Athanasian Creed

I have a few questions. It appears we do not affirm the Chalcedonian Creed. Is this because of the Mother of God part? Do we affirm Theotokos? I am sure we would in light of Mary being the Mother of Jesus incarnate and only blessed by God but in no other way special in terms of sinful human nature. Finally, in the Athanasian Creed I love it all except this part: "And they that have done good shall go into life everlasting." We are so strong in our confessions in justification through Christ alone, so how can we say that? I understand it says in Matthew, "Those who have done good will rise to live, but those who have practiced evil will rise to be condemned." (EHV) But that is only because of faith in Christ.

We recognize that the Council of Chalcedon (481 A.D.) formulated helpful statements on the person of Jesus Christ. We accept the term Theotokos (“the one who bore God”), since the child born to Mary was Jesus, the Son of God (Matthew 1:23; Luke 1:31-35; 2:11).

The phrase from the Athanasian Creed you cited reflects the language of Scripture regarding God’s judgment of humanity (Matthew 16:27; John 5:28-29; Romans 2:6-10; 2 Corinthians 5:10).

God certainly judges what is in the heart. It is faith in Jesus Christ alone that saves, and it is unbelief that condemns (Mark 16:16). Salvation is entirely God’s doing; we do not contribute to our salvation in any way (Romans 3:28; Galatians 3:11; Ephesians 2:8-9).

Scripture explains that saving faith and condemning unbelief manifest themselves in people’s lives. And so on the last day, the Lord will point out the good works that Christians have done and the sins that unbelievers have committed (Matthew 25:31-46). Those good works of Christians were not the payment for their salvation; the good works were the evidence of Spirit-worked saving faith in Jesus who paid the penalty for their sins. The sins of unbelievers will be singled out because they rejected the only means of forgiveness for their sins.

We could think of the sentence in the Athanasian Creed (“Those who have done good will enter eternal life, but those who have done evil will go into eternal fire.”) this way: “Those who believed in Jesus as their Savior—and saving faith always produces visible fruit—will enter eternal life, but those who rejected Jesus—such people cannot perform good works, nor do they enjoy forgiveness of sins—will go into eternal fire.” Your question illustrates the helpfulness of providing explanatory comments when using the Athanasian Creed in our worship services.