When I first became acquainted with the Apostles' Creed, one of the three historical confessions of faith that, historically, all Christians have embraced, the cohesiveness of its first two articles was clear enough. The first article, confessing faith in God the Father, Who created heaven and earth, made sense to me. The second article, discussing God the Son, Jesus Christ, seemed to clearly state Who Jesus is and what He has done for us.
But then came the third article:
I believe in the Holy Spirit,It seemed to me that after sensibly using the first two articles to describe God the Father and God the Son, the originators of the Creed wanted to do the same thing about God the Holy Spirit, but after confessing belief in the Spirit, gave up on doing any describing. Everything after, "I believe in the Holy Spirit" seemed like a catalog of other stuff Christians believed in that might just as well have been covered by etc.
the holy catholic Church,
the communion of saints,
the forgiveness of sins,
the resurrection of the body,
and the life everlasting. Amen
But, over time, I've come to see that I was wrong. The second through sixth lines of this article each describe an action of the Holy Spirit in the same way in which the lines of the first two articles describe the Father and the Son. It's God the Holy Spirit Who makes the holy catholic Church, the communion of saints, the forgiveness of sins, the resurrection of the body, and the life everlasting.
Of course, Christians worship one God in three Persons. This is a mystery I've looked at earlier in this series. And there is an interpenetration of the roles of God, the Creator, Redeemer, and Sanctifier. But this list I once thought could be skipped over with etc., briefly sums up what God the Spirit is up to now and will do for all who believe in Jesus Christ in the future. It's not a list of attributes of the Spirit, but a witness of what God has revealed of the Spirit.
I hope to begin unpacking that confession in the next installment of this series.