Theology & Worldview

Bible Spotlight: Seeking Simplicity

Recently, I have taken two big steps in my faith journey: I wrote a paper on some of the historical implications of the early church and the writing of the Apostles’ Creed and the Nicene Creed, and I shared my testimony for the first time. Through growing my faith, reflecting on my journey, researching history, and reckoning with the knowns and unknowns of my personal belief, I faced some of the questions that I have long wrestled with.I have come to realize that simplicity in faith is powerful. 

I tend to overcomplicate things. Even if I know what tasks lay before me, I must write them out, forming a to-do list that creates feelings of overwhelmingness. Though I may know why I feel a certain way or why these struggles exist, I can make things harder on myself, choosing the more difficult path in hopes of finding self achievement and discovery. However, I could achieve the same thing with far less heartbreak if I chose a path of ease. I ask the hard questions and ask hard things of myself. I never want to leave potential untapped. I want to learn, grow, improve, and be proud of how far I come. 

However, faith is not something to achieve. The journey of faith does not include a place of arrival. There is no end or an “I’ve made it” moment. Faith is a personal and spiritual experience with the Lord, and no two walks of faith are the same or even comparable. Faith is a relationship, not a give and take or an indebting of anything. When the Lord died and saved us from our sins on the cross, He never expected to be repaid. He did what none of us could do. 

This element of the Christian faith, the relational aspect, was put on trial in the early times of the church. A time period largely characterized by defending the faith, the Patrisitc Period included great persecution and the conflicting views of gnosticism. Gnostics rejected the humanity of Christ and therefore the trinity. This also means that they did not believe in the crucifixion of His physical body, nor the resurrection. They only believed in the spiritual being of Jesus. This also negates the belief that He died and rose again to SAVE those who believe in His name, removing the creation of a relationship between God and man.

In response to this heresy, the early church established two creeds: The Apostles’ Creed and the Nicene Creed. Both of these creeds laid out the foundational truths and elements of the faith. Neither contradicts the other, and they both both establish that God is the Father Almighty, the maker of heaven and earth, that Jesus Christ is the only Son of God, and born of the virgin Mary, that He suffered under Pontius Pilate, was buried, and rose again on the third day, ascended into heaven and is now seated at the right hand of God, that He will return with judgment, that the Holy Spirit exists, and establishes a belief in the forgiveness of sins, resurrection, and a continuation of life to come. They read as follows:

 

Apostles’ Creed:

I believe in God,

the Father Almighty,

Creator of heaven and earth,

and 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;

on the third day He rose again from the dead;

He ascended into heaven,

and is seated at the right hand of God the Father Almighty;

from there He will come to judge the living and the dead.

I believe in the Holy Spirit,

the Holy Catholic Church,

the communion of Saints,

the forgiveness of sins,

the resurrection of the body,

and life everlasting.

Amen.

 

Nicene Creed:

We believe in one God,

the Father, the almighty,

maker of heaven and earth,

of all that is,

seen and unseen.

We believe in one Lord, Jesus Christ,

the only Son of God,

eternally begotten of the Father,

God from God, Light from Light,

true God from true God,

begotten, not made,

of one being with the Father.

Through him all things were made.

For us men and for our salvation

he came down from heaven;

by the power of the Holy Spirit

he became incarnate of the Virgin Mary, and was made man.

For our sake he was crucified under Pontius Pilate;

he suffered death and was buried.

On the third day he rose again

in accordance with the scriptures;

he ascended into heaven

and is seated at the right hand of the father.

He will come again in glory

to judge the living and the dead,

and his kingdom will have no end.

We believe in the Holy Spirit,

the Lord, the giver of life,

who proceeds from the Father and the Son.

With the Father and the Son he is worshipped and glorified.

He has spoken through the Prophets.

We believe in one holy catholic and apostolic Church.

We acknowledge one baptism for the forgiveness of sins.

We look for the resurrection of the dead,

and the life of the world to come. Amen.

To conclude, Jesus came to the earth and saved us from our sins because He wants a relationship with us. As both creeds reflect and as 1 Corinthians 8:6 (NIV) reads, “…for us there is but one God, the Father, from whom all things came and for whom we live; and there is but one Lord, Jesus Christ, through whom all things came and through whom we live.”  There is nothing we can do to remove ourselves from this grace or from His powerfully caring hand. That is the truth, the simplicity in our faith. We, as Christians, can rest in the simple, foundational, factual truth that Jesus Christ came to earth. Our faith includes the depth of His love for us and how we choose to engage in a relationship with Him, but it all circles back to the fact that he gave His life for us. 

So, in turbulent times, when feelings of safety or security are seemingly unassured, seek simplicity. Choose to believe and rest in the fact that the God of the universe died for you. Ask questions. Learn. Seek knowledge surrounding the faith. But do not let it bog you down. Come up for breath, surface, and realize that the simple truth is that our God died for us because He loves us boundlessly. Let us live for Him in light of that simple, but awestruck, truth. 

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3 Comments

  1. Amaya, this is beautiful. I agree, it is so helpful just to think about Jesus dying for me. I’m curious, did you write about the creeds for a class? Thank you for sharing!!

  2. i love this! thank you for writing such an encouraging article. truly, we just need to seek God at all times.

  3. Great job! This really spoke to me because I like to add legality to my faith and I shouldn’t. I can’t save myself in any way. God did that for me.