I have come to believe two passages of Scripture, actually three, from the Hebrew Bible sum up the entire biblical faith both in terms of what/who is the object of our faith and what we are to do. These texts state what
1) we believe, the God Creed
2) we do, the Jesus Creed
God Creed is the Center
The God Creed is Exodus 34.6-7, a text that shows up in various forms (often almost verbatim) many times, while the heart of the creed, God’s steadfast love (hesed) shows up over 200x in the Hebrew Bible.
The God Creed tells us who our God is. It also tells us what God does. It stresses the divine indicative. It tells us who God is and what he does.
Yahweh is merciful
Yahweh is gracious
Yahweh is slower than a turtle to get angry
Yahweh overflows in hesed (steadfast love)
Yahweh keeps hesed (steadfast love)
Yahweh forgives, wickedness, rebellion and sin
Yahweh will deal with evil
This is the God Creed. This is the heart of biblical faith. The Bible does not simply say there is a god. Every pagan in the world believes in all kinds of gods. The Scripture says we deny the existence of all gods except the God of Exodus 34 … Jesus is Exodus 34.6-7 in the flesh.
The God Creed expresses the focus and content of our faith, Yahweh, the Lord.
Jesus Creed is the Circumference
The Jesus Creed sums up our response to the God Creed. We read the Jesus Creed in Mark 12.28-31 (cf. Mt. 22.37-40). This Creed actually is the combination of two Hebrew Bible texts, Deuteronomy 6.4 and Leviticus 19.18.
The Jesus Creed is the the law of the kingdom of God. Yahweh is the center of the kingdom and the Jesus Creed is how we live faithfully in the kingdom. Since Yahweh is radical, pure, and infinite love, those who confess Yahweh as God will,
Love God with all of their heart
Love God with all of their soul
Love God with all of their mind
Love God with all of their strength
This is simply a Hebraic way of saying “love God down to the DNA level.” There is not a cell that we withhold from sold out love for the God who radiates such infinite love. Yahweh’s love is God’s personal “glory” (Ex. 33.22).
We respond to God in love. But the Jesus Creed states that we respond to God’s images, icons, “photographs,” like we do to Yahweh. We love God’s images. How we respond to our neighbors is in fact how we respond to the the Lord as if God was standing in front of us. So the Jesus Creed states we will,
Love our neighbors as ourselves.
Center and Circumference of Biblical Faith
The God Creed and the Jesus Creed sum up the content of our faith and dictates the nature of our obedience to God. The God Creed and the Jesus Creed show that biblical faith is not a matter, and never has been, a matter of legal correctness. The Creeds show that biblical faith is a matter of passionate love. The passionate love of God is returned to God by his creation and shared among God’s creatures. The God Creed and the Jesus Creed reveal that our walk with God is in fact a “covenant of love.” (Deut 7.7, 12; 1 Kgs 8.23; 2 Chr 6.14; Neh 1.5; Neh 9.32; Dan 9.5).
The center and circumference of our faith are summed up in God Creed proclaimed by Yahweh and the Jesus Creed lived by the Nazarene.