The Apostles’ Creed’s confession of faith “in the Holy Spirit” is followed by its confession of faith in “the holy catholic Church.” Here, the word ‘catholic’ refers not to the Roman Catholic Church, but to the universal church of the Lord Jesus Christ.
The Apostles, who believed in the baptism and blood of Jesus, witnessed Jesus Christ to many people on the Day of Pentecost. Then, they came to repent, and also believed in the baptism of Jesus, and become saints, and thereby the Church was established for the first time. Like this, those who believe in the works of the Holy Spirit also believe in the Church, which has been established by these works of the Spirit.
What Kind of Church is God’s Church?
In the original Scriptural texts, the word “church” is “ἐκκλησία” (Ekklesia), meaning “the gathering of the called out.” In other words, this refers to the gathering of those who believe in the baptism and blood of Jesus, in the truth that He has given them salvation.
God’s Church is the gathering of those who believe in the truth that Jesus has saved sinners with the baptism that He received and the blood that He shed on the Cross. God distinguishes between the Church that He Himself found and others that have nothing to do with Him. The Church that was founded by God is one that was established to give the blessings of the remission of sin to all people. Like this, the Church founded by God does not teach the ethics and morals of mankind, but it teaches Jesus’ baptism of the remission of sin, the blood of the Cross, and salvation. The Lord has therefore permitted His Church to those who believe in the gospel of the water and the Spirit. Mere mortals cannot undermine this Church, nor can even Satan prevail against it (Matthew 16:18). God alone rules over His Church, guides it and works in it.
The gathering of the sinless saints who have been saved by believing in the gospel of the water and the Spirit is God’s Church (1 Corinthians 1:2), and it is therefore a place where His special love and protection is found (Romans 8:35-39). Like this, God blesses those who serve His Church and punishes those who persecute it.
The expression “holy Church” implies that all the believers who belong to the Church are the sinless ones who have received the remission of their sins by believing in the baptism and blood of Jesus, and the gathering of such people is called God’s holy Church. Therefore, to take part in God’s holy Church, one must first believe in the gospel of the water and the Spirit.
In the holy Church, the saints worship God by offering thanks, glory, and praise to God within the faith that believes in the gospel of the water and the Spirit, and by believing in His Word.
The fundamental meaning of the worship that we give to God is to adore Him by believing in the gospel Word of truth that has saved sinners from all their sins and iniquities. Only those who believe in the baptism of Jesus and the blood of the Cross as their own salvation are the true worshipers to God.
In God’s Church, the sermons of the gospel of the water and the Spirit are proclaimed ceaselessly. Therefore, we must give our worship to God with our faith, within this gospel of the water and the Spirit that is testified in God’s Church.
The true worship given to God, therefore, is a worship of individual faith in the true gospel, not a worship inspired by a religious atmosphere. The true worshipers always worship God in spirit and in truth (John 4:24). As Hebrews 10:25 states, “Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as is the manner of some, but exhorting one another, and so much the more as you see the Day approaching.”
It is by the baptism of Jesus and the blood of the Cross that we are cleansed of all our sins. Human beings must admit that their existence is, because of their original and personal sins, like a pile of filthy manure. But even this filthiness is made clean when covered by snow. Of course, this cannot be compared with the remission of sins by Jesus Christ: When it comes to the cleansing of the sins of the world by the work of Jesus, it is more than enough to blot out even the traces of sins forever while covering the filthiness by snow is something that is temporary. Likewise, when we believe in the baptism of Jesus and the blood of the Cross as our own salvation, we can then become sinless. Because Jesus has already atoned all our sins with His baptism and His blood of the Cross, and because He has thus made us righteous, if we only believe in this, we can all receive the remission of our sins and become righteous. This is why 1 Corinthians 1:2 states, “To the church of God which is at Corinth, to those who are sanctified in Christ Jesus, called to be saints, with all who in every place call on the name of Jesus Christ our Lord, both theirs and ours.”
We believe that we have become righteous by believing in the baptism of Jesus and the blood of the Cross as the remission of our sins, and that it is by this faith that we are to enter Heaven. Anyone who believes in this truth can enter the Kingdom of God, no matter who he/she may be, whether from the East or the West, man or woman, old or young, rich or poor, privileged or underprivileged, knowledgeable or ignorant.
A balloon vendor was floating white balloons into the air. A black girl approached him and asked, “Can black balloons also float up to the sky?” The vendor answered, “of course.” Whoever believes in Jesus’ true gospel can enter Heaven. There is no difference (Romans 3:22; Galatians 3:28). But before God, no one who has sin in his/her heart can ever ascend to Heaven. Even if one believes in Jesus somehow, if he/she still has sin, then this person just cannot ascend. However, because God has already forgiven all the sins of mankind with the gospel of the water and the Spirit, anyone who knows and believes in Jesus correctly can enter Heaven. Why? Because he/she no longer has any sin. Anyone who believes in the baptism that Jesus received from John and the blood of the Cross as the salvation from all his/her sins can enter Heaven by faith.
When Jesus takes our souls to Heaven, this is made possible because we have no sin anymore. Our Lord is omnipotent. So, the beginning, the process, and the result of His work are all the same. Our deeds are imperfect until the day we enter His Kingdom. But the works of the Lord, His baptism and the blood of the Cross, is perfect forever, and have made us holy. This is why Ephesians 1:4 says, “Just as He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before Him in love,” and 1 Thessalonians 5:23 states, “Now may the God of peace Himself sanctify you completely; and may your whole spirit, soul, and body be preserved blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.”