“I believe in the Holy Ghost; the holy catholic church; the communion of saints…”
As Christians, we believe in one God. As we believe in God the Father, we also believe in the Son. As we believe in the Father and the Son, we also believe in the Spirit. Neither one is the same yet they all are God. This mystery has been believed by Christians since the beginning. Yes it is a mystery yet this is how God is shown forth in Scripture. We believe God is one, yet we believe he exists as Father, Son and Holy Ghost. This line completes the Trinitarian view of our God. So what do we believe about God the Holy Ghost?
Scripture affirms him as our helper, guide, guarantee of salvation and is the spark-plug for our growth into holiness. The Spirit always points the way to Christ, he is a team player. Without the Spirit in your life it is impossible for you to be a Christian; he is the guarantee of your faith and the only way in which you can believe in Christ. Apart from the Spirit there is no faith in Jesus Christ for who he really is. It is also natural that this belief statement precedes the belief in the church. Without the Spirit there is no true church. The church, through the work of the Spirit, is how we grow in Christ-likeness.
The church is holy because Christ is holy. The church is holy because those who are in faith are made holy by the Spirit. The church is holy because it is set apart for a special work in this world. We are not holy apart from the work of the Holy Spirit forming us into the image of Christ. We are not holy apart from the reliance upon prayer and God’s word to grow us and conform us to his will. The church is holy because of our Head, which is Christ. We are catholic in the sense that we conform to the faith that has been believed by Christians for all of time and we share in fellowship with Christians no matter where they may be in the same fellowship. We celebrate our head through fellowship and communion.
At the Lord’s Supper we celebrate the presence of Christ among us in the body. This reality does not exist in any other institution in the world. The Lord’s Supper brings us together to proclaim the Gospel and continually and progressively grow us in the Spirit as we worship him together. We are saints because we now dwell by faith in the body of Christ and will one day dwell with him for eternity for his dwelling place is among men and we will be made new and glorious as he has been glorified. Saints are reborn by faith in Christ, shedding their old self and putting on the new self, which is Christ. We show this vividly through baptism. We become saints through faith in Christ as the Spirit changes our heart to love him and we show this faith through the act of baptism which we hold in high regard as it shows us who in fact is in communion and who is not.
So we believe in the Spirit’s work to make us holy; making us more like Christ. He convicts our heart, helps us, reminds us of scripture and holy acts. We experience this most vividly in the holy catholic church which is the keeper of the faith believed by all Christians throughout time and seeks to make Christ known in a world that is dying. We are a part of the catholic church in the sense that we affirm true Christian beliefs. As we confess we share in the communion of the saints who also affirm the faith and celebrate Christ through his Supper of bread and wine which is his body and blood poured out for us. We baptize those who by faith enter into the body of Christ showing the power of the Holy Ghost to change the heart of sinners and making them like Christ.