The Symbol of Faith
The Nicene Creed, or the Nicene-Constantinopolitan Creed, is the traditional statement or symbol of faith dating back to the 4th century. By this time in the history of the young church, having become geographically spread across the known world, differing viewpoints had arisen concerning the nature of the Son of God, that is, whether he was created of God like everything else, or whether he was eternal, uncreated and divine.
Leaders of the entire church gathered in Nicea, called together by the Emperor, Constantine, to settle this distraction. The resulting document, the first section, ending with ‘and His kingdom will have no end,” became the creed, meaning, “I believe”.
Several decades later as controversy arose about the nature of the Holy Spirit, another Council was held in Constantinople and the resulting document about the Holy Spirit was added to the creed.
The Creed is the symbol of faith. It is a confession of Christ that is in alignment with the historic body of Christ.
Prior to this standard there were many creeds and belief statements, most saying similar things in different ways. The oldest of which is probably Matthew 16:16 where Peter responds to Jesus’ question, “Who do you say that I am?” And Peter reply’s, “You are the Christ, the Son of the Living God.”
Just prior to my baptism this same question was asked of me, “Who is Jesus?” And my first ‘confession of faith,’ was the same as Peter: “I believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of the Living God.” This aligned me with both the Apostle and the witnesses at church that Sunday, and I was baptized.
When I learned of the Nicene Creed, a statement of belief passed down from the 4th century, I became excited and honored to confess the timeless truth alongside the fellow Christians standing around me and those standing triumphant in heaven. It binds us.
I believe in one God, Father, Almighty, Maker of heaven and earth, and of all things visible and invisible: And in one Lord Jesus Christ, the only-begotten Son of God; begotten of the Father before all ages; Light from Light, True God from True God, begotten, not made, of One Essence with the Father, through Whom all things were made: Who for us men, and for our salvation, came down from Heaven, and was incarnate by the Holy Spirit and the Virgin Mary, and became Man: And was crucified for us under Pontius Pilate, and suffered and was buried: And He rose on the third day according to the Scriptures: And ascended into Heaven, and sits at the right hand of the Father: And He is coming again with glory to judge the living and the dead; And His Kingdom will have no end: And in the Holy Spirit, the Lord, the Giver of the Life, Who proceeds from the Father, Who with the Father and the Son is equally worshipped and glorified, Who spoke by the Prophets: And in One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church. I confess one Baptism for the remission of sins. I look for the Resurrection of the Dead; And the life of the Age to come. Amen.