Today we tackle one of the more controversial statements of the Creed. It is a phrase that many in church refuse to say as they feel it undermines Christ. It is also, in my opinion, a phrase that the Creed hinges on.
I believe in God, the Father Almighty,
Maker of heaven and earth…
and in Jesus Christ, 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.
The third day He rose again from the dead.
From there He judges the living and the dead.
I believe in Holy Spirit,
the holy catholic Church,
the forgiveness of sins,
the resurrection of the body,
and the life everlasting. Amen!
I’m going to do an abbreviated post tonight, as it is much later than I wanted – and this phrase of the Creed deserves more emphasis with another post. But I want to be sure to make a point in this article of faith.
Many want to believe that Christ didn’t actually descend into hell. That hell for bad people, and that God wouldn’t let His Son go there. That it’s either a turn of phrase, or just simply bad theology. To them I say “no!” Additionally, I agree with John Calvin who said:
if it is left out, much of the benefit of Christ’s death will be lost.
To simply end with the phrase that Christ was crucified, died, and was buried – then skip directly to the fact that He was raised from the dead three days later basically skips the whole intended purpose for His coming. He died to set us free. He died to take upon Himself the wrath that we deserve.Scripture is clear that the wages of sin are death. That sin is sin in God’s eyes, and even the simplest of sins breaks that connection (that was technically broken through Adam’s sin). So to forego the final phrase added due to its complexity is to skimp out on the whole purpose for Christ’s coming.
He came for you. He came for me. He came to bring an inauguration of His kingdom. And He did that by taking upon Himself the immense weight of the sin of all of His elect. He bore our sin on the cross and underwent punishment for it. He felt pain. He felt spiritual abandonment. It is something we should be eternally grateful and acutely aware of our necessary response.
Christ going to hell for us should evoke a sense of necessity of living out a life glorifying to the Lord, daily! Remember this truth when you think of how great our God is!