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.
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