes that there is no god but Allah and Mohammed is his prophet. Hinduism believes in reincarnation with a strict caste system and an endless array of gods. Buddhism also believes in reincarnation and promotes an eight-fold path to escape suffering.

Every Christian denomination and church has a creed. Some call them statements or confessions of faith. They vary slightly but almost all affirm the Trinity or triune Godhead as One. They almost all embrace the divinity and humanity of Jesus, his sacrificial death, resurrection and promised return. Some recite the Apostle’s creed that dates from the second century or the Nicene Creed adopted in 381.

Increasingly people are developing their own customized creeds, blending elements of the world’s major religions with their own personal preferences. This is especially true of the vast number of people unattached to organized religion, but it includes many who are regular church attenders and members.

Perhaps it would be helpful to ask, “What was Jesus’ creed?”
When Jesus spoke about God He described Him as our Father, teaching us to pray, “Our Father in Heaven.” He taught us that the Father knows our needs before we ask Him, that the very hairs of our head are numbered, and that He takes great pleasure in giving us the Kingdom.

When Jesus spoke about himself he said, “I am the light of the world. … I and the Father are One. He that has seen me has seen the Father. … He that believes in me shall never die. …The reason my Father loves me is that I lay down my life—only to take it up again. … I go and prepare a place for you, and if I go I will come again and receive you to myself.”

A lawyer once asked Jesus what He believed about the commandments. Jesus responded, “Love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.” Many believe this is the essence of Jesus’ creed. It summarizes every thing he taught about God and life.

We may or may not know the belief statement of the church we attend, but we have a core belief that governs everything we do. All of us have a life creed. For Jesus this core belief was built around loving God and loving others. Everything He did and everything He said reflected His love for God and His love for others.

When we stand before God, we will not be judged by the creeds of the churches we attended. Neither will we be judged by the creeds we memorized and recited. We will be judged by how our core belief made a difference in how we lived, what we did and what we said. Jesus said, “If you love me, you will keep my commandments.”

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