First creed

Daily Reading for January 18 • The Confession of St. Peter the Apostle

The first and fundamental creed, which must ever constitute the beating heart of every other, is Peter’s answer to his Master’s question, “Who say ye that I am?” It is the confession of his personal faith that the man Jesus of Nazareth is “the Christ, the Son of the living God.” He saw in Him the promised Messiah, the Saviour from sin, and the highest revelation of the infinite Jehovah.

This confession came not from flesh and blood, but was revealed to the mind and heart of Peter by our heavenly Father, through the Holy Spirit. This confession, as proclaimed by Peter, is the immovable rock on which Christ, the divine architect, built his Church on the day of Pentecost when Peter fulfilled the prophecy of his new name and converted three thousand souls to his Lord. This confession is the standard and rule of every creed, which is true or false in proportion as it agrees with or departs from its spirit. Christ, the God-Man, the Lord and Saviour, is the beginning, the middle, and the end of our Christian faith and spiritual life. Every other article must cluster around this Christological centre. The creed of the reunited Church of the future will be but an expansion of the confession with which it started. Gold and silver, and many precious stones of divine truth, have been built upon this foundation, and they will remain.

From Christ and Christianity: Studies on Christology, Creeds and Confessions by Philip Schaff (New York: Charles Scribner’s Sons, 1885).

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