PFOA Apostles' Creed: I believe in...Jesus Christ, His only Son, our Lord

"I believe ... in Jesus Christ, his only begotten Son, our Lord"

J I Packer (author of Knowing God) says, "When the creed called God maker of heaven and earth, it parted company with Hinduism and Eastern faiths in general. Now by calling Jesus Christ God's only Son, it parts company with Judaism and Islam and stands quite alone."

Christianity is a unique faith, and we are a unique people, "peculiar" as the King James Version put it. We are exclusive, not because we want to exclude others. In fact we want them to be included with us, by acknowledging that Jesus Christ is Lord.

The name Jesus is Greek for the Hebrew Joshua, meaning "God is saviour" and is not an uncommon name. However both Mary and Joseph were visited by an angel and instructed to give the child born of Mary with this name, first to Mary, "You will be with child and give birth to a son, and you are to give him the name Jesus" (Luke 1:31), then to Joseph, "Joseph son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary home as your wife, because what is conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit. She will give birth to a son, and you are to give him the name Jesus, because he will save his people from their sins" (Matt. 1: 20-21). Whatever else we may say about Jesus, that He is a teacher, prophet, example, the purpose of His coming to earth is to save his people from their sins.

Christ is not the surname. His surname would be "Barjoseph" indicating that this is the son of Joseph, (John 6:42, Mark 6:3). "Christ" is a title, and is Greek for "Messiah" in Hebrew which for the Jews means "the anointed one. The Jews were looking for the Messiah to deliver them from bondage and suffering. He would be a King, greater than David and Solomon, victorious over the nations.

To say "I believe in Jesus Christ" is to say a lot. The whole of scriptures reveals who Jesus Christ is, by promise and prophecy in the OT, and in the NT, by narratives of His life and teaching, the proclamation of the gospel, and the final revelation of His return as King. Jesus is the only begotten Son. Jesus was not created, He co-existed with God from the beginning (John 1:1) and as Son, He is of the same essence. Jesus is God. Some cults do not accept this, and this is the greatest obstacle when reaching out to Muslims.

Jesus Christ our Lord. Matthew 7:21,22 has a very strong warning about calling Jesus Lord. We use it so often, so easily, that we lose the impact of the word. It seems sometimes that "Lord" has become a punctuation mark in prayer. Jesus is King of kings and Lord of lords, and we must come to Him with all due

reverence and respect. We need to recover the kind of awe, humility, realisation of our sinful selves as was Isaiah's experience (Isa. 6:1-7).

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