God’s Spirit Is Working in the Church

God’s Spirit Is Working in the Church BY William Boekestein for Core Christianity

(54) Q. What do you believe concerning “the holy catholic church”?
A. I believe that the Son of God through his Spirit and Word,out of the entire human race, from the beginning of the world to its end,gathers, protects, and preserves for himself a community chosen for eternal lifeand united in true faith.And of this community I am and always will bea living member.

(55) Q. What do you understand by “the communion of saints”?
A. First, that believers one and all, as members of Christ the Lord, have communion with him and share in all his treasures and gifts.Second, that each member should consider it a duty to use these gifts readily and joyfully for the service and enrichment of the other members.

(56) Q. What do you believe concerning “the forgiveness of sins”?
A. I believe that God, because of Christ’s satisfaction, will no longer remember any of my sins or my sinful nature which I need to struggle against all my life. Rather, by his grace God grants me the righteousness of Christ that I may never come into judgment.

“I believe in the Holy Spirit.” Just six words. It seems like the Apostles’ Creed has much less to say about the Holy Spirit than it does about the Father and the Son. But what if we understood everything that follows to be a consequence of the Spirit’s ministry? Remember, the Creed is divided into three parts, one for each divine person. The Spirit, our Sanctifier, transforms us by applying to us every benefit designed for us by the Father and earned for us by the Son.

Only by the Spirit’s work do God’s children enter a holy fraternity (54), enjoy supernatural fellowship (55), and experience the forgiveness of sins (56).

The Spirit Makes Believers Members of God’s Church

Each of the Creed’s three words—“holy catholic church”—are important.

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  1. God’s people are the church, the gathering of believers whom the Father has given to the Son through the Spirit from the world (John 6:37). The church is God’s new creation, Christ’s bride whom he pursues, defends, and protects.
  2. The church is catholic, or universal. Because God “shows no partiality” (Acts 10:34), Christ gathers a people from the entire human race from the beginning to the end of the world (Rev. 5:9). But even the truly catholic church has boundaries—the word also means “orthodox.” We must accept as brothers allthose—but only those—whom Christ has “united in true faith.”
  3. The church is holy. “He chose us in him before the foundation of the world that we should be holy and blameless before him” (Eph. 1:4; cf. 1 Peter 2:9). Every child of God is a saint (Eph. 1:1), literally “a holy one” who practices true holiness without which no one will see the Lord (Heb. 12:14).

A right view of the church helps us avoid two contrasting errors. We must not neglect the church. The baptisms in Acts tell us that those who came to trust in Jesus were also initiated into life with a new family, Jesus’ church (1 Cor. 12:13). “No one ought to withdraw from it, content to be by himself, regardless of his status or condition.”[1] But neither may we put confidence in our church membership. Without true faith in Jesus, church membership becomes an empty shell. The church is a community chosen for eternal life that we receive by trusting Jesus.

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