I wrote this confession about three years ago as an assignment for my Systematic Theology II class that I took while working on my Master’s degree. It’s a bit longer than the others. As you read, you will see why it was necessary. Here is what I believe concerning Jesus Christ.
The Son’s preexistent divinity, promised coming:
I believe that the Second Person of the Godhead eternally existed before creation, absolutely equal in deity with the Father and the Holy Spirit. Scripture states that in the beginning was God’s own Word, the expression of His being. The Son co-created and sustains all things with the Father and the Spirit. The coming of the only begotten Son of God was planned in eternity past, promised by God, and foretold by the prophets throughout the Hebrew Scriptures long ago.
Incarnation and birth:
I believe that the Son of God took on human soul and body in the person of Jesus of Nazareth, who was called Immanuel, God with us. Although the Son was of one essence as God the Father, in order to be fully human inside and out, He temporarily laid aside the independent use of His divine attributes by coming to earth as a servant who obeyed His Father, even unto death on a cross. He was supernaturally conceived in the virgin Mary by the Holy Spirit, which fulfilled prophecy and made Him to be the Son of God.
The God-man; divinity and humanity:
I believe that Jesus was undoubtedly the God-Man; fully and inseparably both divine and human. He possessed all of the attributes of God and man in body and soul at all times as one unified person, but without sin. Jesus knew this about Himself. The Lord was uniquely qualified to be the one and only mediator between God and humanity. This is essential because He needed to be both God and man to pay the penalty for our sins and represent us as our merciful and faithful high priest, Savior, and deliverer.
Jesus’ life/moral character, ministry/message:
I believe Jesus the Messiah was sent by God the Father to die for humankind and reconcile the world to Himself. Jesus completely obeyed God the Father and depended on the power of the Holy Spirit to live a sinless life. He did this so that He could transfer His righteousness to our account. Jesus’ ministry was one of compassion for the needs of the lost, the last, and the least; to show us God’s love and bear all our human sufferings. His clear teaching and message was that His authority as King was right there in our midst, on earth as it was in heaven.
Roles as messiah, prophet, priest, and king:
Jesus was the anointed Savior who was prophesied in the Hebrew Scriptures; the Messiah, the Christ. He fulfilled all the burdensome requirements of the Old Covenant Law. He took on the Old Testament roles of prophet, priest and king: to speak the word of God to us, represent us before God, and rule over us in His kingdom.
Jesus’ death; nature of the atonement:
I believe that Jesus willingly suffered and died a cruel death on a cross at the hands of political and religious leaders under the sovereign plan of God the Father. The blood of Jesus Christ, His death, paid the penalty for the sins of the entire human race. It purchased our freedom, granted forgiveness, and fully justified those who believe in Him. Jesus’ death was an acceptable sacrifice in our place which satisfied the wrath of God towards us. This brought reconciliation between us and God, redeemed us from Adam’s curse, restored God’s image in us, and delivered us from the powers of Satan, sin, and death. All who receive God’s gift of salvation by grace through faith in Jesus Christ become God’s adopted children and have eternal life with Him.
Jesus’ burial and resurrection:
I believe that after Jesus died on the cross, He was taken to a borrowed tomb, and was buried for three days. As He had predicted, God raised Him from the dead. The stone was rolled away and the tomb was empty, setting Him apart from every other religious leader throughout history. His resurrection signified that God was satisfied with His sacrificial death on our behalf, and that He had victory over Satan, death, and the grave. The fact of Jesus’ bodily resurrection from the dead gives believers hope as we too will be raised from the dead to live eternally with our Lord.
His ascension, restoration of glory, ruling at God’s right hand, promised return:
I believe that after appearing to many over forty days, Jesus gave His disciples final instructions and then was taken up in a cloud into heaven. Immediately, Jesus was restored to His rightful place in glory, seated at the right hand of God the Father, where He intercedes for His followers and reigns as King of Kings and Lord of Lords. He will remain there until the time comes for Him to visibly return to earth, render judgment on the living and the dead, and usher in the final consummation of His eternal Kingdom just as He had promised.
Jesus sent the Holy Spirit to His Church at Pentecost:
I believe that the ministry that Jesus did and the things He taught while He was among us have continued through the Church in the power of the Holy Spirit, which Jesus promised many times and gave to His followers at Pentecost. This is the means by which the Church will experience the presence of Jesus always and be able to preach the gospel to all nations in His mighty name.
Gen. 1:1, 26, 3:15; Deut. 18:15; Ps. 2:7, 22:1, 14-18; Isa. 53:3-12; Dan. 7:13-14; Matt. 1:20-23, 3:16-17, 26:63-64, 27:46, 57-60, 28:6, 18-19; Luke 1:26-35, 19:10; John 1:1-3, 12, 18, 29, 3:16, 8:58, 10:30, 14:26, 15:13, 19:30, 20:31; Acts 1:1-11, 3:22-26, 10:38-43; Rom. 3:21-26, 4:25, 5:8-11, 15-19, 8:3-4, 32; 1 Cor. 5:7, 15:3-6, 20-22; 2 Cor.5:21; Gal. 2:16, 3:13-14; Eph. 1:7, 20-23, 5:2; Phil. 2:6-11; Col. 1:13-20, 2:9, 13-15; 1 Thes. 4:14-17; 1 Tim 2:5; 2 Tim. 1:9-10; Titus 2:13-14; Heb. 1:1-4, 2:14-17, 4:15, 7:24-27, 9:15; 1 Pet. 3:18, 22; 1 Jn. 2:1-2, 3:1, 4:10; Rev. 1:17-18.
The Creed of Constantinople (381); The Definition of Chalcedon (451); The Athanasian Creed (500; 2nd part); The Belgic Confession (1561; Articles 8-10, 18-23); The Heidelberg Catechism (1563; Questions 12-24, 29-52); The II London Confession (1689 Baptist Confession; Chapters 2, 8, 11); Spurgeon’s Baptist Catechism (1855; Questions 6, 20-28, 32); The Nottingham Statement (1977; Statements B, C); Our World Belongs to God: A Contemporary Affirmation (1986; Sections 23-27); Hendrickson Topical Bible (pages 69-134).
Master Sergeant Russell E. Gehrlein (U.S. Army, Retired) is a Christian, husband of 38 years, father of three, grandfather of four, blogger, and author of “Immanuel Labor – God’s Presence in our Profession: A Biblical, Theological, and Practical Approach to the Doctrine of Work”, published by WestBow Press in February 2018. He received a B.S. in Mathematics from Colorado State University in 1980 and an M.A. in Biblical Studies from Grand Rapids Theological Seminary in 2015. He is also a former junior/senior high school math and science teacher and youth pastor. Russ currently works as a Department of the Army civilian at Fort Leonard Wood, Missouri.