I have been preparing for an upcoming series on Doctrine. I am going to call it "Doctrine for Dummies". So I referred again to the Apostles Creed. I have of course read this Creed many times and I was even reminiscing on the Rich Mullins song called "Creed" as I read. The text of the Creed reads as follows...
I believe in God, the Father almighty,
creator of heaven and Earth.
I believe in Jesus Christ, God's 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;
he ascended into heaven
he is seated at the right hand of the Father,
and he will come again 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
When I went home for lunch today my daughter greeted me at the door with her very first tootsie roll tootsie pop in her mouth! It was a pretty funny moment and I recorded it for infamy on my handy iPhone. Look at this cute picture and now get the image of her having her first sucker and you will get the feeling that I had as I read the Apostles Creed again for the very first time. It felt as though I was a kid with my first sucker. I was so excited to see something I had never seen before. I read the line in the past "He descended into Hell" as almost some kind of blasphemy. How could the God of the universe the creator of Hell descend into it and feel the punishment of Hell? I read John Calvin on the subject in "Institutes" He talks about the redemptive wok of Christ. He shows how it was paramount that Jesus descend into Hell and suffer the punishment of sins for us so that when he arose victorious our atonement would be that much more effectual. Could I have been a Christian for almost 30 years now, knowing Jesus as Savior and Lord, and my view of His atonement is changing? Could I have believed in a really weak atonement all this time? I am starting to think it is even bigger and better than I could have imagined. Could I be changing my theology? I think that God is up to something bigger that I could ever understand in this life. Is my need of freedom from sin so deep that my Savior and Lord had to suffer the punishment of Hell for me? If He did then I think that this atonement is that much more significant. Because He overcame not just the power of sin and death He also overcame the PUNISHMENT of sin and death! WOW! I am losing the ability for words I need to worship. Please take a moment and worship with me, comments also welcome! By the way if you would like a hefty read I will attach the link to Calvin's explanation of the line in the Creed.