The Christian Primary Creeds – ‘The Apostles’ Creed’ (3)
The Apostles’ Creed – Present Hope and Future Home
“…the resurrection of the body, and the life everlasting. Amen”
When Creed was written, there was severe persecution of Christians. The Christians were burnt on sticks and beheaded to uphold the Christian Faith. So this last line of the Apostles’ Creed was to give them ‘Hope’ of a future after death. Humanity has a present Hope in a future Home.’ It is to reassure Christians that despite pains and circumstances, there is hope in the resurrection of the body and the life everlasting.
In 1 Cor. 15:51,52, Paul wrote to the Corinthians to give them this type of ‘Hope.’ Matt. 6:9- 30 explains the present Kingdom and the future. The Kingdom of God means the domain over which God exercises rule as King. Therefore, God’s declared purpose is that His people, His holy nation, His peculiar treasure, should be the domain over which He would rule as King, and ultimately all the earth, all things, and every creature. The Lord’s greatest dominion at this time is in the lives of His elect, the chosen ones.
Jesus Christ has extended the dominion of His Kingdom to our hearts and lives. Ladd defines “kingdom” in the following way: “The primary meaning of both the Hebrew word Malkuth in the Old Testament and of the Greek word basileia in the New Testament is the rank, authority, and sovereignty exercised by a king. The Kingdom of God was established when Christ, the King, initiated His rule. Ladd’s approach to interpreting the Kingdom of God is synthetic, and he used inaugurated eschatology as the key idea for this interpretation of the “Kingdom of God.”
Ladd’s dynamic interpretation is couched in already and yet to come ages. Two ages underline Ladd’s thought; the present reality of evil age is corroborated in Gal 1:4; Rom. 12:2; 1 Cor. 20; 2: 6-8; 2 Cor 4: 4 and the age to come in Ephesians 1:21. Ladd stipulated that the age to come has become present already in Christ and the Spirit – 1 Cor 10:11, 2 Cor. 5:17, Gal. 6:15 (pointing to Isaiah 65-66). The true Sons of the Kingdom are believers already in union with Christ. They have died and have been raised with Christ (Rom 6:3-11) and seated with Christ in the heavenly places (Eph. 2:4-7, Col. 2:12).
Ladd affirmed that those who respond to Jesus and accept His word (M. 13:38), those who receive and depend entirely on the proclamation of Jesus as LORD of the Kingdom in this present age are children of the Kingdom. The age to come, according to Ladd, is the final and total destruction of the devil and his angels (Mt. 25: 41), the formation of a redeemed society with evil and perfect fellowship with God at the Messianic feast. (Ref: Mt. 13:36-43, Luke 13: 28-29). Although the church reflects the rule of God in the world, the “kingdom” cannot be precisely paralleled with the “church.” Old Testament kingdom passages confirm that the rule of God existed before the coming of Christ, the ultimate King, and the establishment of the church.
Neither can the Kingdom be strictly equated with some cosmic event to occur when Christ returns. Although the consummation of the Kingdom will occur at the end of time, the Kingdom of God is a continuing historical reality. The real purpose for which God sent Jesus into the world was to ESTABLISH ON EARTH HIS KINGDOM; His ultimate purpose is that the kingdoms of this world shall experientially become the Kingdom of our God and His Christ. The light of the Holy Spirit’s wisdom and revelation is shed with its quickening and illuminating rays upon our understanding, dispelling the mists, dividing the light from the darkness, that all the elect Children of God may find an abundant entrance into the Kingdom of God. The Kingdom is THE RULE OF GOD.
Jesus came with just that message, the revelation of the RULE OF GOD within the hearts of men and through men over the whole world. The Kingdom of God is heavenly in its King; that King is the Son of God, Jesus Christ our LORD and Redeemer. The Kingdom of God is heavenly in its subjects; those subjects are the children of God. The Kingdom of God is heavenly in nature; that nature is righteousness, peace, and joy in the Holy Spirit. The Kingdom of God is heavenly in its entrance; that gateway is not by human birth, or of the will of the flesh, or the will of man, but by being born of the Holy Spirit.
The Kingdom of God is heavenly in its laws; those laws are not ordinances, rules, or regulations; they are spiritual principles. The Kingdom of God is heavenly in its method; that method is not by might, power, or the enticing words of man’s wisdom but by the Spirit of the living God. The Kingdom of God is heavenly in its prerogatives; those prerogatives are for the Children of God to be the salt of the earth, the light of the world, a kingdom of priests after the order of Melchizedek, saviors on mount Zion. The Kingdom of God is heavenly in its privileges; those privileges are to be heirs of God and joint heirs with Christ to the inheritance that is incorruptible, undefiled, and cannot fade away.
In summary, the Kingdom of God is the Kingdom of Heaven. It is the Kingdom of Heaven because it is the Kingdom or dominion of the GOD OF HEAVEN. In its simplest definition, the Kingdom of God means that JESUS CHRIST IS LORD! He must be Lord in you, and He must be Lord through you. That is the mark and seal of Christ to make you a child of God. That is the power of the Kingdom. Jesus was declared by the Father to be the Son of God with power because of His resurrection from the dead. We see the initial victory in Christ’s incarnation, life, ministry, death, resurrection, and ascension.
Through Jesus’ disciples during the dispensation of the church’s trial, we see His continuing and increasing victory. And in the manifestation of the sons of God, we see His ultimate victory. The Kingdom spans all generations and ages, from the advent of the firstborn Son into the world to the manifestation of the sons of God. Final victory shall be achieved at Christ second coming. Then shall the Kingdom be delivered up to God, even the Father, “that God may be all in all” (I Cor. 15:28).
The Apostle’s Creed teaches us to choose Jesus as the center of our relationship. The entire point of the Apostles’ Creed is to unite the believers in Truth, bringing them all closer to Jesus Christ, who is the resurrection of our body and soul, our life, and our Creed in the flesh. This Creed teaches ‘Hope’ in future Homes for those terminally sick. Suffering is a result of living in a sin-cursed world. But the next life in the future Home is different and without pains.
Q: How does the Apostle Creed ground and shape your walk with Jesus Christ?
The answer to the question is personal. Ruminate and Meditate on your personal answer. Have a lovely week with Christ as the Center.