St. Mary's Anglican Catholic Church

Diocese of the Midwest

Q. What did your sponsors [at Baptism] then for you?

 A. They did promise and vow three things in my name… Secondly, that I should believe all the Articles of the Christian Faith…. 

Last time we examined the first of the three vows or promises made on our behalf by our sponsors of godparents when we were baptized as infants or small children. This month we will examine the second promise. 

The second promise relates to faith or right belief. Our faith is Christian in that it is centered upon Jesus Christ (The Second Person of the Most Blessed & Holy Trinity) and all that He did and taught as contained in the Holy Scriptures. These are written, that ye might believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God; and that believing ye might have life through his name. (St John 20:31; see also St Luke 1:1-4; St John 6:29; 15:15; 20:31; Romans 16:25-26; 2 Timothy 3:15-17; 2 Peter 1:15; 1 John 3:23) This involves formal 
 assent to the Articles of the Faith summarized in the Apostles’ Creed (along with the Nicene and Athanasian Creeds), which has behind it the authority of Christ and was compiled in or near the times of the Apostles. The Apostle Paul included at least part of an early creed in one of his epistles. (See 1 Corinthians 15:3-8) We are to believe all of the articles of the Creed. We are not free to pick and choose among them much as we might choose a dish from a menu according to our personal taste or current mood. As I have noted in previous writings, some feel at liberty to reject the Virgin Birth, Christ’s descent into hell, or some other article of the Creed. But all of the articles or propositions of truth that are part of the faith once revealed to the saints (Jude 3) stand or fall together. Christ commanded His disciples to teach all things that He had commanded them to teach. (St Matthew 28:19-20; see also Deuteronomy 18:15-16; Acts 3:22; 10:33; 24:14; Ephesians 4:15) 

Our English word believe is based on the Anglo-Saxon word gelýfan, which means “to esteem dear.” Our faith is not merely a matter of the mind or intellect, but of the heart as well. Thus our assent to the articles of the Christian Faith must be hearty in that it is both sincere and substantial. This was the faith of Christ’s disciples from the time He dwelt among us. We believe and are sure that thou art that Christ, the Son of the living God. (St John 6:69; see St Matthew 16:16; St Mark 8:20; St Luke 9:20) Faith itself is a gift from God. (St Matthew 16:17; Ephesians 2:8)

True faith is also active or lively in that it worketh by love. (Galatians 5:6) That is to say, faith is made known by action or obedience to Him in whom we have placed our hearty faith. The Apostle Paul gives us the example of Abraham, the father of the faithful in every age. (Galatians 3:7, 29)By faith Abraham, when he was called to go out into a place which he should after receive for an inheritance, obeyed; and he went out, not knowing whither he went. (Hebrews 11: 8; see Galatians 5:6; 1 Thessalonians 1:3; James 2:21-22) 

Our faith in the Christian Creed must also be steadfast or firm. The Three Creeds prevent us from being tossed to and fro, and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the sleight of men, and cunning craftiness, whereby they lie in wait to deceive. (Ephesians 4:14; see James 1:6) Our faith is steadfast because God is steadfastly faithful to us in Jesus Christ. Let us hold fast the profession of our faith without wavering; for he is faithful that promised. (Hebrews 10:23) 

Our Faith is also a saving faith. When we are baptized in the Name of the Holy Trinity we are indeed regenerate or born-again. (St Mark 16:16; St John 3:5) But each of us must lay hold of the faith professed for us by our godparents for ourselves in order to be saved. For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation. (Romans 10:10) 

Every Sunday we hear the Comfortable Words of our Lord assuring us of our salvation in Him. But we for our part owe our faith and allegiance to our Savior. Thus when we hear the Comfortable Words we must recall also the words that follow. For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved. He that believeth on him is not condemned: but he that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God. (St John 3:17-18)