THE WORD PREACHED
Scripture: Revelation 1:9-20
Sermon: The Gospel in Pictures, Part II: This Little Light of Mine
DECLARATION OF FAITH
I believe in God, the Father Almighty, Maker of heaven and earth; and in Jesus Christ, His only Son, our Lord:
Who was conceived of the Holy Ghost, born of the Virgin Mary, suffered under Pontius Pilate, was crucified, dead, and buried.
He descended into hell. The third day He arose again from the dead.
He ascended into heaven and sits at the right hand of God the Father Almighty, from thence He shall come to judge the quick and the dead.
I believe in the Holy Ghost, the holy *catholic church, The communion of saints, the forgiveness of sins, The resurrection of the body, and the life everlasting. Amen.
*The word “catholic” refers not to the Roman Catholic Church, but to the universal church of the Lord Jesus Christ.
*When saying “He descended into hell” it is not saying that Christ literally went into hell. It is expressing our belief that Christ died a physical death, was buried in a tomb and underwent the spiritual torment of all of God’s wrath on our behalf.
Below is a very good excerpt from John Calvin’s Institutes of the Christian Religion concerning the phrase “He descended into hell”.
THE “DESCENT INTO HELL” AS AN EXPRESSION OF THE SPIRITUAL TORMENT THAT CHRIST UNDERWENT FOR US
But we must seek a surer explanation, apart from the Creed, of Christ’s descent into hell. The explanation given to us in God’s Word is not only holy and pious, but also full of wonderful consolation. If Christ had died only a bodily death, it would have been ineffectual. No — it was expedient at the same time for him to undergo the severity of God’s vengeance, to appease his wrath and satisfy his just judgment. For this reason, he must also grapple hand to hand with the armies of hell and the dread of everlasting death…“the chastisement of our peace was laid upon him,” “he was wounded for our transgressions” by the Father, “he was bruised for our infirmities”. By these words he means that Christ was put in place of evildoers as surety and pledge — submitting himself even as the accused — to bear and suffer all the punishments that they ought to have sustained. All — with this one exception: “He could not be held by the pangs of death”. No wonder, then, if he is said to have descended into hell, for he suffered the death that, God in his wrath had inflicted upon the wicked!…The point is that the Creed sets forth what Christ suffered in the sight of men, and then appositely speaks of that invisible and incomprehensible judgment which he underwent in the sight of God in order that we might know not only that Christ’s body was given as the price of our redemption, but that he paid a greater and more excellent price in suffering in his soul the terrible torments of a condemned and forsaken man.