The final stanza of the Apostles’ Creed, the confession of belief in the life everlasting, looks to the climax of the Christian’s faith. In the following selection from his “On Eternal Life” commenting on 1 Cor 5:58, French pastor Simon Goulart (1543-1628) provides a wonderful reflection on the significance of this doctrine, which calls believers to fix their eyes beyond the limits of their earthly circumstances and toward the blessings of the life with God.
The eternal and blessed life with God in heaven, accompanied by rest and unspeakable glory, is the goal of the Christian’s faith. This is the harbor of their hope, the refuge of all their desires, the crown of their consolation that they will certainly enjoy, having escaped from the travails of this miserable and fleeting earthly life, indeed, from death itself. . . . Thus eternal life is the end and fulfillment of all good things, for which God has purchased us through his Son. This is the goal on which our gaze should be fixed throughout our earthly pilgrimage. This is the treasure that we should unceasingly desire. This is the hour and the blessing to which all the plans and efforts of our lives should be inclined. . . . This is our true country, our permanent city, in which our citizenship has been acquired by the merit of the death of Jesus Christ. This is the home that we long for, amid the banishments, the weariness, the dangerous fears of this valley of misery and the shadow of death. This is the safe refuge and the beautiful harbor toward which we sail amid so many waves and storms that constantly trouble the world. This is the blessed land where we will dwell by means of death.
1 Corinthians, ed. Scott M. Manetsch. Reformation Commentary on Scripture, vol. 9a, p. 409.
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”.
“Final Judgment Must Be Visible” “From Thence He Shall Come to Judge the Quick and the Dead”.
“A Prayer to the Holy Spirit” “I Believe in the Holy Spirit”.
“The Head Helps Even the Smallest Member of the Body to Grow” “The Holy Catholic Church”.
“All Eyes on Us” “The Communion of Saints”.
“Christ’s Priesthood Provides Complete Salvation” “The Forgiveness of Sins”.
“The Christian’s Great Hope” “The Resurrection of the Body”.