This week, we complete a 3-week series on the Nicene Creed. Thank you to Vicar Dan Petrak for his help with this series. Click here for the first two posts: The Nicene Creed – Part I and The Nicene Creed – Part II.
In this final post, we explore the third article of the Nicene Creed…
The Nicene Creed is themed around the Trinity—Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, with the third article about the Holy Spirit. For those of us in the Lutheran tradition, this is probably the least mentioned and understood person of the Trinity.
And I believe in the Holy Spirit, the Lord and giver of life, who proceeds from the Father and the Son,
who with the Father and the Son together is worshiped and glorified, who spoke by the prophets.
And I believe in one holy Christian and apostolic Church, I acknowledge one Baptism for the remission of sins, and I look for the resurrection of the dead and the life of the world to come. Amen.
Think of the Holy Spirit as the animator and the doer of God’s will. He was active in creation, He spoke to the prophets, and lives inside all followers of Jesus. God’s spirit is everywhere (omnipresent), all knowing (omniscient) and has all the attributes of God. The Holy Spirit speaks to us through the Word, and enables us to believe in our salvation given by Jesus on the cross.
Martin Luther explained our need for the Holy Spirit this way…
“By nature I am spiritually blind, dead, and an enemy of God, as the Scriptures teach; therefore, ‘I cannot by my own reason or strength believe in Jesus Christ, my Lord, or come to Him.’” (1 Cor. 2:14, 12:3, Eph. 2:1, Rom. 8:7, Eph. 2:8-9)
The Holy Spirit doesn’t stop working when we come to faith, but lives in us. It’s through God’s Spirit residing in us that we can live our lives for Christ.
For God is working in you, giving you the desire and the power to do what pleases him. Philippians 2:13 NLT
Without God working in us—through His own power—anything we do is by our own human efforts. Through our own attempts, we will come up short…every time. But through God’s Spirit, we are able. Not because of ourselves, but through and because of Him.
Those who reject the Word of God and resist the Holy Spirit remain in unbelief, and therefore are not saved. But through the Holy Spirit, all believers make up the church…not individual denominations, but the one church of Christ.
Consequently, you are no longer foreigners and strangers, but fellow citizens with God’s people and also members of his household, built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, with Christ Jesus himself as the chief cornerstone. In him the whole building is joined together and rises to become a holy temple in the Lord. And in him you too are being built together to become a dwelling in which God lives by his Spirit. Ephesians 2:19-22 NIV