(14th in a series of a presentation on The Apostles Creed)

The gift of free will enables man to rise to the heights of heaven, itself. But this same gift, when misused, will turn man away from God and focus inwardly on his own wants, desires and pleasures. We know what is to be done. We know what loving unity with God will result in when we act in accord with that unity. But we willingly choose to ignore this path. Rather, our thoughts flow out, “That path is too hard”, or “Just this time, I want to do this, experience that”. And so we move steadily away from God, as “this time”, happens again and again.

God in his infinite goodness recognizes the weakness of man. Would an infinitely loving God, allow man to wallow in this wretched state? Christ said to His Apostles, “Receive the Holy Spirit, whose sins you shall forgive they are forgiven them; whose sins you shall retain, they are retained.” -1 Christ’s references to the Holy Spirit are always a reference to the Spirit of God, of Truth, of Love. Receiving the Spirit, the Apostles, the known Church at that time, were given the power of forgiving or retaining sins. So, in addition to Baptism, “…He who believes and is baptized, will be saved”-2, Jesus provides still another way that man may be freed of his sins.

The words, “God loves us, not because we are good, but because He is good” should shake us out of our complacency, our smugness. Viewing our lives with their many false starts, with their fleeting promises to do better, we realize just how fickle and insincere we can be. And yet, in spite of our weakness, God loves us with a love incomprehensible. He saw our weakness and provided us a means to overcome even that. He says to each of us, “Just love Me in return. Love Me so thoroughly, so completely that your sole desire is to be always united with Me.” With such a love, our focus cannot be on our own petty wants.

And so, in the Creed, we proclaim yes, we believe in God and the Resurrection and the Ascension, and all the other articles of faith. But because of the love that God has for us, because of the words of Christ that ring down through the ages, we believe in the forgiveness of sins, as well. God created us in love. He redeemed us because of love. He promises His love to be with us for the remainder of time. And all He wants is for us to love Him back.

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-1   John 20: 22-23

-2   Mark 16:16