I believe in Jesus Christ…The third day he rose again from the dead.

 “…God raised him [Jesus] from the dead on the third day and caused him to be seen. He was not seen by all the people, but by witnesses whom God had already chosen—by us who ate and drank with him after he rose from the dead.” – Acts 10:40-42

Jesus is Lord of All

Cornelius the centurion knew Jesus. The Lord’s fame had spread far and wide and touched everyone—including the Roman legion stationed at Caesarea.

But this centurion knew more. He knew that the Old Testament taught: “the good news of peace through Jesus Christ who is Lord of all” (Acts 10:36). Cornelius knew that Jesus had preached in Judea and Galilee. He knew Jesus had power over both disease and the devil. He knew that God was with Jesus! He knew the sad story of Jesus’ death as he hung on a cross—mocked by Romans, despised by Jews, cursed by God.

Now God had arranged a meeting between Cornelius and the apostle Peter. Peter told him, “I want you to know the rest of the story. I want you to know what we saw. We saw Jesus alive. I am an eye-witness of his resurrection from the dead.

Vivid, accurate eye-witness testimony rules in court. It trumps the opinions of those who were not there, the speculation of those who did not see. “God raised him from the dead on the third day and caused him to be seen. We saw Jesus alive in the flesh, and we believe it. But we want you to believe it too!”

Peter had received his own revelation, which he shared with Cornelius. He called Jesus “the Lord of all,” and testified to this centurion, “I now realize how true it is that God does not show favoritism but accepts men from every nation who fear him and do what is right’” (Acts 10:34-35).

We believe that Jesus died for all, and we believe that Jesus rose for all. The truth of Jesus’ resurrection anchors our faith that Jesus is Lord of people from every nation, tribe and language, and it inspires our outreach to the whole world.

I believe in Jesus Christ…He ascended into heaven, and is seated at the right hand of God the Father almighty.

“Christ Jesus, who died — more than that, who was raised to life — is at the right hand of God and is interceding for us. Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall trouble or hardship or persecution or famine or nakedness or danger or sword? … No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us.” – Romans 8:34-35, 37

Here, There, and Everywhere

From last night’s dinner conversation: “So, where did you go, today?” “Oh, here, there, and everywhere!”

Though understood, the idiom is an obvious exaggeration by you and me, but not by Jesus. The Apostles’ Creed confesses: “He ascended into heaven, and is seated at the right hand of God the Father almighty.” This Bible-revealed truth is not an exaggeration. Forty days after Easter Jesus visibly ascended heavenward before his astonished disciples. More astonishing to our reason is that the risen Christ took up full use of his divine powers. He now took his place as King of kings. Yet, he had promised, “Surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age” (Matthew 28:20).

If Jesus were visibly present at your dinner table (You invited him, if you say the common table prayer), you may ask, “So, where did you go, today, Lord?” “Here, there, and everywhere!”

“Here!” “I am with you every day and I am with you, tonight, as well.”

“There!” “I am at the right hand of the heavenly Father, ruling over all things for the good of the whole Christian Church on earth. I also intercede for you: ‘Father, this is a member of my flock. Forgive and bless them for my sake. I paid for all their sins, satisfying your holy justice.’”

“Everywhere!” “‘Do not I fill heaven and earth?’ declares the Lord” (Jeremiah 23:24).

The Bible truths of the Lord’s presence everywhere and his divine rule over all are seen only with the eyes of faith. Whatever we face in this sin-filled world, including “trouble or hardship or persecution…, we are more than conquerors.” As the Bible assures us, “The Lord your God is with you, he is mighty to save. He will take great delight in you, he will quiet you with his love” (Zephaniah 3:17).

I believe in Jesus Christ…From there [heaven] he will come to judge the living and the dead.

“[Jesus] commanded us to preach to the people and to testify that he is the one whom God appointed as judge of the living and the dead. All the prophets testify about him that everyone who believes in him receives forgiveness of sins through his name.” – Acts 10:42-43

The End of Guilt

Jesus’ message about Judgment Day was simple: “Watch out that no one deceives you.” … “See to it that you are not alarmed” (Matthew 24:4,6).

The apostle Peter confessed that “Jesus is the Lord of all” (Acts 10:36), and therefore Jesus has the right to judge all.  So we read in the Bible: “When the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, he will sit on his glorious throne. All the nations will be gathered before him, and he will separate the people one from another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats. He will put the sheep on his right and the goats on his left” (Matthew 25:31-33).

Peter witnessed to a man named Cornelius that they both would stand in front of this Jesus on the last day because “Jesus is the Lord of all.” That’s why Jesus commanded Peter “to preach to the people and testify that he is the one whom God appointed as judge of the living and the dead.”

God assured our sin-filled parents, Adam and Eve, that one of the offspring of the woman [Jesus] would crush the devil’s power (Genesis 3:15). Jesus’ death brought to Cornelius, his family and “everyone who believes in him,” the end of guilt through the forgiveness of sins. The dying Lamb of God “takes away the sin of the world” (John 1:29).

That means that we who have put our trust in Jesus do not need to fear Judgment Day because we know the Judge. We know his mercy and his love for the whole world.

We know that we and all who trust the words and promises of the Bible will enter heaven together. We know that in heaven we will see “a great multitude that no one could count, from every nation, tribe, people and language standing before the throne and in front of the Lamb” (Revelation 7:9). Then look closely! By God’s grace you will see Cornelius and his family, and they will see you!

I believe in the Holy Spirit

No one can say, ‘Jesus is Lord,’ except by the Holy Spirit. – 1 Corinthians 12:3

Working Behind the Scenes

Although certain individuals may get more public attention, those who work “behind the scenes” are essential in almost every joint endeavor. It’s true with our God too.

The Third Article of the Apostles’ Creed begins: “I believe in the Holy Spirit.” Christians confess that the Holy Spirit is the eternal, co-equal, third Person of the Triune God. Present at creation, the Holy Spirit worked saving faith in the hearts of Adam and Eve after their fall into sin. The Spirit has created repentance and faith in human hearts ever since. The Holy Spirit inspired the prophets and apostles in every word of the Holy Scriptures. The Holy Spirit’s “behind the scenes” work truly is essential to the saving work of our gracious God.

The Holy Spirit had moments of public display. At Jesus’ baptism (Matthew 3), at Pentecost (Acts 2) and in special gifts to the early Christian Church (1 Corinthians 12; Romans 12), his work was clearly recognized. But for 21st century Christians, his work remains essentially “behind the scenes.”

The Holy Spirit is our “faith-starter.” By the gospel in Baptism and the Word, the Holy Spirit sparked the fire of saving faith in our hearts. We could not confess a living faith in Jesus as our Lord were it not for this gift.

The Holy Spirit is our “faith-builder.” By the Holy Scriptures he opens our understanding, increases our knowledge of God’s truth, and strengthens our trust in Jesus, which leads to our daily life of faith.

The Holy Spirit is our “faith-preserver.” Some have feared, “What if I lose my faith?” As we continue in the gospel of Christ, holding to his teachings, the Holy Spirit works “behind the scenes,” keeping us in the faith.

Finally, the Holy Spirit is the “Church-builder,” as you and I and our fellow believers share the gospel of Jesus’ life, death and resurrection worldwide. The Spirit will ignite, strengthen and preserve faith in the hearts of repentant sinners, that they may have eternal life.

I believe in…the holy Christian Church, the communion of saints

Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her to make her holy, cleansing her by the washing with water through the word, and to present her to himself as a radiant church, without stain or wrinkle or any other blemish, but holy and blameless.
– Ephesians 5:25-27

The Bride of Christ

Though the first word of the Bible passage above says, “Husbands,” this article is not directed to husbands; it is directed to the bride. But not the bride of an earthly husband. It is directed to the bride of Christ. It is directed to those who believe in the holy Christian church, the communion of saints.

As the apostle Paul talks about the relationship between husbands and wives, he holds up the beautiful relationship between Christ and his bride, the church. In this relationship we see a bride who is beautifully dressed for her husband. In fact, she is holy. She is blameless. She is radiant. Without any stain or wrinkle or blemish. She is the perfect bride!

What is it that makes this bride so beautiful?

Notice, there is no talk of the dreams the bride had from little on. There is no talk of the plans the bride outlined in the years and months leading up to her wedding day. There is no talk of the detailed preparations the bride made as the hour of her wedding drew near. What we do hear, what we do see, what we are blessed with, is the loving work of the bridegroom—the loving work of Christ.

Christ made his bride holy and blameless. Christ cleansed her and made her radiant. He did that by giving himself up for her. The Son of God offered his holy, blameless life for his beloved. The Lamb of God, without stain or wrinkle or blemish, sacrificed himself—the perfect payment for sin making the sinner perfect.

This is not a dream or a fairy tale. This is the story of God’s love for you.

Dear friend in Christ, walk as a beautiful bride today. Walk up and down the aisle, out the door, across the street, around the corner, along the path in front of you, with complete confidence in your bridegroom and with eager anticipation of what lies ahead. Walk as a bride who knows that her bridegroom is beaming at her with love.

I believe in…the forgiveness of sins

God was reconciling the world to himself in Christ, not counting people’s sins against them. And he has committed to us the message of reconciliation. – 2 Corinthians 5:19


Do you ever feel like the whole world is against you? No matter where you turn, you find opposition, and where there is no active opposition, often there is apathy and ignorance. You think you know people, and then they turn against you. Nothing goes right for very long. On most days, many things go wrong.

What is your reaction when that happens? Frustration? Anger?

You may feel like the whole world is against you some days, but God has the right to feel like that every day. No matter where he turns, he finds opposition, and where there is no active opposition, there is apathy and ignorance. Even when people claim to know him, they end up with mixed motives and deeds that fall short of what God expects. Nothing goes right for very long. On most days, many things go wrong.

What is God’s reaction when that happens? It’s not frustration and anger.

Instead, God’s reaction was to send his Son, Jesus, into the world to be the Savior. Jesus is not the Savior of only a few people. He is the Savior of the world. God does not count the sins of all people against them because of the perfect life and innocent suffering and death of Jesus. He does not count your sins against you.

That is the message of reconciliation. God is not your enemy, even though he could easily be disappointed by your life. He is your Savior, and he is there for you even when the whole world seems to be against you. Trust in his word that declares your full and free forgiveness.

I believe in…the life everlasting. Amen.

You have made known to me the path of life; you will fill me with joy in your presence, with eternal pleasures at your right hand. – Psalm 16:11

The Path of Life

The late Yogi Berra, a famous baseball player, once said, “When you come to a fork in the road, take it.” He made that saying the title of a book of his many well-known “Yogi-isms.” It’s a silly saying, because everyone knows that when you come to a fork in the road, you have to walk down one path or the other. The point of a fork in the road is that you can’t walk both directions.

The Bible says that life has two paths. The one is the path to eternal life. The other is the path to eternal death. You can’t walk both directions.

We give thanks to God that he has made known to us the path of life. “Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved,” he says. “Whoever believes in him will not perish, but will have eternal life.” The path to life is the path of faith in Jesus as Savior.

The path to eternal life has some sacrifices along the way, because faith in Jesus as Savior means that we do not believe in ourselves as saviors, or in other people who want to entice us to follow them rather than Jesus.

But the path to eternal life ends with joy in the presence of the Lord. All of the joys of heaven, all of the eternal pleasures, involve being in the presence of God forever.

The other path, the one leading to eternal death, may look good, but at its end there is only destruction. Many are on that path. Through Jesus, the Lord leads you on the path to heaven, the one less traveled, and that will make all the difference.