Creeds of the Kehillah ~ Part 31

The Nicene Creed~ Part 17

In our last post, we continued to explore the Nicene Creed. In this post, we continue to dig into the third article of faith in the Nicene Creed.

We believe in the Holy Spirit, the Lord, the giver of life,

who proceeds from the Father and the Son.
With the Father and the Son, He is worshiped and glorified.
He has spoken through the Prophets.
We believe in one holy catholic and apostolic church.
We acknowledge one baptism for the forgiveness of sins.
We look for the resurrection of the dead,
and the life of the world to come. Amen.

THE GIVER OF LIFE ~ In Repentance

Life is spoken of in Scripture in terms of physical life or eternal life and the life of faith that leads to salvation. How do we receive this life, this salvation? The biblical answer has always been through Repentance, faith, and baptism. The message of John the Baptist was a call to repentance because the kingdom of God was at hand. (See Mt 3:2; 28:19; Mk 1:15; Lk 24:47; Acts 2:38.) Yeshua called on His hearers to repent and believe the Gospel. The talmidim were given the charge to preach repentance and forgiveness. (See Luke 24:7) Therefore, the terms of salvation have always been framed in the call to repent and believe the Gospel, and be baptized to remission sins.

One of the essential factors of being a Believer repeatedly urged by writers such as Clement of Rome and Barnabas was the confession of sins. One could directly confess his or her sins to God. But this confession might also occur amid the congregation, especially before the Eucharist, especially for sins that were known to the larger public. This confession of sins was also to be accompanied by charity, prayer, fasting, and almsgiving so that it was indeed a confession that was deep and heartfelt.

Public penitence was reserved for scandalous and public sins, with all others being treated by the clergy in private. Traces of public discipline remain in the West, reduced to Lenten ceremonies on Ash Wednesday and Maundy Thursday. The years-long and humiliating process of public discipline was condensed to these forty days of comparatively easy discipline framed by Ash Wednesday and Maundy Thursday. The penitent would leave church on Ash Wednesday, focusing on a time of penance over the next forty days. On Maundy Thursday, he/she would again enter the church and prostrate himself and be reconciled by the bishop, who offered prayers for forgiveness on his behalf. [1]

In my next post, we continue to dig into the third article of the Nicene Creed: We Believe in The Holy Spirt.

Click here for the PDF version.

[1] Elowsky, J. C., & Oden, T. C. (Eds.). (2009). We Believe in the Holy Spirit (Vol. 4, pp. 37–38).