I Believe: A Personal Confession of Faith
by Alfred Norris
I. I believe in the Holy Scriptures, which are able to make me wise unto salvation. I look to the whole body of the Bible, from Genesis to Revelation, as the only fountain of truth concerning the purpose of God, and the only trustworthy guide to living a life well-pleasing in His sight.
I must therefore unremittingly look to this Book for the whole counsel of God, reading from it in the daytime, meditating on it in the night watches, and remembering it with gratitude in joy and in sorrow, in tranquillity and in temptation, in confidence and under trial, in privacy and whenever I am called upon to witness to others.
II. I believe in One God, Maker of heaven and earth. He it is Who created all things, and gives to all living creatures their life and breath. His eyes are too pure to look upon iniquity. His purpose cannot be frustrated. Yet it is my duty to seek to serve Him with a humble and contrite heart, making it my aim to conform to His purpose, and my hope to become a partaker of His inheritance when all things are made new.
III. I believe in Jesus Christ, the only-begotten Son of God, begotten of God through the operation of the Holy Spirit, in such a way that God is His Father, and a woman of our race His mother. I believe that He revealed to men the glory and likeness of His Father, and yet that He shared with all men the infirmities and desires of our fleshly nature. I believe that he was tempted in all points like other men, but completely overcame sin by freely surrendering Himself to the will of His Father.
I acknowledge myself to be a sinner, possessed of a disposition inherited from my ancestors Adam and Eve. This I am unable in myself completely to control or ever to vanquish. I see in the life and death of the Lord Jesus Christ the pattern to which I must aspire; yet I confess that only with the help God brings through Him can I receive forgiveness of my sins and strength to grow in grace before Him.
IV. I believe that the Lord Jesus Christ was crucified, dead, and buried. I believe that He submitted willingly to such a death as sinners die, and so overcame once for all the desires which exist in all human flesh: such that He, made in all points like His brethren, could be tempted in all points as we are. He did no sin, but He showed by the things He suffered how sin could be conquered. I believe that by dying in this way the Lord overcame all the weakness in His human heritage, by becoming obedient unto death, even the death of the Cross.
I know that the same spirit is called for from me also. I must take up my Cross and follow Him. He must be my Guide in leading me to deny worldly lusts, indeed to deny myself, desiring to be cleansed from the old life that I might be joined with Him in a new one. I see my baptism in water as associating me with the Lord’s crucifixion, and burial, and also with His resurrection; by this act I see to begin a new life in Him and under His guardian care.
V. I believe that Jesus Christ rose in bodily form from the dead, leaving behind Him an empty grave, having overcome by His death the power of sin. I believe that death has no longer any power over Him, and trust in His resurrection as the foundation of our hope of immortality.
This resurrection gives meaning to life and supplies hope in death. It is this which made my baptism both a burial to an old life, now crucified with Christ, and a resurrection to a new, regenerated one. Now to live in Christ, and to die in faith is but to sleep with the assurance of a glorious awakening.
VI. I believe that Jesus Christ ascended to the right hand of the Father in heaven, assuming by the will of the Father all power in heaven and in earth. I believe that there He fulfills perfectly all that was prefigured in the priests of the Old Covenant, ever-living as He is, and able to make intercession for His saints. I believe that, in His keen remembrance of His own sufferings at the time when He strove against the assaults of sin and of sinners, His experiences have given Him intimate and infinite compassion and fellow-feeling with his servants in their own conflicts. Thus, I believe, when we His servants come to God in His name to seek for forgiveness for the wrongs of the past, and new strength against the dangers of tomorrow, He gladly performs for them this work of mediation.
I know that I must look on the whole of my life as being under His surveillance. Before undertaking any enterprise I ought to approach God in prayer through Him, that my decisions might be what He would wish. When I contemplate what I know or suspect to be sinful I should seek through Him the strength and wisdom to withstand the temptation. When despite my commitment I do sin, I should in deep contrition confess and seek forgiveness. When in need I should seek through Him to want only what is right and best in His eyes, and be happy to accept with gratitude what I receive in return. When I see the needs of others, I should address through Him my prayers for them and be ready to do what I perceive to be my loving duty.
I am persuaded that, so approached, He is able and ready by the power received from His Father to minister to my needs and guide me in the way of life.
VII. I believe that Jesus Christ will return to the earth in visible, bodily form, as truly and personally as He left, to the joy of His friends and to the discomfiture of His enemies.
I know that those who truly wait for Him shall then be transformed to become like Him; and therefore I must now so strive under His good hand to become more like Him, day by day, in this present life. I know that at His coming all present earthly possessions will avail nothing, and therefore I seek now to lay up treasure in His presence before God, which He may bring with Him at that day to bestow on me, and not on me only, but also on all them who love His appearing.
VIII. I believe in the resurrection of the dead and in eternal judgment. I recognize that the Lord Jesus will gather before Himself and His mighty angels all who have clearly understood their duty to follow the ways of God, whether at the time of His return they are dead or alive. He will cause such as are dead to be raised, assemble them with those still living, and will judge them according to their works. Those to whom He extends his blessing He will bless with bodies like His own glorious body, and admit them into the Kingdom prepared for them; those who he must reject he will dismiss into shame and everlasting destruction.
I know that I shall only be permitted to enjoy this eternal glory with Him if I have striven sufficiently with His help to live now the life which follows His own pattern, saying to His Father, “Not my will, but Thine, be done.” As He rose to a new life from His grave, so must I, in my baptism, reckon myself to have risen to a new life lived in faith in Him. I must now seek those things which are above, where the Christ sits at the right hand of God, “if by any means I might attain to the resurrection from the dead.”
IX. I believe in the
I know that none shall enjoy for ever the blessings of that Kingdom, save those who have already submitted themselves under the mighty hand of God; and therefore, as I pray, “Thy kingdom come; They will be done in earth as it is in heaven,” I pledge it as my duty to seek to do His will even now, behaving as a subject of that Kingdom ought to behave, seeking first of all His rule and righteousness.
X. I believe in the baptism of repentance for the remission of sins. I must remember the Lord Jesus’ humble acceptance of His Father’s will when He was baptized, and as He joined His lot with sinners in a willing baptism, so I must join mine with Him in accepting the same, following the pattern He so graciously set.
I must see my baptism as the burial in water of my sin-stricken body, which in my mind I have already crucified with Christ. I must, too, seek to live as though raised to a new life on emerging from the water. I must regard myself as a new creature in Christ, admitted into the family of God, begotten anew, not of corruptible seed but of incorruptible, of the word of God that liveth and abideth.
XI. I believe in the Holy Spirit. I know that by the exercise of this, His almighty power, God taught the prophets and inspired the apostles, brought to the birth His only-begotten Son, and through these testified to the gospel by mighty miraculous signs.
I sincerely recognize that if, having been baptized into Christ, I were left to my own resources alone to follow the revealed will of God and work out my own salvation, I must surely fail. But I am persuaded that the Lord Jesus Who died for me, now works for me as Mediator at the right hand of the Father. I know that my faithful prayers are assisted with “groanings that cannot be uttered,” and that if with fear and trembling I seek to play my part, God will by His own power and in His own way “work in me, to will and to do of His good pleasure.”
XII. I believe in the fellowship of saints. I believe that because the Lord Jesus died and rose again, so all believing and repentant sinners may come to God through Him, and in doing so be made aware of their unity one with another in one body, taking their spirit of love and mutual cooperation from the Lord Who brings them to God.
I must therefore live, not as though I sought my own ends regardless of the needs of my brothers and sisters, but as one member of a body which lives for the spiritual good of all its members, and the honor and glory of its Head. I must gladly play my part in the edification of the body in love; and, as week by week my hands and lips, and those of all others sharing this precious fellowship with me, take the emblems which symbolize our membership of the body of the Lord and the new life we owe to Him, they and I are united again in the memory of the love of our Lord, so learning again how much we must and may love one another, and be enriched by what we learn.