Tuesday, November 11, 2008
For the Apostles' Creed
My friend at Hollywood SDA church asked me if I could contribute some pictures to an art show they're having following a time of studying and reflecting on the Apostles' Creed. Here are the four pictures I've felt led to contribute, with comments and Scriptures.
I believe in God the Father, Almighty, Creator of heaven and earth.
I believe in Jesus Christ, His only Son, our Lord.
In the beginning was the Word(John 1:1-3 & 3:35, 1st John 4:10 & 3:16, John 3:16, Zechariah 12:10) _______________________________________________________
and the Word was with God...
God the only Begotten Son, in the bosom of the Father...
The Father loves the Son...
This is love: not that we loved God, but that He loved us
and sent His Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins...
This is how we know what love is.
God loved the world so much that He gave His only Son,
so that whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life.
"And I will pour out on them a spirit of grace and supplication.
They will look on Me, the one they have pierced,
and they will mourn for Him as one mourns for an only child,
and grieve bitterly for Him as one grieves for a firstborn son."
He suffered, was crucified, died, and was buried.
He descended into the depths. On the third day He rose again.
I believe in the forgiveness of sins.
"Forsaken (for me)"
"My God, My God, why have You forsaken Me?"
He was pierced for our transgressions,
He was crushed for our iniquities;
the punishment that brought us peace was upon Him,
and by His scourging we are healed.
We all, like sheep, have gone astray,
each of us has turned to his own way;
and the Lord has laid on Him the iniquity of us all.
God made Him who had no sin to be sin on our behalf,
so that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.
(Matthew 27:46, Isaiah 53:5-6, 2nd Corinthians 5:21)
I believe in the Holy Spirit,
the resurrection of the body,
and the life everlasting.
And you also were included in Christ when you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation. Having believed, you were marked in Him with a seal, the promised Holy Spirit, who is a deposit guaranteeing our inheritance until the redemption of those who are God's possession—to the praise of His glory.(Ephesians 1:13-14, John 5:24, 11:25-26, 1st John 5:13) _______________________________________________________
"Truly, truly, I say to you, he who hears My word, and believes Him who sent Me, has eternal life, and does not come into judgment, but has passed out of death into life."
"I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in Me will live, even though he dies; and whoever lives and believes in Me will never die."
I write these things to you who believe in the name of the Son of God so that you may know that you have eternal life.
I believe in the holy catholic Church,
and the communion of saints.
I believe in Jesus Christ, our Lord.
He ascended into heaven
and is seated at the right hand of the Father.
He will come again to judge the living and the dead.
But whatever was to my profit I now consider loss for the sake of Christ. What is more, I consider everything a loss compared to the surpassing greatness of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whose sake I have lost all things. I consider them rubbish, that I may gain Christ and be found in Him, not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but that which is through faith in Christ—the righteousness that comes from God and is by faith.(Philippians 3:7-9, John 3:30, 1st Corinthians 2:2, Psalm 115:1) _______________________________________________________
He must become greater; I must become less.
For I resolved to know nothing while I was with you except Jesus Christ and Him crucified.
Not to us, O Lord, not to us
but to Your name be the glory,
because of Your love and faithfulness.
"Christ and Him Crucified"
An afterword from the artist
When my friend asked me if I could contribute some art about the Apostles' Creed, I prayed and felt the Lord moving in me to make two new pictures, as well as use two previous ones He'd given me earlier. I didn't know how they'd fit the Apostles' Creed at first, but as I prayed and began the new pictures, the "big picture" became clearer.
Like the Nicene Creed, the Apostles' Creed is just so basic, so simple, so apparently plain and perhaps even boring. Unadorned. Un-poetic. Un-complicated. But its bare, laid-out truth is astounding. The reality which it so plainly states is earth-shattering. It is the gospel. It contains the core, the essentials of the faith entrusted once and for all to the saints, that Christ is everything. He is the center. He is our salvation. He is the good news. It is about Him. He is the message.
Today, the Creed presents to us "Christ and Him crucified" and challenges us by calling us back to "the simplicity that is in Christ" (as Paul worded it). We have all been led astray. We have carried many things in addition to the Cross, and we need the simplicity of the Creed --"Christ and Him crucified"-- to bring us to our knees before the Cross. It is about Him, not about us. He has taken our sins. And if we are willing to surrender them at the Cross, He has even taken our efforts to adorn, improve upon and complicate the simplicty of His gospel. The Creed re-focuses us back to the focus of the apostles and all true disciples: Christ and Him crucified.
Re-centering on "Christ and Him crucified" causes us to realize that our salvation, deliverance and vindication are there on the Cross, accomplished 2,000 years ago. As Charles Wesley penned, "Love's redeeming work is done, Alleluia! Fought the fight, the battle won, Alleluia! Ours the cross, the grave, the skies, Alleluia!" And we begin to see that the Cross represents an exchange --He took my sins and gave me His righteousness-- and that God now calls us to identify with Jesus Christ:
I was crucified and died with HimI surrender my history, my "heritage" at the foot of the Cross. And in its place I receive His heritage, His inheritance that I did not deserve. I receive a crown of beauty instead of ashes, a garment of praise instead of heaviness, His free gift of righteousness instead of an earned righteousness of my own or according to the law.
I will live with Him
I am now seated in eternal places in Him
Because He lives forever, so do I
I pray that these four pictures, the Scriptures with them, the Creed, and the words I've shared here will bless you and help you hear God's heart crying out to you (and to all of us) to surrender our heavy "heritage" at the foot of the Cross, hear the heartbeat of the Father and know life eternal today in Jesus Christ alone because of the work He has finished for us 2,000 years ago.
Bless you in Jesus Christ,
November 11, 2008
These pictures are really good. inspiring and uplifting. I like the "tear drops"? and the stars with the hands and the cross. Thought provoking. Mom