Christopher Chelpka

I Believe. Amen.

The Nicene Creed contains core doctrines of the Christian Faith. It puts forth a set of objective truths about the triune nature of God, the work of Christ, the church, and more.

But those truths are framed in a personal way. The creed begins with these important words: I believe (in Latin, it’s Credo, hence “creed”), and it ends with Amen, which comes from Hebrew and means, “it is truly so.” These words that frame the creed are important to me because they remind me that these objective truths from God are also very personal.

I believe in one God, the Father Almighty, Maker of heaven and earth, and of all things visible and invisible. And in one Lord Jesus Christ, the only-begotten Son of God, begotten of the Father before all worlds; God of God, Light of Light, very God of very God; begotten, not made, being of one substance with the Father, by whom all things were made. Who, for us men for our salvation, came down from heaven, and was incarnate by the Holy Spirit of the virgin Mary, and was made man; and was crucified also for us under Pontius Pilate; He suffered and was buried; and the third day He rose again, according to the Scriptures; and ascended into heaven, and sits on the right hand of the Father; and He shall come again, with glory, to judge the quick and the dead; whose kingdom shall have no end. And I believe in the Holy Ghost, the Lord and Giver of Life; who proceeds from the Father and the Son; who with the Father and the Son together is worshipped and glorified; who spoke by the prophets. And I believe one holy catholic and apostolic Church. I acknowledge one baptism for the remission of sins; and I look for the resurrection of the dead, and the life of the world to come. Amen.

When I recite the Nicene Creed, I’m not listing a set of doctrines, I am stating my relationship to those doctrines. It’s the difference between saying trees, and saying I climb trees. And actually, in the case of the creed, it’s more than even that because I’m not primarily professing my faith in the doctrines but in the One who has revealed them.

So when I say, I believe, I’m not reading a grocery list of truths I found in some historical parking lot; I’m confessing what I truly believe and in Whom I truly believe.

This makes the Amen at the end of the creed equally precious to me. It’s the ancient way we say, Yes! I truly mean and agree with what I have said I believe. And, as such, a truly spoken Amen never really ends a confession of faith. The Amen is an exclamation point; it pushes my faith forward by demanding faithfulness.

In other words, if I believe is true, then the rest of what I do ought to conform to the truths I say I believe. Otherwise, I don’t really believe them.

So Lord, may my actions that follow my confession of faith, flow from the faith I confess. Amen.