This article of the Apostles’ Creed looks to the future, affirming that Christ, who presently rules at the right hand of God, will serve as judge over all people. This judgement, argues Lutheran theologian Aegidius Hunnius (1550-1603) in his commentary on John 5:23, must be “conspicuous and visible,” as the one who has been given the power to judge has assumed human nature, and the final judgement makes manifest to all his authority over creation.

Commentary

The other work which he holds out as superior to his miracles is to judge the whole world. For just as raising the dead is a more excellent work than the healing of a paralytic, so being the judge of the living and the dead goes beyond every human dignity. But the Father does not only show to the Son as he raises the dead, but he also made him the supreme judge. …

Now we are not putting all this together from uncertain guesses and inferences, but we hear it from the very mouth of Christ when he says in his defense that all judgment is given to the Son.

Why? “Because he is the Son of Man.” For the universal judgment of the whole world will be a visible deed and a manifest judgment. Thus the presider of that consistory or court will be conspicuous and visible. This is why judgment was not fitting for the Father, but for the Son, who alone was made Son of Man by his incarnation and assumed a human nature, by which he now received the right and power of making judgment. Therefore, although the Father also is a judge of all human beings, as Abraham says in Genesis 18[:25], nevertheless he surrendered the execution of that visible judgment to the Son because he is, no doubt, the Son of Man, who, when he appears in the clouds with a visible humanity, will make known with his voice and execute the sentence of final judgment for all eternity according to the power with which he is able to subject all things to himself.

John 1-12, ed. Craig S. Farmer, Reformation Commentary on Scripture, NT vol. 4, p. 174.

RCS Series: Creed & Reformation


“Call All Your Creation Home to You” “I Believe in God the Father Almighty”.

“God as Creator is Foundational to Faith” “Maker of Heaven and Earth”.

“No Greater Love” “And in Jesus Christ, his Only Son, Our Lord”.

“The Spirit Will Accomplish God’s Plan Within Mary” “Who Was Conceived of the Holy Spirit”.

“The Humble Maid Was Predestined to This Honor “ “Born of the Virgin Mary”.

“God Forsakes No One and Thus Forsook His Son” “Suffered Under Pontius Pilate”.

“Christ’s Death Will Draw People From the Whole World” “Was Crucified, Dead, and Buried”.

“The Article of Christ’s Descent Into Hell Is Rooted in Scripture” “He Descended into Hell”.

“Paul Centers the Gospel in Jesus’ Resurrection” “The Third Day He Rose Again from the Dead”.

“Why Christ Ascended” “He Ascended into Heaven”.

“Through Word and Spirit, God Is Present Wherever He Wishes” “And Sitteth on the Right Hand of God the Father Almighty”.