“I believe in… The Holy Christian Church”

This month we will celebrate the Resurrection of Our Lord on Easter Sunday, April 17th. The resurrection of Jesus is the basis and foundation of our belief that Jesus is the 2nd person of the Holy Trinity, the Son of God. The resurrection of Jesus is our justification before God. We confess this resurrection in the creeds of the church. Particularly we confess, “I believe…in Jesus Christ his only Son our Lord…Suffered under Pontius Pilate. Crucified, died and was buried…the third day he rose from the dead.” Every time we confess the creed we are making an Easter proclamation, “Christ is risen!” We believe this. We hold this to be historically true. Without the resurrection of Jesus St. Paul says in 1 Cor. 15:14 ” And if Christ has not been raised, then our preaching is in vain and your faith is in vain.” If Christ is not raised, our creeds are nothing more than hollow words.

However, since Christ is raised, our words have behind them the authority of the whole scriptures. Within those scriptures we are also taught of something else we confess we believe. “I believe in the Holy Christian church, the communion of Saints, the forgiveness of sins.”

It is easy to confess the resurrection of Jesus, but what about the Holy Christian Church? That is a little more difficult sometimes and I’m afraid we too often just let those words leave our mouth without thought. You hear this when people say things like, “I follow Jesus but I don’t go to church.” This is a misunderstanding of what it means to be a follower of Christ. If you confess Jesus, you must also confess his church. You cannot have a husband without a wife and the Holy Christian Church is the bride of Christ. Ephesians 5:23ff

For the husband is the head of the wife even as Christ is the head of the church, his body, and is himself its Savior. Now as the church submits to Christ, so also wives should submit in everything to their husbands. Husbands, love your wives, as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her, that he might sanctify her, having cleansed her by the washing of water with the word, so that he might present the church to himself in splendor, without spot or wrinkle or any such thing, that she might be holy and without blemish.

Also, Romans 7

Or do you not know, brothers—for I am speaking to those who know the law—that the law is binding on a person only as long as he lives? For a married woman is bound by law to her husband while he lives, but if her husband dies she is released from the law of marriage. Accordingly, she will be called an adulteress if she lives with another man while her husband is alive. But if her husband dies, she is free from that law, and if she marries another man she is not an adulteress.

Likewise, my brothers, you also have died to the law through the body of Christ, so that you may belong to another, to him who has been raised from the dead, in order that we may bear fruit for God.

A wife is a wife as long as her husband lives and our Lord is still very much alive and well (We are speaking of Christ and his church). However many people forget this and try to divorce the wife from her husband even as he is living. It is a travesty. The church has a husband who provides, “communion of saints, forgiveness of sins”, and uninformed Christians try to say they want the husband to disown his wife, the Holy Christian church, because they think Jesus has made a bad choice in a spouse.

Whether Jesus has made a bad choice in choosing sinners is not the debate. We would all confess we are unworthy of our caretaker. However, the devil always tries to get us to look at ourselves and use that as the basis for God’s choosing us. This is false and from hell.

Jesus has chosen his church, not because of any merit or worthiness in us, but because of his mercy. We are the communion of the saints. We are made holy and righteous by faith in the merits of Christ Jesus. Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her, that he might sanctify her, having cleansed her by the washing of water with the word.

Your baptism is Christ’s promise of wedded bliss. He makes you holy by washing of water with word. Just as a husband gives a promise with a ring, so too your baptism is the ring of God’s mercy. You belong to him.
Let the wedding bells ring in your head when you confess “I believe in the Holy Christian Church.” What God has joined together by the death and resurrection of Christ, let man not separate. The forgiveness of sins is the greatest gift a husband can give his wife and that is precisely what our Lord gives to us. “I believe…in the forgiveness of sins.” This is not just some fact in the past but a present reality that our Lord gives us in his Holy Christian Church.

See you on Easter! In Christ,
Pastor Ottmers